Like many boxing fans I plucked down the $60 bucks on Saturday night to get the Manny Pacquiao – Ricky Hatton fight. And like many I fully expected a competitive fight between two great fighters. But what transpired was another butt whupping at the hands of Pacquiao.
Now, I know a thing or two about boxing, having managed a couple of world champions. And I can honestly say that Pacquiao is one of the best I have ever seen. Despite his diminutive size he is as complete a fighter as there has been in the sport in decades.
I don’t believe I have seen a fighter this good since Julio Cesar Chavez was in his prime. The night that Chavez took out Edwin Rosario was the night I became a big Chavez fan. But it has taken me time to warm up to Pacquiao. I have picked against him several times always siding with the bigger fighter. Even after he demolished Oscar De la Hoya I still doubted that he would be able to overwhelm a tough power puncher in Hatton. But the fight was no contest. It was over before it started.
Did I get my money’s worth — absolutely. I watched two rounds, three knockdowns and a clinic put on by the Filipino.
As I watched the fight over and over (tivo) I tried to comprehend what makes Pacquiao so special. There is not one answer.
He is short and his punches are compact not looping, giving him the power. He has power in both hands — which is extremely rare for a fighter. His defense is outstanding as he uses his short stature to his advantage by ducking under jabs and straight right hands. His timing is impeccable as he counters as good as anyone I have ever seen. His speed is tremendous — allowing him to hit his target square off the counter punch. Pacquiao has great ring generalship as he controls the center of the ring and forces his opponent to fight while moving backwards. And to be a great fighter you have to have solid footwork. Watching Pacquiao plant his right foot right in between Hatton’s two legs and fire away gives him total control of his body. He is never off center, never out of position and never caught off guard.
After watching Pacquiao’s performance Saturday night I have to wonder just what the heck Floyd Mayweather Jr. is thinking in coming out of retirement. It is inevitable that Mayweather will end up fighting Pacquiao, he can’t come back and duck him. And when he fights him I can’t see how — even as good as Mayweather is — he can beat this man.
All boxers have a hard time saying goodbye to the sport, especially when there is more money to be made. So Mayweather will come back win a fight or two and then cash in on what will become one of the biggest marquee fights of all time when he challenges Pacquiao.
In his last two fights the Filipino has retired De la Hoya and now likely Hatton as he contemplating hanging up the gloves. He will do the same to Mayweather — this time for good. Mayweather may see $$$ but he will be seeing **** if he gets in the ring with the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
If I was advising Mayweather I would tell him to stay retired. The fight fan wants to see the bout in the worst way and Mayweather can seal his legacy as one of the best ever if he defeats Pacquiao. But I just don’t see it happening. And a loss, especially if it is by knockout, will tarnish the Mayweather legacy to some degree. So stay retired Floyd, because right now no one can beat Pac Man.