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Hatton 'too strong for Pacquiao'

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport at the Imperial War Museum, London

Hatton confident for 'ultimate prize'

Ricky Hatton believes he will be too big and too strong for Manny Pacquiao when the two meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 2 May.

Manchester's light-welterweight king Hatton and pound-for-pound king Pacquiao of the Philippines met at London's Imperial War Museum on Monday.

"My size and strength will be a key factor," Hatton told BBC Sport.

"Light-welterweight is my weight division. I've never lost at 10st and I'm brimming with confidence."

Remarkably, Pacquiao, a four-weight world champion, started his career at light-flyweight, although he easily defeated Oscar de la Hoya at welterweight last December.

However, Hatton, 30, said he expected to enter the ring a day after stepping on the scales weighing 11st, which would make him the biggest opponent Pacquiao has ever faced.

Ricky will run into too many problems and we'll dominate. We're just too quick and I have the game-plan mapped out already

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach

Hatton, who has 45 wins from 46 fights, said: "I know he beat Oscar de la Hoya, but Oscar wasn't that difficult to beat and outbox that night, I think I could have done an equally as good job, if not better.

"Oscar got in the ring at 10st 7lb, I'll get in the ring at 11st. Manny will have a lot of punishment to absorb.

"I've seen Manny dropped with body shots a few times by smaller men and seen him shook up with head punches.

"I've always believed I'm far too strong for anyone at light-welterweight, and with the better boxing ability I'm showing now, I think that will be enough.

"I believe I'm a 10-fold better fighter than when I fought Kostya Tszyu [from whom he claimed the IBF light-welterweight title in 2005].

"In my last fight [an 11th-round knockout of Paulie Malignaggi last November] it was clear to see that I was using my jab a lot more, had better head movement, faster hands, but had the same explosiveness and aggressiveness.

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"But I'll have a lot of difficulty with him. He's got very good punching power and very fast hands from a southpaw style. He also brings fighters on to the punch and has good footwork.

"It's the two most popular fighters in the world and the two most exciting fighters in the world fighting for the biggest prize in boxing, Manny's pound-for-pound title. It will be the fight of the year."

The 30-year-old Pacquiao, who has 48 wins and three losses from 53 fights, said he was just happy not to be fighting another Mexican.

Eleven of Pacquiao's last 14 opponents have hailed from Mexico, while two others have been of Mexican descent, including De la Hoya, who Pacquiao forced to retire in eight rounds.

"For the last five years I've always fought Mexicans, so it's kind of different, and exciting," said Pacquiao.

"The intensity for this fight is the same as for the Oscar de la Hoya fight. But I think there will be more action in the ring against Ricky, the intensity will be double it was in the last fight."

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach, who also trains Bolton lightweight Amir Khan, said Hatton was "made for Manny Pacquiao style-wise".

"Ricky will make us look great," said Roach, who has also worked with Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins, De la Hoya, among others.

"He'll run into too many problems and we'll dominate. We're just too quick and I have the game-plan mapped out already. He'll make it difficult for us for a little while, but we will get to him.

"Ricky's win over Paulie Malignaggi proved nothing. He was a hand-picked opponent and I didn't even bother watching the fight."

see also
Slick Hatton defeats Malignaggi
23 Nov 08 |  Boxing


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