Every now and then someone in the world of boxing captures the imagination of the public in a way that most other sportsmen and women can only dream about; Ali, Sugar Ray 1&2, Duran, Marciano etc. you can pick your own favourites and we all like to argue over that famous phrase “pound for pound the best boxer in the world” I believe this was first said about Sugar Ray Robinson, not a bad place to start, we all have our opinions and my vote goes to Sugar Ray 1 so there I’ve said it.
It has been the great misfortune of Ricky Hatton that his career has coincided with 2 fighters who have with some justification laid claim to that unofficial title, Floyd Mayweather who knocked him out after coming back from retirement and the present incumbent in most boxing fans opinions, Filipino phenomenon Manny Pacquiao who will surely knock him out or stop him on Saturday night .
I like Hatton; he has a mighty heart and is a bit of a throwback to past fighters who feared no one, allways ready to take on anyone including world class yanks, unlike the serously flawed Joe Calzaghe who fought for 15 years befor finding his way to America to fight 44 year old ex champ Bernard Hopkins who still took him the distance. Hatton is capable of knocking out anyone he fights with his power and; perversely that has become a problem for him at the top level. At the dizzy heights where people like Mayweather; Pacquiao and latterly De La Hoya ply their trade any weakness is spotted and savagely exposed and to them; Ricky is a one trick pony, if he doesn’t knock you out you will beat him. This brutal logic is why these guys are the top in the business, further down the pecking order Ricky can knock out, stop and even outpoint opponents but Saturday night’s opponent could not be further away from the middle order fighters in that part of the pecking order.
Hatton I.M.O. is the warm up bout for the fight that everyone wants to see and the man waiting to step in to the ring with Pacquiao once he has defeated Hatton is our old friend the great boxing and dancing champion Floyd Mayweather who is of course retired again but; is still only 33 years old, you can smell the money from here.
I think Hatton will fade away after Saturday night but he owes no one a dime he has always given it everything. Manny gave De La Hoya a savage beating in his last fight and even although Oscar was past his best he is still a hand full for most fighters, he has surely now reached the stage where he looks across at the man in the opposite corner and sees a guy with a long beard and white robes who is carrying a scythe, he made his mark though. This little Filipino warrior is quite phenomenal he starts his fights at an incredible pace with incredible energy throwing countless punches from everywhere and from then on he steps it up a gear, his hand and foot speed will be too much for Hatton. Ricky is about to feel during this fight as if he is surrounded, I hope it’s a good pay night for him and he will cling to the old maxim of having a puncher’s chance, it’s one man against another etc. even if it is Manny Pacquiao.
Manny has already done something quite unusual for modern day boxing, in an interview he finished not by threatening to rip his opponents ear off and spit in the hole but; by wishing Hatton good luck, the same goes for me.