Hitman’s knockout view – Ricky Hatton speaks to Coral in a bookmaker exclusive
In what is being billed by many as the ‘fight of the century’, Coral are proud to bring you a bookmakers exclusive with former welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, who spoke to us live from Las Vegas, giving his thoughts and views on the eagerly anticipated showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Hatton knows only too well what it is like to face arguably two of the very best fighters in the world, having been in the ring with them both, and admitted that this clash will take some beating.
“It’s probably the biggest money-earning fight of all time,” Hatton said.
“It brings back the feel-good factor to the real boxing community and reminds us of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler…that’s high praise, but if we are honest [Manny’s] won titles at eight different weights and [Floyd’s] won them at five different weights so they are two of the greatest fighters of all time, in the same era, the same weight division…it doesn’t get bigger or better than this.
“Kid in a sweet shop”
“Whether I was a boxer or a trainer or anyone involved with boxing, kid in a sweet shop comes to mind,” added Hatton.
Speaking about the styles of the two boxers, Hatton indicated that he was a big fan of Pacquiao, or ‘Pacman’ to his fans, but also couldn’t rule out Mayweather.
“We can very much expect a clash of styles come the fight on Saturday, everything in my heart tells me [Manny] has got the style and the speed and everything really to beat Floyd but having said that it’s very hard for me to go against Mayweather.
He is, however, one of few whose opinions are actually worth listening to, having gone toe-to-toe with both, though like many in the lead up to the fight picked a number of each boxers’ strengths that could make the difference on the night.
“I say that, because I shared the ring with him for 10 rounds and I found out how brilliant he was, so I have to go [Floyd] all the way. If anyone is going to beat him, though, it will be someone with fast feet and fast hands which is what [Manny] Pacquiao has got and he’s a south paw which will help. I think Floyd but I’m having a bet on Manny if that makes sense.”
Despite Hatton being out of the ring since November 2012, he is still a favourite with fans in Las Vegas, who fondly remember the memories he gave them, and it appears his opinion is still well valued and sought after on the strip among fans.
“Just being here now in Vegas makes me very proud,” said Hatton.
“People keep coming up to me to talk about the fight, it’s a similar atmosphere to when I fought here. I brought 30k fans over, and this week is very very similar because it’s such a massive fight, the expectation is absolutely huge.
“Vegas is packed already and its absolutely buzzing and you know what it should be as you have two of the greatest fighters of all time that are fighting. As I said before, world champion at five different weights, world champion at eight different weights, it does not get better than this.”
In what perhaps could be the best reminder to everyone to savour this occasion, Hatton said: “We thought we had lost the fight a few years ago you know, so thank the lord.
With any fight, or indeed sporting event as big as this, there will always be some degree of pressure, especially on the favourite and, as we have found out in the past, it is always usually the party who stays the most cool, who wins. Hatton agrees.
“There is 100 per cent more pressure on Floyd,” he said.
“[Manny] got knocked out by Marquez and all the punters are picking Mayweather. It’s not like one of those fights where nothing is important if you like, the pressure is definitely on [Floyd], not only is he unbeaten but if he wins this one he’s one away from Rocky Marciano’s record where as Manny got knocked out not too long back by Marquez.
“I really rate Floyd, I don’t share his view he is better than Ali and Suger Ray Leonard, I think that’s very high praise of yourself but he is definitely up there.
Speaking about his own experience in the ring with Mayweather, when he went 10 rounds with him, Hatton was intrigued as to how he would have done against boxing’s other greats, when comparing his fight against 38-year-old.
“I often think I did well and gave [Floyd] a good fight, so how would I have done against Sugar Ray Leanard, I dont think I could have lived with Sugar Ray Leonard and that’s the difference I guess. [Floyd] will go down as one of the all time greats and I’m very proud to say I have shared the ring with him.”
Some tribute, though he was quick to big up Pacquiao’s strengths, saying that the Filipino fighter has the the ability to hurt anyone on his day.
“Of course [Manny] has the power as he knocked me out with one of the most devastating one punch knockouts you will ever see,” Hatton continued.
“I think [Manny] has not one in the last five and has not knocked anyone out but he has been preparing for this…big punches won’t win this match, [Manny] needs speed and that’s what he has.
“Saying that I think he will be very cagey…if I was in the wild card gym, not that Freddy Roach needs any advice but I would say in and out, fast hands, just like he did against Oscar de la Hoya, everyone thinks you need to jump down [Floyd’s] throat [to have success] but I think the opposite personally.
“He needs to be in and out and very very quick, not to try and knock him out but to win on points, a big volume of punches and to be honest with you that’s the perfect game plan and that would be my advice to [Manny] if I was in the corner.
“At the end of the day I think [Floyd] will win – some of the things he does you can’t teach, they are natural. saying that it would not surprise me if [Manny] won, but I have to go with [Floyd], I had 10 rounds with him and I found out just how good he was.”
However the fight fleshes out, Hatton will just be glad that he’s spectating this time, though there is no doubt his advice would be well-received in either corner.
Coral are offering all new customers fantastic odds on both fighters with 5/1 for Mayweather to come out on top or 10/1 for Pacquiao to spring an upset, get it while it lasts.
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