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Who wins? Trainers Goossen, Adams make picks

29
Apr

Who's going to win Saturday, Manny Pacquiao or Ricky Hatton? We went to two of the foremost boxing experts in the U.S. to get their opinions. Joe Goossen, who has guided a dozen fighters to world titles, picks Hatton. Ken Adams, a former Olympic coach who has had 17 titleholders, thinks Hatton will win. Here are their thoughts.

JOE GOOSSEN

I’m hard-pressed to pick a winner here but I lean toward Manny Pacquiao for various reasons.

No. 1, he’s a little bit of a juggernaut right now. He’s on a big roll. His confidence is sky high, he trains like a demon and he hits very hard.

And I saw Ricky Hatton interviewed on HBO, I think, a week or two ago and he had two black eyes from sparring. That tells you something right there. The guys are getting to him pretty good. And I don’t know how many southpaws he’s fought in the past. I don’t think he’s fought many. Remember the problems he had with (southpaw) Luis Collazo? He lost that fight even though he won on the cards. This is another reason I favor Pacquiao.

Here’s another reason: Look at a guy like Juan Manuel Marquez, in his first fight with Pacquiao. Even though Marquez came back to do well, he was dropped three times in the first round. His face looked like it went through a meat grinder in one round.

Hatton has switched trainers after a long time. He’s with a tricky guy, Floyd Mayweather Sr. I just don’t know if Hatton can also be a tricky guy; he’s a paint-by-numbers kind of guy. You know what to expect from him. He’s a pressure fighter, nonstop action, and usually something breaks his way. Hatton isn’t the only one who is going to be in shape for this fight, though.

I don’t know how many tricks could help Hatton in this fight. Again, he’s fighting a southpaw. He will have had to take a crash course in fighting southpaws. That’s probably why he had two black eyes. That’s the drawback in fighting a southpaw; right-handers normally don’t face them often. The other side of the coin is that southpaws always face right-handers. That’s a built-in advantage.

You spar with southpaws but the guy you face in the fight is nothing like the sparring partners. That’s another twist.

Yes, Pacquiao is going up in weight even though he fought Oscar De La Hoya at 147 pounds. This will be the first time he fights at 140. Remember, though, he’s faced much more-talented opponents than Hatton. The guys he’s fought, the Barreras, Moraleses and Marquezes, are lighter but fast, tricky, the cream of the crop at 126 and 130. Pacquiao will have a lot of computer info stored in his head from fighting those guys. I don’t think Hatton has half the tricks these other cats have.

Hatton is depending on his size, his pressure style and whatever Mayweather might bring to the table.

I just think that when everything is said and done, Pacquiao has all these little advantages piling up that will give him the edge. By the time Hatton figures him out, it’ll be too late in the fight. That’s what usually happens with southpaws.

KEN ADAMS

I’ve never been one to listen to hype, so I don’t believe Pacquiao is as great as he may have looked against Oscar De La Hoya and I don’t believe that Hatton is as one-dimensional as people think he is.

I know that Hatton is a better boxer than people give him credit for and I believe that he can follow instructions and not get into a slugfest with Pacquiao.

That’s right, I think the way Hatton beats Pacquiao is by NOT engaging on the inside. I think he needs to be on the outside to win this fight, and I have a sneaking suspicion that (Hatton’s trainer, Floyd) Mayweather Sr. thinks the same thing.

I think Hatton needs to keep his distance and make Pacquiao lean and come in on him. Hatton should keep him at bay and make him reach. If he can make Pacquiao miss, he can make Pacquiao pay.

Now you say, “But Kenny, Hatton doesn’t fight that way”. Bulls__t. Hatton can get on his toes and box from a distance. I’ve seen him do it and you’ve seen him do it against Vince Phillips and Ben Tackie.

I used to train a fighter named Jan Bergman, a South African who fought a lot in Britain, and I recall watching a young Ricky fight early in his career over there. He was a good boxer with good hand speed, but he got away from the speed and the sharpness and he started banging all the time.

I think that had to do with his opponents; his old promoter Frank Warren mainly put him in with guys who he could beat just by coming forward and banging away to the body, but he always had the talent to box.

Mayweather Sr. should get him back to doing that. He should be able to get Hatton to avoid the infighting that I think could cost him. Pacquiao has got good combinations on the inside. He’s got those little quick 6- and 12-inch punches that do damage in close.

Hatton’s better off catching him from the outside and holding him on the inside. I think Mayweather is working on turning Pacquiao and stepping around him.

People don’t think Hatton is capable of doing this, but I think he can.

He has to get past the first three or four rounds; he can’t get caught with anything stupid — and I’m sure Mayweather’s game plan is all about getting past the early rounds — but if he makes it to the fourth or fifth rounds, I think he can take over the bout and I think he can wear down Pacquiao.

If Hatton wins this fight — surprise, surprise — it will be by knockout.

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