Manny Pacquaio vs Ricky Hatton
May 2, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada
Venue: MGM Grand Arena
After his one sided beating of Oscar de la Hoya on December 6, 2008, Manny Pacquaio had become the biggest international superstar in boxing. I hadn’t seen such a dynamo since the heyday of Roberto Duran. Manny was the closest thing to Duran in terms of fighting style and charisma. While Duran was bombastic and surly, Manny was quiet and humble. Nevertheless, the Filipino superstar was in the midst of an iconic run. Ricky Hatton vowed to stop the Pacquaio train in its tracks. Unfortunately for the Manchester, England Hitman, there was no way Hatton was going to stop this locomotive.
Ricky Hatton had faced two fighters on Pacquaio’s level in Kostya Tszyu and Floyd Mayweather. In June of 2005, Hatton swarmed all over Tszyu from the opening bell and didn’t stop until the faded legendary Russian quit after 11 rounds. Hatton also gave Floyd one of the toughest fights of his career before Floyd put him away in the 10th round. This was the only blemish in 46 fights the British brawler had on his record. Despite such top notch performances in these two fights, I knew Hatton had no chance in hell to beat Manny. A brawler was always tailor made for Manny. That evening in Vegas was a prime example.
Round one saw Manny land at will against the onrushing Hatton with several wicked right hooks. Manny’s ability to give other fighters angles that made them dizzy was second-to-none. Since Hatton was coming straight ahead like a bull, Manny didn’t need any angles to land his sharp counters. Two minutes into the opening stanza, Manny dropped Hatton with a thudding right hook. Hatton beat the count and was battered the rest of the round, including getting knocked down again late in the round by a left cross. Hatton got up again and went to his corner all but done as the round ended.
Round two was more of the same. Despite the fact that he was still hazy from the first round beating he suffered, Hatton still rushed at Manny. Manny landed one blistering counter after another until with about 10 seconds left in the round, he landed one of the greatest left crosses in boxing history. Hatton fell like a house of cards as referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved the fight over. Hatton laid motionless for about 90 seconds before finally being revived by the ringside medical staff. The stock of Manny Pacquaio grew even larger after this devastating knockout win.
Hatton immediately retired after the fight before making an ill-advised comeback three-and-a-half years when once again he would be knocked out, this time by the fringe contender Vyacheslav Senchenko. Hatton went back into retirement and has led an enjoyable post fight career as both a boxing trainer and commentator. More on Manny in a later article.