Boxing


Hatton v. Pacquiao: The Ultimate Fight Breakdown

By Yero Moody: We've heard the hype, read the clippings and seen the fighters in all their pre-fight glory. Now it's time to get it on! Before we chat with our buddies, down our favorite brews and heckle our rivals as we sit down to watch this fight. Let us take a moment and put everything into perspective.

We have Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton who is undefeated at 140 lbs.. facing arguably the best pound for pound best fighter in the world, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao. Pacman is coming off his biggest win and one of the biggest upsets in boxing history with his one-sided drubbing of Hall of Fame fighter, Oscar De La Hoya. No one gave Pacman a chance against De La Hoya, including me. No one also thought that we would see De La Hoya perform like a weight-drained punching bag against Pacman. A prime, well-conditioned De La Hoya would make Pacman look like an undersized amateur.

Not to take anything away from Pacman because he is a great fighter. I just believe that if De La Hoya had not been weight drained the size advantage combined with De La Hoya's superior boxing ability would have been too much for the much smaller and less skilled Pacman.

Hatton's biggest win by far is his victory over Kostya Tsyzu. No one thought Hatton would defeat him, especially in the manner in which he did. Much like Pacman did to De La Hoya, making him quit on his stool. However, Hatton has never rivaled such a victory as that since then. His victories over Luis Collazo at 147 lbs. and Jose Luis Castillo were very lackluster. He beat up Castillo who was a mere shell of the man who had once given Floyd Mayweather, Jr. his toughest match and defeated the late Diego Corales. His victory against Collazo was a gimme in the minds of many observers that night, especially considering Collazo was the champ at the time. It also prompted Hatton to immediately move back down to 140 lbs. and make his infamous quote " I'm not ready for the likes of a Mayweather perhaps after a few more fights." We all know what happened when he did step into the ring with the then pound for pound king, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Hatton made a brilliant move however, in firing his former trainer Billy Graham and hiring Floyd Mayweather, Sr. Although his performance against Paulie Malignaggi was far from awe inspiring it showed marked improvement in his boxing skills under the tutelage of Floyd, Sr.

Pacman, unlike Hatton, has shown consistent progress and improvement with each fight. He has evolved from a come forward, wild swinging, overly aggressive brawler to more of skilled boxer-puncher. This evolution has allowed Pacquiao to move up in weight and remain very successful. This is also a testament to the brilliant training of Freddie Roach. I'm against boxers playing musical chairs with trainers especially when it's not necessary. Oscar De La Hoya is a poster child for firing and hiring trainers like he's changing clothes. I believe his career suffered somewhat because of it. Pacman wisely stuck with Roach and is reaping the benefits of growing and learning together.

Hatton's Strengths: His biggest weapon is his confidence at 140 lbs. He is comfortable and has never been beaten at this weight. His ability to apply constant pressure for 12 rds. is tremendous. This can wilt even a more skilled fighter. He also has improved his boxing skills under Mayweather, Sr. He moves his head more, he uses more lateral movement, improved his defense, and most importantly he uses more patience and well timed aggression. He also enjoys a size and power advantage over Manny Pacquiao which is a very huge advantage.

Hatton's Weaknesses: His lateral movement, head movement and improved defense, while improved, still has yet to be shown consistently. He showed flashes of his old come forward, brawling style against Malignaggi. His head is still an easy target for fast fighters. His mentality of thinking his power will ultimately prevail can prove costly against Manny as it has already, in some of his previous fights. As I pay attention to Hatton talk about Manny he constantly brings up his power advantage and whether or not Manny can withstand it. This mentality can be a huge mistake! One fighter who has this same mentality is the legendary Felix "Tito" Trinidad. He consistently talked of how his power would prevail in 4 of his biggest fights; Bernard Hopkins, Oscar De La Hoya, Winky Wright and Roy Jones, Jr. In all 4 of those fights his opponents took away his power and totally and thoroughly outboxed him. Had it not been for Oscar thinking he was ahead by such a wide margin and continued to outbox Tito like he did for the first 7 rounds he would have easily won.

Pacquiao's Strengths: His speed combined with his tenacity is his biggest strength by far. This is how he got the nickname "Pacman". He has totally overwhelmed fighters, who in my opinion were more skilled overall, (Barrera, Marquez, Morales) with his speed and tenacity. He made them look like they were literally stuck in their tracks. He too has improved. His improved defense and calculated aggressiveness have manifested itself in all of his recent victories. He also has beaten more elite fighters than has Hatton. Experience like this is an extremely valuable asset. Contrary to many observations that I have read, Pacman is actually the more relaxed fighter of the two. It is Hatton who has the most to prove and for Pacquiao it's the business of doing what he normally does, beat up the big names.

Pacquiao's Weaknesses: As Mayweather, Sr. pointed out in the 24/7 series on HBO, Pacman still throws punches like an amateur at times. This could be very costly against a bigger puncher. His defense while improved, still leaves him open for hard counter shots as was the case against Juan Marquez and Eric Morales. One of his major weaknesses is that he can become to aggressive when throwing punches. Although he has improved, it is still a weakness. His small size against a bigger, harder punching, pressure fighter can prove to be costly as the fight wears on.

Prediction: The fight will absolutely be exciting with no worries of a tactical chess match. It will be a fight well worth the money. Will Hatton be able to pressure Pacquiao like no other fighter has? Will Pacman be able to gobble up another bigger, stronger fighter with ease? With the speed advantage and overall better boxing skills that Pacman possesses it's a no-brainer for me: Pacman by TKO in 9 rds. or less! This will be a rather easy fight for Pacman and another brutal beating for Hatton.

Questions or comments: e-mail me at yero_m@yahoo.com

Thanks for reading.

Article posted on 01.05.2009



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