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Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 09:24 UK

Pacquiao proves ring greatness

Ricky Hatton v Manny Pacquiao
Hatton was overwhelmed by Pacquiao's power and blurring hand speed

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Las Vegas

From headlining on Las Vegas Boulevard to flat on his back on Queer Street in five minutes and 59 seconds. Ricky Hatton and thousands of his loyal fans were exposed to boxing in all its brutality on Saturday night.

I think I've seen bigger left hands, but I really can't remember when. Mind you, Manny Pacquiao's other mitt wasn't too shabby either. Hatton wasn't available for comment immediately after the fight, but it is doubtful he still thinks he can match his opponent for speed and power.

If his fight against Paulie Malignaggi last November was a test drive for Hatton and his trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr, then this was the equivalent of opening her up on the motorway. It ended in a wreck.

Pacquiao celebrates victory in Las Vegas
Pacquiao could now land a super-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr

For all Hatton's talk of technical fine-tuning in the lead-up to the fight, the Hitman's defences proved as leaky as a rusty spit bucket.
His hands unusually low, walking forward in straight lines - Pacquiao couldn't miss.

The Filipino threw 53 power shots in the second round alone and landed with 34 of them. Hatton, who claimed before the fight that he had rediscovered his jab, found his target with only two of them.

"I was surprised it was that easy," said Pacquiao. "He was open and coming forward and his hands were down."

"Ricky fights the same way over and over," his trainer Freddie Roach added. "He doesn't have the ability to adjust."

But to criticise Hatton's performance too much would be to belittle the greatness of the 'Pac Man', who seems to be on a mission to gobble his way through every weight class.

I was just doing my job - Pacquiao

From flyweight up to welterweight and back down to 140lb, no wonder his promoter Bob Arum calls him a modern day Henry Armstrong, the American who held the feather, light and welterweight titles simultaneously in the 1930s.

Pacquiao's ability to carry his power up through the weights is truly extraordinary, as is the fact that the extra weight doesn't appear to affect his speed. Power, pace and precision - it's a rare, and potent, cocktail.

"I'm the greatest trainer in the world because I've got the greatest fighter," added Roach after the fight, beaming from ear to ear like a proud father, although a certain Floyd Mayweather Jr might disagree.

Mayweather Jr comes out of his short-lived 'retirement' to fight lightweight king Juan Manuel Marquez on 18 July, and the winner of that fight will surely end up locking horns with Pacquiao. Mayweather Jr v Pacquiao. What a prospect that is.

As for Hatton, his co-trainer Lee Beard and manager Gareth Williams said the decision to box on or not would be left entirely to the man himself. Mayweather Sr, although he didn't say it in rhyme, suggested it might be time for Hatton to get another job.


Twice Hatton has challenged the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and twice he has come up well short. There is no disgrace in losing to the deadly duo of Mayweather Jr and Pacquiao, but Hatton may well decide that if he can't mix it with the best, then there's no point in continuing to mix it at all.

Certainly the defeat by Pacquiao will have put a huge dent in his brand in the United States, and if he does decide to rebuild, he will have to do it in the foothills. The days of topping Vegas bills would appear to be in the past.

But what days they were. Any man who can move 25,000 fans to follow him to Vegas in the middle of a recession has got something special. Unluckily for him, Pacquiao proved to be far more special.

see also
Hatton floored by brutal Pacquiao
03 May 09 |  Boxing
Hatton v Pacquiao photos
01 May 09 |  Boxing
Mayweather to make boxing return
02 May 09 |  Boxing
Hatton fans mob Sin City weigh-in
02 May 09 |  Americas
Hatton undaunted by underdog tag
29 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Pacquiao - a Philippine Goliath
30 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Hatton-Pacquiao predictions
28 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Beasts from the East
24 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Hatton slams Pacquiao credentials
21 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Mayweather Sr to stay with Hatton
27 Mar 09 |  Boxing
Hatton relishes Pacquiao showdown
29 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Pacquiao stops 'empty' De la Hoya
07 Dec 08 |  Boxing
Slick Hatton defeats Malignaggi
23 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Pacquiao claims lightweight title
29 Jun 08 |  Boxing

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