Modern British boxing great Ricky Hatton, who charmed the UK with his ‘lad-from-the-pub’ attitude combined with his body-shot signature move, is well-placed to predict the outcome of the upcoming super-fight between pound-for-pound combatants Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38ko) and Floyd Mayweather Jnr (47-0-0, 26ko) as the Mancunian shared prize-ring with them both.
Earlier today, Wednesday, Pacman and Money attempted to stare the other out during an obligatory face-off to mark the first official press conference of what will no doubt become one of the most heavily-hyped pugilistic events in history.
For Hatton, the build-up – and even the event itself – will likely be in the top three most remembered fights in the sport, rubbing shoulders with the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier rivalry and Sugar Ray Leonard’s decision triumph over middleweight great Marvin Hagler.
“The reason any boxer gets into the sport is to try to become the best,” Hatton, 36-years old, told ITN:
“I’m not sure what order they [Pacquiao and Mayweather] are going to come in, but we’re going to find out.
“It’s great for boxing as it’s two of the best in history in the same era and in the same division. It’s one of the biggest of all time! Pacquiao is seven weight champ and Mayweather – five. It’ll be up there with Ali – Frazier and Leonard – Hagler. That’s how big this is. My flight is booked.”
Hatton’s first big win arrived in 2005 when the Hitman retired eventual Hall-of-Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu in the 11th round of their light welterweight title tussle at the Manchester Arena.
The following year he outpointed Luis Collazo for a welterweight belt, before knocking Jose Luis Castillo out in four rounds in Las Vegas.
Hatton re-built. His homecoming at the City of Manchester Stadium in May, 2008 saw the Briton beat up Juan Lazcano, before returning to Las Vegas to teekayo Pauli Malignaggi.
In 2009, though, Hatton suffered the second of his three defeats as Pacquiao was able to stop him in just two rounds with a concussive finish.
“I’m proud to have shared the ring of them,” said Hatton.
Back to the dust-up between Pacquiao and Mayweather, he added: “They don’t come bigger than this. You need to be there. Mayweather is number one right now, pound-for-pound but the fight would have been hotter when Pacquiao knocked me out or Mayweather defeated Saul Alvarez.
“They’re two of the biggest names in the sport… it’s brilliant. I always fancied Floyd first. I spent 10/11 rounds with him and saw how exceptional he was. He was so talented defensively whereas Pacquiao was so aggressive. And [the fight with Pacquiao] was over before it began really! So I got to see how good Floyd was rather than Manny.
“That’s why I slightly lean toward Floyd, but not by much.”
Hatton continued: “His last two performances though have not been two of his best. Opponents such as Manny may look at that and think they have a chance. But since Manny got knocked out by Juan Manual Marquez he has looked better and better. I’m less confident putting money on Floyd than I was a few years ago.”
Images courtesy of Top Rank TV.