After many great fights on HBO and Showtime this year, we have our first big fight of the year. It’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton and I have many great boxing minds who shared their prediction with me. You’ll see their prediction along with their commentary underneath.
Here is the panel:
George Kimball – George is the author of the fantastic book Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing. He also writes for ESPN.com, Boxing Digest, Irish Times, and The Sweet Science.
Bill Dwyre – Bill is a columnist for the LA Times and he’s written some great material already about this fight. You can read his great columns on his LA Times page.
Tim Kawakami – Tim is a writer for the San Jose Mercury News and the author of the 1999 book on Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy. He writes a very popular Bay Area sports blog as well.
Mike Sempervive – Mike co-hosts the Adam & Mike Show on F4WOnline/Wrestling Observer.
Tim Starks – Tim writes The Queensberry Rules and has been a guest on FGB Radio before.
Jake Emen – Jake is a self described boxing fanatic who writes a blog for the new website Boxing Equipment 24/7.
Jereme Warneck – Jereme writes a blog at number1contender.net, which focuses on wrestling, boxing, MMA, and video games.
Kaelan Hollon – Kaelan is an amateur boxer and freelance sportswriter who writes A Girl’s Guide To Violence.
Duan Greally – Duan is a writer for Fight Game Blog.
Cactus Jim – Jim is a writer for Fight Game Blog.
Big D – Danny is a writer for Fight Game Blog.
Brotherman – Robert is a writer for Fight Game Blog.
GG – That would be me, editor of Fight Game Blog.
George Kimball – Pacquiao by 9th round TKO
English fighters who have traveled to America for fights this year haven’t had much support. That’s because the Brits have all been saving their money for this one. Hatton will have the overwhelming support of the crowd, just as he did against Mayweather. These Brits are a tough lot, but they can’t get in the ring and fight for their boy.
It won’t be the cakewalk the De La Hoya fight was, but Pacquiao wins this one, too.
It isn’t even big man-little man this time. 140 is a lot closer to Manny’s walking-around weight than it is to Hatton’s, We’ve seen how well Pacquiao handled 147. He’ll be even better, and quicker, at 140.
And it’s hard not to think back to Hatton’s fight with Luis Collazo, where there wasn’t much to seperate the two. We had the Englishman winning that one by a point — the edge he got from a first-round flash knockdown — and a lot of people thought Ricky lost it. No disrespect to Luis, but if this fight were Pacquiao vs Collazo, would we even be having this debate?
Bill Dwyre – Pacquiao by 7th round KO
I think Pacquiao will win when Hatton walks into a left hand in the 7th round.
Tim Kawakami – Pacquiao by 9th round TKO
Won’t be easy, and both men will get into and out of trouble early. Pacquiao will eat some heavy leather, but he’ll turn up the volume in the mid-rounds and take out Hatton one round earlier than Mayweather did.
Mike Sempervive – Manny Pacquiao by a unanimous, but close, decision.
Even though Hatton, unlike Oscar De La Hoya, will beâ€¦ wellâ€¦ alive, I think with Manny â€“ if he doesnâ€™t get cocky â€“ is just too dangerous. Heâ€™s too fast, too accurate, his footwork is too good, a southpaw (if Collazo annoyed Ricky, what will Pac do?) and I just donâ€™t think at this point in his career with a fight of this magnitude that heâ€™ll end up reverting back to throwing too wide, and letting Hatton sit in his chest because he wants to show his machismo. That said, Hatton can hit like a mule and as long as heâ€™s got gas, heâ€™s going to be dangerous, but I just canâ€™t see enough happening where Hatton wonâ€™t end up frustrated, and out-pointed. I think Hatton will take some rounds, maybe even as many as five, but I just donâ€™t think when push comes to shove you can bet against Pacquiao, and the roll that heâ€™s on.
