Pac-Man Has Brit for Dinner
Forget what you’ve heard and read about Filipino boxing titan Manny Pacquiao. If you believe what transpired last Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, then in the blink of an eye, make that two rounds, England’s Ricky Hatton resembled a rag doll after being floored twice in the first round and suffered the indignity of being knocked out late in the second round, then he’s everything that’s been advertised, and more.
Even before the International Boxing Organization’s Junior Welterweight clash with 16,262 fans looking on, Pacquiao was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and along with his trainer Freddie Roach, who worked with the 30-year-old at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood, were voted the boxer and trainer of the year in 2008. Neither tarnished their image, and with the possible exception of undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who recently unretired and will fight Juan Manuel Marquez in July, is the only boxer on the planet who can give the “Pacman” any trouble.
It was believed that Hatton had what it takes to give Pacquiao a test. Hatton has quick hands and feet, and the ability to box or brawl. Tough to the bone, the 30-year-old doesn’t back down and doesn’t shy away from the middle of the ring. His one Achilles’ heel is defense, which many felt would be corrected by having trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. in his corner.
But all of the talk went out the window as Pacquiao, who now has a ring record of 49-3-2 with 37 knockouts, found chinks in Hatton’s armor from the beginning.
“I’m surprised the fight was so easy,” said Pacquiao. “I worked hard in training camp, and he was open for the right all night.”
In the opening round, Hatton tried to play a bit dirty, holding with his left arm, and hitting with the free hand.
This worked for mere seconds before the “Pac-Man” moved out from the hold. Once there, Pacquiao, who connected on 57 percent of his punches, began applying his terrific hand and foot speed, which is superior to Hatton’s.
Toward the end of the opening round, Pacquiao nailed the Brit with a sharp right hook, and decked Hatton. In a matter of seconds, Hatton (45-2-0 and 32 KO’s) was on his back, this time from a punishing straight left hand.
The second round was better for Hatton, who made some contact with Pacquiao, but that was brief. Once again, the Filipino came on and dominated the second half of the round, and this time drilled Hatton with a thunderous left hook that sent him to the canvas. For several minutes, Hatton wasn’t moving, and his eyes were transfixed on the MGM ceiling. In the boxing world, and anywhere else, this is a horrible sign.
In a couple of minutes, Hatton, who found the range on 23 percent of his punches, was sitting on his stool, which was a relief to everyone involved.
The best conditioned boxer working today, Pacquiao could have fought 12 rounds, and won on points, but chose to be the aggressor.
Hatton’s nickname, which is tattooed on his upper back, reads “Hit Man.” He is that, but this time was the one being hit by the best boxer in the world.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com and is a contributor to trufanboxing.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.