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Head to Head: Hatton vs. Pacquiao

Fighters Network


When: Saturday, May 2

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

TV: HBO Pay-Per-View, 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET

Weight: Welterweight (140 pounds)

Title(s) at stake: THE RING junior welterweight championship

Also on the card: Humberto Soto vs. Benoit Gaudet, 12 rounds, junior lightweight, for Soto’s WBC 130-pound title; Daniel Jacobs vs. Michael Walker, 8 rounds, middleweight; Matt Korobov vs. Rodrigo Aguiar, 4 rounds, middleweight; Erislandy Lara vs. Chris Gray, 4 rounds, junior middleweight; Matthew Hatton vs. Ernesto Zepeda, 8 rounds, welterweight; Mike Alvarado vs. Juaquin Gallardo, 10 rounds, junior welterweight; Abner Mares vs. Jonathan Perez, 8 rounds, bantamweight; Bernabe Concepcion vs. Yogli Herrera, 8 rounds, lightweight.


The essentials

Age: 30

Height / Reach: 5-7 / 65

Hometown: Manchester, England

Turned pro: 1997

Record: 45-1 (32 knockouts)

Trainer: Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Fight-by-fight: http

The Ring rating: Junior welterweight champion

Titles: THE RING and IBF junior welterweight (2005-present; he was stripped of the IBF title when he challenged Luis Collazo at welterweight); WBA junior welterweight (2005; later vacated the title to campaign at welterweight); WBA welterweight title (2006, vacated title to go back to junior welterweight); regained IBF junior welterweight title (2007, vacated to challenge Floyd Mayweather Jr. at welterweight).

Biggest victories: Kostya Tszyu, June 4, 2005, TKO 11 (wins THE RING and IBF junior welterweight title); Luis Collazo, May 13, 2006, SD 12 (wins WBA welterweight title); Jose Luis Castillo, June 23, 2007, KO 4; Paul Malignaggi, Nov. 22, 2008, TKO 11.

Only loss: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Dec. 8, 2007, TKO 10.


The essentials

Age: 30

Height / reach: 5-6 / 67

Hometown: General Santos City, Philippines

Turned pro: 1995

Record: 48-3-2 (36 knockouts)

Trainer: Freddie Roach


The Ring rating: No. 5 at welterweight

Titles: WBC flyweight (1998-99; lost title to Medgoen Singsurat); IBF junior featherweight (2001-03; vacated title to campaign at featherweight); WBC junior lightweight (2008; vacated to campaign at lightweight); WBC lightweight (2008; vacated to campaign at welterweight).

Biggest victories: Chatchai Sasakul, Dec. 4, 1998, KO 8 (won WBC flyweight title); Lehlo Ledwaba, June 23, 2001, TKO 6 (won IBF junior featherweight title); Marco Antonio Barrera, TKO 11, Nov. 15, 2003, TKO 11 (gained recognition as lineal featherweight champ); Erik Morales, Jan. 21, 2006, TKO 10; Morales, Nov. 18, 2006, KO 3; Juan Manuel Marquez, March 15, 2008, SD 12 (won WBC 130-pound title); David Diaz, June 28, 2008, TKO 9 (won WBC lightweight title); Oscar De La Hoya, Dec. 6, 2008, RTD 8.

Losses: Rustico Torrecampo, Feb. 9, 1996, KO 3; Medgoen Singsurat, Sept. 17, 1999, KO 3; Erik Morales, March 19, 2005, L 12.


Skills: Pacquiao has evolved from a headstrong, one-armed bandit who sought to overwhelm his opponents with his phenomenal speed and power to a disciplined boxer-puncher with a complete arsenal of punches and underrated defensive ability. Hatton is thought of as a brawler or pressure fighter and often dismissed as a “grappler” because of his roughhouse tactics in close. However, the Brit has underrated footwork and timing. His jab is also world class when he remembers to use it. In recent years, Hatton has been more likely to neglect his boxing ability during a fight than Pacquiao.

Edge: Pacquiao

Power: The naturally smaller man has the faster hands, the sharper technique and is the busier fighter, which translates into being a more-damaging puncher. That doesn’t mean the natural featherweight hits harder than the natural junior welterweight. Neither fighter possesses one-punch KO power. Both score knockouts by gradually wearing down their opponents. Pacquiao does it with volume and combination punching. Hatton does it with grappling and a brutal body attack. However, Hatton is used to doing it against much bigger opponents than Pacquiao is. The hunch is that the Brit’s hands are a bit heavier.

