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Thursday, April 30, 2009

I am ready – Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton behaved as though they were hosting a luncheon party for dignitaries on Wednesday at the MGM Grand.

They hardly spoke words of hatred towards each other and conducted themselves in a manner as though they were long-lost friends who suddenly bumped into each other during a social gathering.

They even shook hands, tapped each other on the shoulder and smiled back when one of them was smiled at.

It didn’t appear they are going to punch each other in wild abandon come Saturday night before an expected sellout and boisterous crowd of over 16,000 at the Grand Garden Arena.

It was only the support cast — Hatton’s trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. — who actually made some noise when he opted to call Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach as ‘joke coach Roach” and “cockroach.”

Roach just muttered a few words when he was asked to speak on the dais, telling the audience in a polite manner that since Pacquiao is superior than Hatton, victory would be theirs Pacquiao also didn’t resort to trash-talking, a common ingredient in these types of events, while Hatton’s statements were just rehashed from his previous remarks during the countless Q&A sessions conducted by the organizers.

“I am ready for the fight on Saturday,” said Pacquiao, dressed in a mafia outfit from head to toe.

“I know Ricky Hatton has trained for this fight. I have seen it on (HBO’s documentary) 24/7.”

“I respect Ricky Hatton. He is a good person,” said Pacquiao, eventually telling the people that he is even praying and hoping that nobody gets (seriously) hurt in the fight.”

Hatton’s words had more substance, boxing-wise.

“It doesn’t scare me being in this position. This is my weight division, but I understand that I am the underdog. I understand why people are picking on me especially since Manny Pacquiao is the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world who had just an exceptional win over Oscar (De La Hoya).”

It was Mayweather Sr., who stole the show with his rough rendition of a poem predicting Pacquiao’s downfall.

“Come May 2nd, you (Pacquiao) will be uncrowned with your head hanging down. The pain and stress left to confess that the Hitman’s the best. So let’s make it simple and plain after this fight, Pac will never be the same. It aint no diggity it aint no doubt, Pac’s gonna find out what it’s all about, when he beat ole legend Oscar De La Hoya, he was over the hill. Now it’s time for you to swallow the same damn pill.”

Top Rank chief Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotions boss De La Hoya acted as the emcees.

Source: mb.com.ph

Manny Pacquiao’s ambitions of power put on hold for tough date with Ricky Hatton

The streets of the Philippines will be quiet on Sunday morning as a nation sits down to watch its hero. When Manny Pacquiao boxes, nothing else is important. Crime stops, shops close, even the guns fall silent in the continuing insurgency.

Pacquiao has had a remarkable career. A man who began boxing as a light-flyweight has won four world titles and dominated in divisions right up to welterweight, in which he beat Oscar De La Hoya in December. But his life story is even better. As a boy he lived on the streets and he is seemingly destined to be his country’s president one day. In the meantime, he uses his wealth to help his countrymen.

“The Philippines has a great social welfare system and it is called Manny Pacquiao,” Bob Arum, his promoter, said. “He has easily given away $10 million and perhaps $20 million. I can’t put a figure on it, but huge amounts — hospital beds, scholarships. He is a one-man welfare system.

“Telling him to stop is like telling someone they shouldn’t pray as much. This is not p***ing money away. He is doing good with the money. Other people come up from poverty and forget everything, he hasn’t.”

Pacquiao is hero-worshipped by his countrymen. Everywhere he goes, Filipinos throng to catch a glimpse of the small man with the ever-present smile. On a promotional trip to London in March, hundreds turned out to watch him take Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

When he challenges Ricky Hatton for his Ring magazine and IBO light-welterweight titles here tomorrow night — Sunday morning in the Philippines — life will stop in his homeland, even the skirmishes between government forces and Islamic insurgents.

“The whole country will watch,” Pacquiao said. “When I fight there is no crime, no traffic, you cannot see a car outside. There is a ceasefire for one day to watch the fight.” His compatriots will see the benefit of the minimum $12 million that he will be paid. “Everyone knows what life is like in the Philippines,” Pacquiao, 30, added. “There are a lot of poor people and they need help. I want to win this fight for the Filipino people, to inspire them.”

And one day he could lead them. Next year he intends to run for Congress in his country. He ran once before, but his defeat was blamed by most people on voters fearing he would retire from boxing if elected to office. When asked if one day he will be his country’s president, he giggles. “Step by step,” he said. “I have a few fights more and that’s that.”

