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Hatton vs. Pacquiao Fight Analysis

Manny Pacquiao Ricky HattonBy Manuel Perez: Light welterweight Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), no longer content with fighting among the ordinary top light welterweight fighters in the division like WBC champion Timothy Bradley and Kendall Holt, will be facing Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) on May 2nd at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao is pretty much in the same boat and is no longer fighting lesser opponents and is only interested in facing only the fighters with the biggest names like Hatton. This is a fight that is difficult to select a winner right off hand, because neither fighter has had much real success in the ring in a while.

Although they’ve both won as of late, their victories have been mostly hollow due to the competition that they’ve faced and the manner in which they’ve earned their victories. Pacquiao is coming off an empty 8th round stoppage victory over an old, weight drained, seemingly shot Oscar De La Hoya in December, whereas Hatton, 30, hasn’t taken on a real threat since being soundly defeated in a 10th round stoppage in December 2007 by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Two wins over journeyman Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi has helped nurse Hatton’s wounded pride from his destruction by Mayweather, yet neither win meant much because Malignaggi and Lazcano are clearly not in the class of top light welterweights Bradley, Junior Witter, Ricardo Torres, Victor Ortiz or Kendall Holt.

Those are the opponents that Hatton should have been facing recently and a long time ago, but he hasn’t. Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez in a 12-round split decision victory in March 2008. Unfortunately, few people see Pacquiao as having won the fight and understandably he’s not particularly interested in giving Marquez a rematch any time soon if ever.

In choosing the winner of the fight between Hatton and Pacquiao, I’ve narrowed the keys to victory are four separate areas: Power, Speed, size, and Stamina.

Power – Hatton has the clear edge in overall strength given that he’s the bigger fighter and has fought at light welterweight his entire career. Pacquiao has only moved up in weight recently and only then against limited fighters in De La Hoya and David Diaz. As such, you can say that Pacquiao still hasn’t really been tested at the higher weight levels.

Speed – Pacquiao is the much faster puncher of the two by far. How much faster is yet to be seen because he didn’t look all that quick against De La Hoya. The added size has made him like a small tank, but it hasn’t translated to better power, however. Instead, he’s just slower and carrying around more useless muscle than before.

Size – Hatton is the bigger fighter regardless of whether Pacquiao comes into the fight at the same weight. Hatton has bigger bones, bigger frame and isn’t just putting on muscle like Pacquiao. For his part, Manny is adding a lot of muscle to fight Hatton, but the extra muscle won’t make his punches any harder than before. The only thing it will help Pacquiao is not being bullied around quite as much on the inside. However, Pacquiao would probably be better off if he came into the fight as lightest as possible so he could have his quickness to use against Hatton. There’s no way that Pacquiao will beat Hatton in trying to be bigger or stronger than him, because he can’t. Pacquiao just isn’t a very big person and he can lift weights until he’s blue in the face and he’ll still be smaller than Hatton in terms of bone structure.

Stamina – Before Pacquiao started putting on a lot of useless muscle, I would have given him the edge in this department. However, he now looks like a mini truck and doesn’t move well with the added weight. Hatton, on the other hand, fights well at his natural weight of 140 and carries the weight like a gazelle. Because of that, I give the stamina edge to Hatton. Pacquiao will tire out if the fight goes beyond the 9th and he’s made to fight hard. Against De La Hoya, Pacquiao didn’t have to do much because De La Hoya was finished after the 1st round and had nothing left to fight back with in the subsequent rounds.

Given that Hatton is the bigger, stronger, and healthier fighter at 140, I’m picking him to defeat Pacquaio. I think Manny is a great fighter, but he’s more suited for the super featherweight division than the higher weight classes of lightweight and light welterweight division. At welterweight, Pacquiao would be pummeled and toyed with by the stronger fighters like Miguel Cotto, Andre Berto, Paul Williams and others like them.

Although I think Hatton will beat up and ultimately stop Pacquiao, I don’t see Hatton as being the best fighter in the light welterweight division any longer. I see the division as having past him by in the past two years and he’s more like a relic of the past still competing against lesser fighters. It’s kind of like an old singing star that sell tickets to older audiences that remember them, but are out of date and not relevant for the younger generation. It’s probably time for Hatton to retire after he gets a few more victories over non-light welterweights.

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