Manny Pacquiao proved why he’s considered the best pound-for-pound fighter Saturday night (May 2), when he KO’d Ricky Hatton in the second round during their junior welterweight title bout.
At the end of the fight, the Filipino superstar connected with a devastating left cross to the head, leaving the British brawler dazed and confused on the canvas. Referee Kenny Bayless took one look at Hatton and called the fight at 2:59 of the round.
Knock downs were the theme for this round and a half of boxing. After cautionously figuring out Hatton’s constant forward moving, Pac-Man began to unleash punch flurries, before dropping Hatton for the first time midway through the first round.
It was when Hatton cocked back to throw a left that Manny Pacquiao saw his opening. He followed immediately with a punishing right hook to the head, catching Hatton right on the chin. After the fight, both Pac-Man and his trainer Freddie Roach said the hook was executed exactly how it was practiced in the gym.
“Every time Ricky throws his left hand, he pulls it back and cocks it, and he’s wide open for a short right hook on the inside from the South Paw stance,” said Roach in the post interview. “We worked on that every day in the gym, the timing shot. It just worked beautifully.”
“That’s the right hook,” Manny explained, while watching playback of the first round knock down with HBO’s Larry Merchant. “We study that every day in the gym. If you see the [HBO’s ’24/7′], I throw a lot of hooks in the training. So, that’s why he’s very surprised on that style.”
Despite the quick knock down, Hatton rose at the count of eight, but Pac-Man landed yet another flurry and dropped him once again right before the bell ended the first round.
Both fighters exited to their corners, and went back to it in round two, but Pacquiao was just too fast and powerful for Hatton to handle. The pride of the Philippines sized up the British fighter for one last big punch. It was a right cross that Hatton never saw coming, leaving him flat on the canvas.
“I’m surprised the fight was kinda easy. For me, I consider the fight is hard because he can punch. He have a strong left hand,” a humble Pacquiao said.
“That’s what was our strategy — the one punch hook by hook. Left hook and right hook, that’s gonna be the key to this fight.”
Although Pacquiao was a 2-1 favorite over Hatton, many predicted that Hatton would be Pac-Man’s toughest opponent to date. Manny had to come up in weight to meet Hatton at 140 ponds. Some wondered if his power would be enough to hurt Hatton who has a reputation as a tough and aggressive fighter who wears his opponents down.
He stood no chance against Pacquaio though.
After the devastating knockout, Hatton rose from the canvas several minutes after doctors tended to him. He walked back into the locker room without a post interview.
It was the second loss of Hatton’s career. His only loss prior, came at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who KO’d him in the 10th round of their fight in December 2007.
Pacquiao’s victory comes on the same day Mayweather announced his return to the ring, by way of a July 18 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. With Pacquiao’s lopsided win over Hatton, many predict a match with Mayweather is next. That is, if he wins against Marquez this summer.
When asked if Mayweather is the man he’d like to face next, Pacquiao said it’s all in the hands of the promoters. “I can fight anybody. It depends on my how my promoters negotiations are. I’m just a fighter, doing my job training, and keep 100% in the fights.”
Saturday’s win further cemented his best pound-for-pound title. One man stands in his way though. That is Mayweather. If Mayweather wins in July, it will only be a matter of time before he’ll have to meet Pacquiao in the ring.
Pacquiao advanced to 49-3-2, earning $12 million for the fight, while Hatton’s record fell to 45-2 earning an $8 million paycheck.