Pacquiao has been joined in his preparations this week by Amir Khan, who is also trained by Freddie Roach and who had come to Las Vegas to begin the camp for his challenge for Andreas Kotelnik’s WBA lightwelterweight title in London on June 27.

“Manny is looking strong, he’s in the best shape I’ve seen him,” Khan said. “Sometimes when he was training to fight Oscar, he never used to get up in the morning, he used to miss training. But he knows this is a tough fight and he’s trained a lot harder.

“I saw Ricky training the other day and he looked so strong and so quick, the best I’ve seen him for a long time. I think he can cause an upset.

“I know the odds are against him, but I think he can beat Manny. What he mustn’t do is start off slow and let Manny win the first few rounds. That would leave Ricky chasing the fight and he would then get caught with stupid shots. It’s a 50-50 fight.”

Khan said he is grateful that neither boxer has pressed him to take sides. “I’m sort of in the middle because I’m friends with both fighters, and what’s good is that Ricky hasn’t asked me what Manny’s doing in training and Manny hasn’t asked me anything about what Ricky is doing,” Khan said. “I’ve got a lot respect for them because of that.

“Both fighters are very alike. They’re both funny. They never take things seriously. They are always having a joke. But when they get in that ring, Manny is going to try and knock his head off and Ricky is going to try and do the same to him.”

Source: timesonline.co.uk

Pacquiao: My dad didn't eat my dog!

One of the more unusual stories doing the rounds in recent weeks was the tale that Manny Pacquiao took to boxing after his his father ate his dog. The tale goes that the 14-year-old Pacquiao ran away from home in General Santos City when his father killed and ate his pet, ending up in a Manila boxing gym.

But Pacquiao, 30, says the story is not true, although the poor pooch did meet an untimely end.

"I had a little dog, it got killed by a friend of my dad and then he ate it," Pacquiao said. "I was 12 years of age, it was a tough childhood."


Talking of tall tales, Hatton has denied rumours that he had to stop sparring early because of an elbow injury that required a cortisone injection. "I'm in the shape of my life," Hatton said.


Pacquiao will have a very special fan ringside for the first time on Saturday night, his mother Dionisia. "It’s the first time my mother ever comes to a fight," Pacquiao said. "It gives me even more inspiration to win. She’s scared to watch it live."

So what is the difference this time? "Confidence for this fight."

Source: timesonline


Las Vegas NV:- One of the good things about hanging out at the Media Rooms after the formal press conference is over is ending up with a scoop the others guys never got.

This afternoon, that is exactly what happened at the media room after the presscon for the undercard fighters of the Pacquiao-Hatton East Meets West battle at the MGM Garden Arena.

I was having lunch with Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin and Lee Samuels of Top Rank Promotions joined us at the table. Incidentally, we found out from Lee that the sumptuous boxed-lunch we were enjoying was provided by MGM Grand.

While we were having a conversation, Lee told us a “scoop” that he haven’t gotten a chance to tell the others because he never got to it on account of his hectic schedule.

Lee showed us his cell phone with an e-mail from Claire Murphy, the Senior Director for International Communications of the WWE.

The e-mail indicated that Dave Batista, the part Filipino wrestling star is on the plane enroute to Las Vegas from London, England .

On Saturday night, he will walk with Manny Pacquiao to the ring carrying one pf Pacquiao’s belts.

Source: philboxing.com

Pacquiao vs Hatton - Countdown

Will the Second Time Be the Charm for Hatton?

It’s been almost two years since Ricky Hatton last battled for boxing’s mythical pound for pound title against then consensus titleholder Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Next to the coming out party that was the Kostya Tszyu fight, it was the biggest fight of ‘The Hitman’s career. Fought at welterweight, seven pounds above the division where Hatton has long been the linear titleholder and is still undefeated, the Mayweather fight was the kind of nightmare no fighter wants to have. “Money” Mayweather simply had too much for Hatton; too much agility, speed, and too high of a boxing I.Q. The fight for pound for pound supremacy ended in one-sided fashion with Hatton eating a brutal hook from a sidestepping Mayweather and bouncing head first off the turnbuckle. He would rise but the fight would be quickly stopped as Mayweather pound for pounded Hatton along the ropes and to the canvas again. It was a crushing defeat for a man who had never tasted it before.

As he had following his previous effort at 147 (a tough, close win over Luis Collazo in 2006 in which Hatton claimed a version of the welterweight title), Hatton returned back to the 140-pound division where he spent his whole career.

