Friday, December 02, 2022  |



2009 Ring Fan Poll: Pacquiao-Hatton is KO of the Year



Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton: 85 percent
Shane Mosley-Antonio Margarito: 9 percent
Arthur Abraham-Jermain Taylor: 4 percent
Brian Viloria-Ulises Solis: 2 percent

Note: These are not the official RING awards. Those will be announced next month in the magazine.

In retrospect, we tend to look at the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight on May 2 as a mismatch. A great fighter against a good one.

Going in, though, some gave the experienced Briton a decent chance of beating the pound-for-pound king. If nothing else, he was deemed the much stronger of the two and as tough as they come. We asked: How will Pacquiao respond when a true 140-pounder lands a hard shot to his chin?

Not as many asked: What will happen when the opposite occurs?

Pacquiao took charge of the fight from the outset, overwhelming his much-slower opponent and putting him down twice in the first round. Hatton survived – but not for long.

The underdog remained the aggressor in the second round but Pacquiao remained in control, countering his opponent’s rushes with blinding-quick, hard punches that did damage and frustrated Hatton.

Then came a moment that will live in boxing lore and might define the career of Pacquiao more than any other. With less than 10 seconds remaining in Round 2, he landed a left hook to the sturdy chin of Hatton that knocked him flat on his back and into temporary unconsciousness.

Referee Kenny Bayless didn’t even finish his count because there was no point; Hatton wasn’t getting up any time soon.

The knockout left about 18,000 jaws in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the ground. Those of us at ringside just looked at one another wide-eyed and said nothing. What could we say other than, “Wow!”

“That,” HBO blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lampley said, “is the most-spectacular one-punch shot of Manny Pacquiao’s incredible career.”

“Any fighter,” added analyst Emanuel Steward, swept up in the moment.

The latter statement can be debated but few would argue that the knockout wasn’t one of the most-memorable of all time, both because of its sheer, sudden violence and the fact it happened in such an important fight.

Indeed, a single punch lifted Pacquiao from mere future hall of famer to something that more-closely resembled a living legend.

Certainly, no one who saw – whether in person or on television – will ever forget it.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]