As a side note, part of me would really like to see Hatton win. Obviously, no matter what, I want to see a good fight, but if Pac loses, I donâ€™t think it really hurts him, as there a still just so many great fights out there for him in several weight classes). But, a loss for Ricky will really hurt him, his career prospects (and this sport needs him and his personality), and it cuts the number of bankable British fighters in half, to one. (David Haye. Sorry fans of Khan/Froch/Witter/etc., it just ainâ€™t happening yet â€“ or in Juniorâ€™s case, at all). Plus, it may increase the possibility of Manny dropping back down in weight for what I would hope would be Hagler-Hearns-three-rounds (-at-best)-type of mayhem for he and Edwin Valero.
My own personal greed. Maybe thatâ€™s the reason why I have this Hatton visionâ€¦..
Tim Starks – Pacquiao by 10th round KO
It’s the speed. Oh, the speed. Manny Pacquiao has it. Ricky Hatton has some, too, but not as much as he thinks he does and nowhere near as much as Pacquiao. Even Hatton’s biggest advantage (literally), size, isn’t a given — Pacquiao has been stronger than or as strong as everyone he’s fought every time he’s moved up a weight class. He’s a physical marvel. Theoretically, Hatton could rough up Pacquiao on the inside, where Pacquiao has never much ventured before, and hit him with body punches that crack his ribs like no one ever has before. But I just keep going back to that awesome, shocking speed.
My prediction: Hatton has some success early because Pacquiao’s defense, while improved, may not be as good as it has seemed against a slow David Diaz and emaciated Oscar De La Hoya, and Hatton had some luck early against defensive magician Floyd Mayweather, Jr. But at the same time, Pacquiao’s going to be lasering in quick, accurate, hard shots that begin to accumulate and slow Hatton. Hatton won’t lose his cool like he did against Mayweather when something similar happened, but he won’t survive to the final bell, either, getting caught much the same way Diaz did, by a Pacquiao punch he never saw
Jake Emen – Pacquiao by 11th round TKO
I have a lot of questions about this fight. How is Pacquiao going to take the shots of a legit junior welter? How is Hatton going to take the shots of Pacquiao? How is the referee going to dictate the action? I think regardless of how the referee lets Hatton fight, he’s going to have more trouble getting a hold of Pacquiao than he usually has against his opponents. Pacquiao’s speed – footspeed and handspeed – is going to be a nightmare for Ricky. The first four rounds will be split, and after that Pacquiao comes on and starts opening up. The punishment builds up until Pacquiao scores the TKO in round 11.
Jereme Warneck – Hatton by decision
It seems like Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton have been on a collision course for a while. Ever since Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez on March 15, 2008 and announced he was moving up in weight, this match seemed eminent. Even coming off the loss knockout to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in December 2007, that impending match up seemed to favor Hatton. Hatton is a lot bigger then Pacquiao and will bring non-stop pressure for 12 rounds that should cause the Filipino icon lots of problems. After Pacquiao speed and power dominated and retired Oscar De La Hoya on December 6, 2008 the popular thinking seems to have changed. The thinking now seems to be that Pacquiao will be too fast for Hatton and the size will be no problem. However, I think people put too much emphasis on a boxer’s last performance many times. Hatton has been the champion at 140 pounds for several years for a reason. My prediction is that the Englishman’s superior size and pressure are too much for Pacquiao on Saturday.
Kaelan Hollon – Hatton by late round KO
I wonâ€™t claim to be a fight tactician, there are too many good ones already. My fight prediction doesnâ€™t rest on an analytical take on Pacquiaoâ€™s offensive prowess or Hattonâ€™s ability to brawl.
The two are trained similarly by the greatest trainers in the business, at some of the finest boxing facilities in the nation where millions of dollars have been poured into tuning their machinations into gleaming muscle cars.
Iâ€™m paying attention to how their pride is leveraged coming into the fight. The Phillipinesâ€™ gross national product could be said to weigh heavily on Pacquiaoâ€™s outcome, millions in Manila will stop with bated breath to watch their hero represent their own dreams. However, Pacquiao is already planning his political career post-fight â€“ heâ€™s spread himself out and boxing is simply a springboard for his larger goals at this point.
