Hatton: I believe I could have beaten Pacquiao in my prime
By Scott Gilfoid: Former two division world champion Ricky Hatton (45-3, 32 KO’s) is now bellyaching and having regrets that he didn’t fight Filipino star Manny Pacquiao in his prime of his career, around the time that he beat a past his prime 36-year-old Kostya Tszyu back in 2005. Hatton thinks that he would have beaten Pacquiao had he gotten him in the ring at that time instead of four years later after he had been knocked out already by Floyd Mayweather Jr., and after he had started to see the effects of him putting on and taking off huge amounts of weight.
It’s too bad Hatton didn’t make the move to fight Pacquiao in 2005, but there’s no point in crying over spilled milk.
“I always wonder what might have been if I had faced Manny Pacquiao at my best,” Hatton said to the Manchestereveningsnews. “With Pacquiao, I will always wonder ‘what if he got me at my best?’ I think I could have beaten him in my Kostya Tszyu era – I honestly do. Kostya was every bit as big a puncher as Manny and I was young, unbeaten and fresh.”
Hatton stopped a weigh-drained Tszyu in the 11th round in their fight in Manchester, UK. Having seen that fight a couple dozen times over the years, it looked as if referee Dave Parris let Hatton get away with an awful lot of wrestling rather than fighting against Tszyu. I saw a ton of holding and some low blows from Hatton. Had that fight taken place elsewhere, I have a feeling that Hatton would have lost to Tszyu on that night, because Hatton was getting dominated when there was separation between them. When Tszyu had punching room, he was definitely getting the better of Hatton. There was no comparison.
Tszyu was the much better fighter. But the referee let Hatton do a ton of wrestling in that fight, and that eventually wore Tszyu down, because he’s not a wrestler and he’d never been in a fight against a guy that grappled and held the way Hatton did.
For Hatton to fight Pacquiao in 2005, he’d likely have had to agree to fight him in the United States, even then. With a fight in the U.S, it’s not likely that Hatton would have been able to wrestle Pacquiao, and without his inside wrestling, Hatton would have been destroyed by Pacquiao.
“I didn’t have the miles on the clock and I could walk through walls against Kostya. I’d like to think I could have gone that against Manny,” Hatton said.