Pacquiao-Hatton Fight Preview

May 2, 2009

Saturday night's 140-pound battle between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton is the most anticipated fight of the year. Pacquiao is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the ring today. Hatton is also a top-notch fighter who is clearly the best fighter at 140 pounds.


To defeat Ricky Hatton and gain a title in a record-tying sixth weight class, Pacquiao must continue his astonishing progression that began when he decided to move up in weight after a disputed decision over Juan Manuel Marquez at 130-pounds. Since that time, Pacquiao has looked extremely sharp in knockout victories over a slow David Diaz at 135 pounds, and an old Oscar De La Hoya at 147 pounds. Pacquiao cemented his superstar status with those fights and looked completely at ease with the greater weight.

Still, Hatton will be both bigger and stronger than any fighter Pacquiao has ever faced. De La Hoya weighed in at a dehydrated 147 pounds on fight night whereas Hatton may weigh near 160. Further, despite Pacquiao's speed advantages in his last two bouts, it should be less evident against Hatton, who has at least adequate hand speed.

To win, Pacquiao must use his foot speed to dart in and out against Hatton. Few fighters are fully prepared for Pacquiao's straight left hand until they have seen it in person, and it should be a big weapon for Pacquiao against Hatton, who often lunges in to attack. By keeping his feet moving and throwing a high volume of punches, Pacquiao will hope to continuously catch Hatton when Hatton attempts to get inside.


Few believe Hatton is as talented a boxer as Pacquiao. He also has slower feet and hands. What makes the matchup truly intriguing is that it takes place at 140-pounds, where Hatton is undefeated and clearly at his best. Hatton hopes to use his size advantage to push Pacquiao around, fight inside, and battle him against the ropes.

Hatton also hopes to surprise Pacquiao with his hand speed and improved boxing skills developed under new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. Hatton and his trainer have mentioned that they believe Pacquiao is vulnerable to the body and they plan to attack it.

The problem with the Hatton strategy is that Pacquiao has looked great in his last two fights when he moved up in weight, albeit against lesser competition. Thus, the presumed strength advantage may be overrated.

Also, Hatton himself is not a one punch knockout artist even though we will assume he has the edge in power at this weight. To truly succeed he must use his jab effectively and avoid Pacquiao's straight left hands when he tries to get inside.


Hatton is a legitimate challenge for Pacquiao because of the fighting weight. Nonetheless the guess here is that there is a significant talent deficit between the two fighters. While Pacquiao's knockouts of Diaz and De La Hoya are less meaningful than some have tried to suggest, they still revealed the lengths to which Manny's speed can befuddle bigger opponents.

I expect Pacquiao to take time to adjust to some of the rough tactics of Hatton in the firt few rounds before really opening up. It will be an exciting fight with a lot of action, but Pacquiao will begin to consistently land the left hand. Pacquiao's speed will be too much and Hatton may suffer a cut which may only precipiate his decline.

Pacquiao by TKO in Round 6.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

1 comment:

  1. Fatton will get frustrated by the speed and will go back to his old hit and hold style. Manny is the best and will win again! Bring on PBF!


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