The poorest of starts for Ricky Hatton’s attempt to climb the mountain occupied by Manny Pacquiao took place before the first bell, his team were at loggerheads with each other (Mayweather Snr. Was a howler) and he was greeted by the sight and awful sound of a moth eaten Tom Jones looking and sounding like the guy who came in last at the karaoke night in the ‘Dog & ferret’ a very bad start.
Anyone in world boxing who fancies their chances against Pacquiao quite simply has to be mentally and physically in the very best condition possible, Hatton was neither, coming out from an unhappy dressing room to be met by Tom Jones howling the national anthem like a bear with it’s paw caught in a trap would not have set him up very well, they should scrap that garbage once and for all.
The only thing about the fight itself which was not entirely predictable was the time it lasted, although those with the right antenna; like me; who hung on every word spoken by Manny’s fascinating trainer Freddy Roach would not have missed him say that it would not go past three rounds, nor like me would they have missed the point that he was serious; this was not big talk, this was not bombast Manny doesn’t need that, this was Roach telling it straight, he was downbeat and calm when he said this, if you are Hatton or from the Hatton camp and you hear this most undemonstrative little guy make a statement like that you know you are in trouble.
Fish n Chips, Fry up breakfasts and pints of the “Liffey Water” (Guinness) are not the way to get ready for a guy like Pacquao even if you spend the last 3 months before the fight living a monastic existence and punishing your body, not when you are thirty, not when it’s Pacquiao, definitely not him. The fight was short; fast and brutal; with the Filipino showing why he is the best pound for pound fighter in the business he averaged an astonishing more than 2 to 1 punch ratio over Hatton and some of them were tasty, he moves like a “mongoose on speed” and like the welsh legend Jimmy Wilde carries a “hammer in each hand” It was really over in one round as reality cruelly set in but; Hatton as usual would rather go out feet first like a true champion which he duly did but the end was spectacular and scary; even by the standards of the hardest game in the world. With people’s pulses slowing slightly as seconds ticked down to the end of round 2 we thought; “well done Ricky” we all thought he would do very well to last round 2 after taking a ferocious beating in round 1, trainers were ready to enter the ring at the bell, the bell which never came.
Hatton; again showing a dangerous disregard for his own safety; instead of seeing out the round and taking a breather went forward swinging and walked in to a punch which rendered him unconscious before he hit the canvas, a perfect punch, a perfect K.O. so good in fact that it scared everyone, the referee was beside him instantly signalling with his raised arm that it was serious. 5 minutes later he was still down and the all seeing merciless cameras were on him like hungry wolves ; they zoomed in on his eyes which stared back completely empty, a pitiful scene. Something then happened which created a picture which I will never forget, they had a camera above the ring and when they went to that camera; there was Hatton flat out on his back positioned exactly n the middle of the advertising logo for I think it was Budweiser Beer, an incredible shot which captured the brutality of the knock down and the power of the money which drives the game, very poignant.
The future ? Ricky will take a break and he should then retire but he wont, why ? because he knows the days of trading with Mayweather and Pacquiao are over but he is still only 30 years old and another big, big pay night looms, an all British battle between a great prospect on the way up Amir Khan; and a great champion on the way down Ricky Hatton, this might take a year or so with Khan fighting before he meets Ricky, Hatton will lose and then retire and Khan will; if he has any sense stay well clear of Pacquiao until he is a bit older maybe 40 or so.
The mother of all fights and pay nights will now surely happen Mayweather V Pacquiao and Manny will win that too, Mayweather for all his mercurial skills will not be able to live with the world’s best especially when he will not have fought much over the last 3- 4 years while Manny fights regularly, going in against the best in the world is tough enough without any trace of ring rust however little. Having that image of Hatton in the centre of the ring like a rag doll might turn me away from the sport, but the image of Pacquiao in full flow like a force of nature might win me over; after all, I’ve only said a couple of hundred times that I’m not watching it any more but still,
Pacquiao V Mayweather! maybe I’ll wait until after that one and think about it again.