By Mark Felicetti
A lot of time and effort went into the Pacquiao vs. Hatton fight in Las Vegas on Saturday. There were months of training in three different countries, weeks of hyping around the world and hours of build-up on television. However, the end came quickly.
Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton (45-1-32) and his new coach Floyd Mayweather, Sr., were coming to this fight off of a decisive victory over Paulie Malignaggi. Trainer Freddie Roach’s fighter Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KO’s) was coming to this bout after pounding Oscar De La Hoya into retirement five months ago.
Both Hatton and Pacquiao had remained above the usual trash talk and “mad dog” staring matches at press conferences and media events. They were gentlemen in a violent sport, and a credit to boxing. Unfortunately, Mayweather, Sr.’s mouth ran like a sewer line in a rainstorm, and just as dirty. Roach’s responses were limited to a comparison of talent, both in the corner and in the ring, but Floyd resorted to trashing and name-calling. It was ugly, uncalled for and gives the sport a black eye (entendre intended).
The rotten apple didn’t fall far from that tree either. “Pretty Boy” Floyd “The Money” Mayweather, Jr. (that’s right, an ego so big he needs two nicknames) made his attempt to upstage the event by announcing he is coming out of retirement. With all the bad blood between Mayweather, Sr. and his progeny, the timing of this announcement may be aimed squarely at the root of this family tree.
There were three anthems sung that night, that took five minutes. The ring walks took five minutes, and introductions and instructions took another five minutes. Why all the timekeeping? It will make sense in five minutes… and fifty-nine seconds.
Both boxers tried to make a statement early but it was Hatton on the constant attack, charging forward. Pacquiao was content to wait, pick his spots and counterpunch as Hatton came in. Pacquiao, a southpaw, strung together six punches, that featured a right hook, that took the starch out of Hatton and sapped the speed of his next attack. Hatton telegraphed a roundhouse left. Pacquiao got the message and responded with a wicked right hook to the chin. In one fluid move, Pacquiao threw that punch and ducked under Hatton’s haymaker.
Hatton went down like a sack of Irish potatoes. He got up on rubbery legs but couldn’t clear his head. Pacquiao pressed the action and let the leather fly. Hatton tried to hold on but the relentless barrage sent him sprawling to the canvas for a second time with 9 seconds left. Hatton took the 8 count and the round ended.
Disappointment and confusion hung on his fighter’s face but between rounds, Mayweather, Sr. didn’t say anything for 20 seconds, and even then his instructions were meager. Hatton came back in round two and surprised Pacquiao with a couple of good shots but the counterpunches Pacquiao kept shooting were like sniper fire, repeatedly finding their target. They weakened Hatton, slowed him and brought down his guard.
With 8 seconds left, Pacquiao threw a left hook to the chin that detached Hatton from consciousness. Hatton was out on his way down and landed hard. The ref called a halt to the contest. Hatton was checked out at a local hospital, underwent tests and a brain scan and was released. Pacquiao received the TKO victory at 2:59 of the second round.
It will be interesting to see if Mayweather, Jr. will avoid meeting Pacquiao or put “The Money” where his mouth is.