“My last fight against Floyd was out of my weight division and my two fights at welterweight never really - didn't look comfortable for me,” says Hatton. “Going up the extra 7 pounds, even winning the world title against Collazo, I didn't - don't think I looked particularly comfortable. But, you know, [140] is my weight division. This is the weight I feel more comfortable at.”

Despite returning to a more comfortable weight, Hatton didn’t exactly return to form. He looked vulnerable and a bit worse for wear in his return to the ring against the not exactly Tysonesque power of Juan Lazcano. Hatton was rocked on several occasions in the fight and many in the industry (as well as in his own camp) began to question whether or not it was time to get out while the getting was good.

The Hitman did some questioning of his own. And after evaluating his situation (44-1 with 30 KOs and titles in two divisions), he decided there was still more to be done in the ring. But change was indeed coming as he fired long time trainer Billy Graham, the man who was with Hatton from the beginning. Graham’s deteriorating health in recent years had become a source of distraction for the easy going Hatton.

“Trainers have got to be fun and it’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed my training camps,” says Hatton, “My former training at Billy Graham Training was becoming hard work due to Billy’s health and his injuries, you know? Training became pretty difficult really because I was worried whether Billy was going to get through the training camps.”

If he was looking for fun and a new direction, Hatton couldn’t have picked more on the money in choosing Floyd Mayweather, Sr. to return him to the Promised Land.

“You know, there were too many fights that were getting so similar tactically and style-wise. I think if you look at the Collazo fight, it was like 100 mile an hour. I was trying to steamroll my opponent. I tried 100 mile an hour to steamroll Floyd. The Castillo fight my tactics would stay much the same, just get stuck in there, although that was one of my best wins. That Lazcano fight, after the Mayweather fight, - I was just trying to steamroll him as well. And I don't think there’s any real thought into the way I was fighting. And it all accumulated with the defeat by Mayweather. That made me think to myself ‘come on, Ricky, you've always been able to box. You've always had a good jab. You've always had good boxing ability. But, you know, you’re not using it any more.’ And that’s why I opted to go with Floyd Mayweather because I thought to myself ‘well, I know I can fight. You know, what’s the areas I need to work on?’ And the areas were my defense, my left jab, my head movement, my footwork, my combinations, my speed. And I think you saw the difference in the Malignaggi fight.”

A Manchester brawler/mauler being trained by the man who first taught Floyd, Jr how to punch and shoulder roll? If the match doesn’t seem made in heaven on paper, watching the two of them interact coupled with Hatton’s next performance against Paulie Malignaggi, it appears that the chemistry between these two is as solid as you’ll find. As is the case in all sports, whatever you think is helping you win, probably is.

In the Malignaggi fight, Mayweather, Sr got Hatton back to basics and re-employed a long missing weapon: the multiple jab. While his head still appeared stationary for too long at times, Hatton appeared to be going about the business of tracking down the moving Malignaggi in a more efficient and effective manner than ever before. Utilizing the jab get inside without eating too much leather and quick, educated feet to cut off the ring, Hatton doled out serious punishment to the feather fisted Malignaggi. Hatton appeared comfortable following the game plan of the self-proclaimed “greatest trainer of all time.” But the transition wasn’t as smooth as it appeared. For one, their first camp together was a short one of seven weeks. Barely enough time to develop a way of communicating much less implement every change needed in Hatton’s game.

“You know, there’s only so much you can do in seven weeks,” says Hatton. “And I think the way I performed after just seven weeks I think was a credit to me and my team and just shows you how much I've got left. To be honest, you need seven weeks sometimes just to get used to a new trainer. To be perfectly honest with you, for the first two or three weeks of that seven weeks, I couldn't understand a word Floyd was f@*#king saying. So you can imagine, you know, we have to sort of like, you know, get used to each other, get used to each other’s personality, each other’s training methods.”

The most important aspect of this retooling process was the idea that Hatton wouldn’t completely abandon what had gotten him to this point but rather tighten up the areas that had slipped over time.

“Everybody’s expecting me now I'm with Floyd Mayweather to get up on me toes, start shuffling and jabbing,” laughs Hatton. “And that’s never been Ricky Hatton. I didn't revert back to the old Ricky Hatton in the Malignaggi fight, so I certainly won't do it this time. I'm just my usual aggressive self, but just a lot more tidied up in certain areas I feel. And that’s what the Mayweather fight taught me more than anything I think. I needed to pull my socks up and stop thinking I could just run all over people.”

