Hatton Pacquiao aftermath: Mayweather sr is not to blame
Bill Patrice Jones - Watching Ricky Hatton go down spectacularly in the two most brutal rounds of his entire career Saturday night was not a pleasant sight. A one sided beating in boxing never is, especially when the contest in question has been: promoted to death, hyped like few others and been showered with massive media attention. For all the talk, build up, pre fight analysis and colorful promotion: Ricky Hatton was ripped to pieces in a matter of minutes, the enormity of the task ahead of him becoming frighteningly apparent from the very beginning..
Article posted on 04.05.2009
The question which now takes centre stage for Hatton is: Just how good was he? Fight fans can feel more than a bit aggrieved after paying rather hefty PPV fees to see what was supposed to be an enthralling contest. Perhaps we were duped? Perhaps Hatton was simply a big name for Manny Pacquiao to cash in on. One feels inclined after watching such a brutal and punishing loss to feel as though Pacquiao was simply far too good for Hatton and that the latter’s team has grossly underestimated the enormity of the task which had lay ahead of them.
Ricky Hatton though widely accepted in the United States has been a hard pill to swallow for quite some time now. Ever since he exploded onto the scene in 2005 with his enthralling TKO victory over Kosta Tsyzu in 2005 doubts have lingered. Tsyzu though a truly great fighter was an old man, past his best and Hatton’s victory was achieved by roughhousing, dirty tactics and wrestling. He followed the biggest win of his career with a stunning 9th round knockout of the overmatched Carlos Maussa to claim another world title. It would be the fights to follow on the world level which added fuel to the doubters. Unconvincing points victories, albeit all over quality opposition. The most damaging being a step up to welterweight to face Luis Collazo, an ugly fight many felt Hatton lost. Yet to his credit the wins kept coming and Hatton’s status on the world level did not diminish or fade into obscurity. At a time when his popularity was being questioned Hatton produced one of his best wins: a brutal knockout in the fourth round to ageing legend Jose Luis Castillo a man who had previously given Floyd Mayweather trouble. This win elevated Hatton to challenge the real p4p king of the business, the flashy, arrogant supremely skilled Floyd Mayweather Jr. One does not need reminding what happened that night, Hatton being outclassed, out fought and out thought by his opponent en route to a 10th round TKO loss.
So it was time for the second coming of Ricky Hatton, a second coming which would end at the hands of Pacquiao. First there was the unconvincing point’s victory over Juan Lazcano in which Ricky appeared to be shaken by some less than stellar shots from his opponent. The first fight back after defeat on the grandest stage of them all was always a precarious matter, so in preparation for more meaningful fights long time trainer Billy Graham was rightfully fired and Floyd Mayweather sr largely considered the best defensive trainer in the business took his place. Hatton looked sharp and much improved en route to a one sided 11th round TKO win over Paulie Malignaggi to secure his status as the world‘s best jr welterweight. The improvements made under the tutelage of Mayweather seemed clear though it must be noted he faced an opponent with comparatively little to offer in the way of meaningful offence. With renewed vigor and focus Hatton was able to secure the second biggest fight of his life against Manny Pacquiao.
It was not until Hatton’s partnership with Mayweather was underway that some thought Ricky stood a chance against Manny Pacquiao. Indeed it would appear that the singular issue thrust forward by team Hatton was that the careless brawler of old would not be turning up to fight. The massive media attention when focused on team Hatton made no secret of the fact that the justification for Ricky’s being considered a potential winner in this super fight was the changes he had allegedly made. Mayweather told us about how Ricky could not box before he came to him: The very fundamentals of his school of training were talked of daily: stiff jab, high guard, head movement and counter punching. In stark contrast to the 24/7 coverage of Hatton Mayweather, it appeared now as though team Hatton possessed a fight plan worthy of the occasion. Plan you work and work your plan is not a cliché it is a fact, game plans win fights and Ricky Hatton seemed to have one that was until fight night was upon us.
Evidently the occasion got to Hatton, he looked nervous as he made his walk toward the ring. After all the talk it was finally going to happen, his entrance and music were eerily impromptu and then came Pacquiao. Beaming smile across his face, bouncing up and down playfully waving to the crowd perfectly composed.
Everything which gave Hatton a chance of beating Pacquiao was blown away the instant the bell rang. He charged forward recklessly as though he thought he could overpower Pacquiao early. The absurd tactic saw him chopped to pieces with frightening speed and precision by a masterful offensive fighter. Hatton was on the floor within minutes and would go back there again before barely escaping the opening round. When he returned to his stool Mayweather’s advice was apt. ‘Don’t try to overpower him, think, feint, and keep your hands up, move your head.’ Yet Ricky paid no heed to what was said, he charged forward once more and Pacquiao’s wild swings soon settled into a methodical picking apart of his man. It became evident that this could end any moment and with 8 seconds left of the second Pacquiao caught Hatton wide open with a perfect left hand on the chin. There was no need for the count. One was reminded of the headline following Liston Patterson ‘The big fight. What fight?’
Hatton Pacquiao could not have been worse for Ricky, for although he did find himself face to face with a fighter like no other the single most important truth is that he did not have to be humiliated. Just days beforehand, Hatton spoke of the: ‘danger rounds’ early on. Emmanuel Steward who picked Hatton to win spoke of the same as did Mayweather. Whether or not Ricky could have won is in serious doubt, it may well be that Pacquiao was a force of nature Hatton was never going to handle. The problem is Hatton did not simply fail to win: he got humiliated with the world watching. A super fight looked like a mismatch for the second time in his career.
Ricky Hatton lost to Manny Pacquiao because Pacquiao is the real deal, one of the most fabulous fighters of his generation, yet conversely he was flattened in the manner in which he was because when the occasion got to him he could not work his plan and respond to what he had been taught for 12 weeks.
Floyd Mayweather sr should not be blamed, he did the best he could by his fighter but when the moment came he ‘didn’t listen’. Some have charged Mayweather of instilling Hatton with false belief based on the notion that Pacquiao had been stopped before and could be stopped again. However for all his bravado and flashiness off-putting to some it was always clear what fundamentals he wanted his man to adhere to. The sad fact is that Hatton’s inability to leaves him in a precarious dilemma: Hang them up after a dismissal in a super fight or perhaps foolishly fight on at risk to his health. Hatton Pacquiao may have been one of the biggest disasters in British boxing history and certainly the most one sided fight to have received so much pre fight publicity beforehand in the last 20 years comparable to Tyson Spinks or Hearns Duran.
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