Edge: Hatton

Speed and athletic ability: Hatton possesses above-average hand and foot speed for a junior welterweight. His reflexes are world class. Still, he’s absolutely outclassed by Pacquiao, who hasn’t lost much in the way of hand speed since he left the 122-pound division. The Filipino icon’s speed, reflexes and hand-eye coordination are simply off the charts. No one in the sport can maneuver about the ring or deliver multi-punch combinations with the speed and fluidity that he does.

Edge: Pacquiao

Defense: Neither fighter is a defensive wizard, as both have used their offense as their defense in the past. However, both fighters have tried to add head movement and blocking tactics to their overall game recently to aid in their ring success and longevity. Hatton showed marked improvement in these departments in his most recent fight, against Paul Malignaggi. Pacquiao appears to have seamlessly incorporated a bob-and-weave approach to his usual in-and-out attack, which has produced near perfect performances in his last two fights, against David Diaz and Oscar De La Hoya.

Edge: Pacquiao

Experience: Both are among the most experienced active fighters who are still in their athletic primes. Pacquiao has won 48 of 53 pro bouts, Hatton 45 of 46. Pacquiao has been a pro for 14¾ years, Hatton for 11¾ years. Both have fought their share of top opposition. However, Pacquiao broke into the world-class scene back in 1998, when he won the WBC flyweight title at age 19. Hatton didn’t emerge as a true world-class player until his breakthrough fight with Kostya Tszyu in 2005. Pacquiao has gone 4-1-1 (3 KOs) against future hall of famers Barrera, Morales, Marquez and De La Hoya. Hatton has gone 1-1 (1 KO) against Tszyu and Mayweather.

Edge: Pacquiao

Chin: Both fighters have lost by knockout, but Pacquiao hasn’t been stopped in 11 years; Hatton was KO'd 1¾ years ago. Pacquiao’s first KO loss occurred back in 1996 when he was 17 years old. His other KO loss was due to the extreme weight drain of trying to make 112 pounds when his body had outgrown the flyweight division. Hatton was worn down by Mayweather and then was caught by a good punch, which left him discombobulated.

Edge: Pacquiao

Conditioning: Both fighters are renown for their work ethic in the gym and their frenetic pace during their fights, but Hatton is just as well known for his lack of discipline between bouts. Hatton has excellent condition come fight time, but like the speed and athleticism department, Pacquiao is in a class by himself in terms of conditioning.

Edge: Pacquiao

Wear and tear: Both fighters have absorbed the kind of punishment that naturally comes with being a prize fighter for more than 10 years. Pacquiao has been a pro longer and has more fights, but might be better preserved than Hatton because of a more-controlled lifestyle between bouts. However, Hatton has not been in as many tough fights as Pacquiao, who has engaged in more than a few grueling 12-round bouts with elite fighters, such as his classic first confrontations with Morales and Marquez.

Edge: Even

Corner: Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather Sr. are among the sport’s Top 10 active trainers. Roach has worked with more world champions than any other active trainer in the past two decades. After splitting with his son in 2000, the bulk of Mayweather’s work was with De La Hoya, who showed some improvement in certain areas of his game after a few years with the flamboyant and bombastic trainer. Mayweather’s combination drills, shoulder-roll moves and block-and-counter technique enhanced the skill set of some fighters like Steve Forbes, but didn’t seem to help others, such as Francisco Bojado. Nobody Mayweather has trained has taken to his tactics as well as his son, his masterpiece. What separates Roach from Mayweather in this fight is that his masterpiece, Pacquiao, will be in the ring on Saturday.

Edge: Roach

Outcome: The outcome of this fight will be determined by distance. Whoever can establish it and control it will win. Hatton will be at his best if he can close the distance and impose his size and strength on Pacquiao on the inside. If he can back Pacquiao to the ropes, he can dish out punishment. If he can’t get inside, he’s going to get punished by the quicker, sharper, busier puncher. Hatton will be careful in the early rounds as he tries to employ some of Mayweather’s technique to get in close without getting caught with anything flush. Pacquiao should enjoy success early on using his feet as much as his hands to keep a healthy distance between Hatton and himself, while he peppers the champ with jabs and straight shots to the body. Hatton will land a few counter shots as Pacquiao darts in, which will set off heated exchanges that thrill the crowd. However, as the fight continues, the more consistent offense from Pacquiao — to the body and head — will tell on Hatton, whose form and technique will break down with fatigue, setting him up for a late-rounds stoppage that is eerily similar to the one he suffered to Mayweather Jr.

Prediction: Pacquiao wins by ninth-round TKO.