Boxing Prediction: Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao vs. Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton
By Danny Serratelli, BrickCityBoxing / Doghouse Boxing (May 2, 2009) Photo © Will Hart / HBO - PPV
The Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao will be a fight of the year candidate. Manny Pacquiao has done something no one has ever done before, turning pro at 106, winning his first world title at 112 in 1995 and 1998 respectively. He is now the pound for pound champion after defeating Oscar De La Hoya at 147, that is an amazing fact in itself. On the other hand Ricky turned pro in 1997 in the 140 pound division and stayed for the most part. He has moved up to 147 twice and won a close decision to Luis Colazzo and was stopped against Floyd Mayweather. Contrary to the popular opinion, Ricky must
be given credit for going after Floyd when Floyd started to turn it up and he was falling behind. He went to win that fight, not merely survive, and he got caught by a great fighter, it can happen to anyone.

Ricky will appear to have the strength advantage as the natural 140 pounder who has been there his whole career. Manny was questioned almost every time he has moved up in weight and has shut everyone up every singe time. The fight that is misleading much of the public, despite a brilliant performance by Manny, is the Oscar De La Hoya fight. Freddie Roach recently revealed that he noticed that Oscar rehydrated after getting weighed the night of the fight by HBO. While it is debatable, Oscar choosing to weigh in before the fight at a weight lighter than Manny killed him that night. Oscar had nothing and would have had a tough time beating me that night. While Manny fought a perfect fight, it should not be assumed that something like would have been possible against an Oscar who properly replenished his fluids and came in fight night closer to 165.

Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather Sr. will both have solid game plans, but Ricky has no chance if Floyd negates his biggest strengths, his physical strength and aggression. If Ricky can incorporate Floyds work into his own style, he has a good chance. Trainers who train every fighter the same way hurt fighters who lack the same gifts as the trainer (if he was a fighter), or their prior pupils (like Floyd Jr.). If Floyd has Ricky trying to win a chess match he will sabotage Ricky’s chances. If he sharpens him up while Ricky stays in his game it will help.

The difference comes down to Manny and what he chooses to do. Manny is the faster fighter who can definitely win this fight running away, but he is a warrior who will not run away. Ricky must impose his will on Manny and get him to fight his fight. This is a very possible scenario in this fight due to the magnitude and the fact that Manny is coming off such a huge win over Oscar. Most boxing insiders and even more casual fans favor Pacquiao and many favor him to win the bout easily. Pacquiao is coming off the biggest victory of his life while Ricky is coming off of two easy wins, but for some reason wins in which he was still criticized as being past his prime and not looking his best. This scenario should make Ricky the hungrier fighter with more to prove deep down. The beauty in this fight is that the fighters are the same age and both seem to still be at or near the top of their game.

There are a ton of factors that will influence the outcome of this fight. Unlike most I feel the fight will go the distance as both fighters have solid chins and defenses, chins and hearts. Both fighters carry a country on their backs and have great pride. All I can predict for sure is a great fight no matter what. If Manny can stick to a slick boxing game plan he should win a clear but hard fought decision. If Manny’s speed and sharp punches start to connect to early and too often, Ricky will have to go for broke and can play right into the hands of the Pac Man. While either guy is capable of scoring a knockout, it is very unlikely that either is going to score a one punch knockout

If Ricky puts enough heat on him and can start to get Manny to fight his fight, the complexion of the fight will begin to change. Due to Manny slickness and speed advantage Ricky’s timing will have to be perfect. Coming off of the De La Hoya fight, it is almost impossible to imagine Manny getting beat in this match up, however in a close, hard fought war of attrition many rounds will be tough to score. There will be times when Manny outboxes him, there will be close rounds where Ricky wins by banging to the body and roughing Manny up on the inside and there will be times where Manny outfights Ricky. Ricky will need to be 100% on point for all 12 rounds, if he can do that his chances of scoring an upset become much greater. In the end when the smoke clears, there will be people sure that Manny won, there will be people sure that Hatton pulled off the upset and the judges will have the bout scored A DRAW and a rematch will be inevitable.

Editors Note: (The odds of a draw on this bout are 28-1).

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