But Hatton has something more fundamental, earthy. Iâ€™ll take a man who fights from the pride of his guttered ego, rather than Pacquiaoâ€™s lofty aspirations to God and Country. Give me the chip on a shoulder, the man who knows his limitations and wants only to win just this fight, rather than run for Senate after.
If Hatton can withstand Pacquiaoâ€™s speed, Iâ€™d imagine he gets a knockout against Pacman in a very late round, when all their expensive conditioning just canâ€™t replace each fighter’s pride, ego, and heart.
Duan Greally – Pacquiao by late KO
I don’t think it’s wise to disregard the impact size will have in this one. Hatton is a phenomenally strong junior welterweight – itâ€™s a weight he has dominated at his entire career, and one Pacquiao has not fought at. It doesn’t matter if they are the same weight at the scales, Ricky will be the physically stronger guy in the ring. He’s a natural at the weight, where as Pacquiao is not. I don’t think Pacquiao will fair well in a brawl with Hatton. Should it come down to a close range contest of punch power and resistance, he will be bullied and stopped.
However, Pacquiao has excellent speed of both hand and foot and thatâ€™s going to be crucial to neutralizing Hatton’s strength. He needs to do what he did so well against Oscar and get in, get a barrage of punches off, and then get out again. Get out of there before Ricky starts smashing up his body. He needs to avoid the clinch where Hatton can outmuscle him and wear him down. I believe Pacquiao does have the tools to control the distance. Itâ€™s just a matter of whether he chooses to use them or not.
I think he will fight smart, and Hatton will be forced to pressure him. Ricky will have to bull forward and take shots to get his own shots off. I see this being a grueling battle of endurance more than anything. It will be close the whole way through, but Hatton will have to work incredibly hard to force his way in to the fight. My feeling is that he will fade first as a result, and Pacquiao will stop him late.
Cactus Jim – Pacquiao by 10th round TKO
I think these guys will beat the hell out of each other and both will look like theyâ€™ve just came out of a war at the end of it. At the end of it all, I think Pacâ€™s speed and movement will make him a tough target for Hatton. I see Pacquiao draining the life out of Hatton the longer this fight goes and eventually breaking him. Iâ€™ll go out on a limb and say that itâ€™s a body shot that ends the fight.
Big D – Pacquiao by decision
Even as a somewhat casual boxing fan, I am still very familiar with both of these athletes. I initially chose Young Richard to take the fight. Ricky Hatton has always impressed me with his power punches and in addition to the weight advantage, it seemed natural that he would win. He’s no tomato can. But Pac is so fast though. Pac has blinding speed and while he may not be quite as quick Money May, he is pretty close. So after thinking a bit more it seems like Pac will overwhelm Hatton early and in the later rounds, be too much for Rick. Rick will probably win a couple of the early rounds but Pac will hang in there.
Brotherman – Pacquiao by decision
Robert already made his prediction here: http://fightgameblog.com/2009/04/brothermans-take-on-manny-pacquiao-vs-ricky-hatton”.
GG – Pacquiao by decision
I just have this feeling that Hatton is being overlooked here. I know that it’s Pacquiao’s world right now, especially after retiring Oscar De La Hoya. I know he’s been in the memorable wars and has made the successful climb in weight a few times now. But is a hungry and overlooked Ricky Hatton a dangerous Ricky Hatton? I think so. I think this fight goes all the way down to the end and it’s a toss up with the judges deciding. I think a 10-8 round from a knock down could decide the fight. It’s that close.
As for an official tally, eleven are predicting a Pacquiao win while only two are predicting Hatton to prevail.
Thanks to George, Bill, Tim K., Mike, Tim S., Jake, Jereme, and Kaelan for answering my e-mails. I appreciate it. And thanks to Duan, Cactus Jim, Big D, and Brotherman as well.