So now, following an extensive training camp, (“Come fight night it would have been 12 weeks of training time”), Hatton squares off yet again for the pound for pound title. This time, however the puzzle in front of him isn’t named Mayweather. It comes in the form of a 5’ 6” ½ Filipino phenom named Manny Pacquiao, an aggressive puncher/boxer with all the speed and power that a fighter could ever want. While Hatton respects his attributes and fighting style, but the Man from Manchester feels he has what it takes to negate the “Pacman’s” strengths.

“I do really believe he’s very effective at what he does,” says Hatton. “But I think he fights the same way all the time. He throws the same punches all the time. He throws a right jab, a one-two. He shuffles in and out with his feet, which obviously if you don’t get to - if you don’t get adjusted to the style of his feet obviously it could cause you problems. But I think you get adjusted to this style - I don’t see a versatile fighter in Manny Pacquiao. So I think I will have more game plans in my favor. Especially the way I’m fighting now really. I mean if you’d watched tapes maybe - I don’t know three, four, five fights ago, you could just - I could have been easy to read. But I feel I’m a lot more difficult to read now and I hope to show that.”

After debuting at 106 pounds back in 1995, Manny the “Pacman” has slowly become the biggest star to ever come out of the Philippines. Moving up through the years, Pacquiao defeated legends Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Manuel Marquez, collecting fans and title belts in four divisions along the way. Last December, he capped off a year that saw him beat Marquez in a hotly contested rematch, move up and claim a version of the lightweight crown, then hop a division on his way to a dream match/one-sided beat down at 147 over Oscar De La Hoya.

It was a banner year but in Hatton’s opinion, the De La Hoya fight was a bit of mirage. It was widely reported that De La Hoya botched his move back down to 147, making weight weeks in advance and weakening himself to the point where he was a mere shadow of his former self come fight night.

“I don't want to sound too disrespectful to my promoter, my friend Oscar de la Hoya,” begins Hatton, “but [Pacquiao] could've done the same thing hitting a punch bag that night, no disrespect to Oscar. That’s not the Oscar that we've come to love over the years. So this is a new weight division for him. He may've had one fight at 147, but trust me, this is a new weight division for him. And I feel very, very confident because I've never lost at this weight division. I've always proved too big and strong, then unlike the Mayweather fight, where there was really no real method to the madness and it made things quite easy for Floyd by going in carelessly. I'm not doing that now, I expect to perform a lot better, one, because, you know, I've got a new training camp and I'm working on different things, and two, it is in my weight division.”

One aspect of Pacquiao’s style that pundits feel will trouble Hatton is his southpaw stance.

“Well, a lot of people say I’ve struggled against southpaws,” says Hatton. “I mean, I am only putting that down to the fact that against Collazo, it was a very, very tough fight. But, again, as I keep stressing, that was up at 147. Collazo was a fast southpaw. And he was a big southpaw, hand speed. If you stuck Manny Pacquiao next to Collazo, you've got like David and Goliath. I mean, you know, so if that’s struggling, you know, I would still say more to the weight rather than the southpaw. But I just think that that Pacquiao has underestimated me full stop. They think I struggle with southpaws. If that’s their opinion, you know, don't expect me to share their enthusiasm. But if they think I struggle with southpaws and they think, you know, Manny’s going to knock me out in three rounds and, you know, brilliant, you know, brilliant. Bring it on.”

Looking back over Pacquiao’s resume, Hatton points out that Pacquiao hasn’t taken on a come forward, all-pressure, all-the-time type of fighter like himself. That knowledge is what fuels Hatton now as he powers down training and gets ready to get at Pacquiao this Saturday night.

“I think Marquez is very patient, a safety first fighter,” he explains. “I think Marco Antonio Barrera is a boxer who tried to box on the move. What I’m basically getting at is I don’t think Manny has fought anybody as fiery, as ferocious, as rough and certainly not as big and as strong as Ricky Hatton. There’s one thing that comes to mind is Ricky Hatton is a handful, he’s all over you. He’s an absolute handful. And I’m using a left jab hand, movement, and hand speed as well now. There’s no doubt in my mind who’s going to win this fight. I’ve never been more certain, I’ve never been more confident.”

Whether he boxes a lot, a little, or just enough, Hatton is certain of one thing: this fight is not going the distance.

“I don’t see it being a distance fight,” says Hatton. “One, because Manny doesn’t fight like he claims to go the distance. In fairness Manny goes for the knockout, I go for the knockout. But I think Manny is not the most elusive. You know I think he’s there, and sometimes he’s a southpaw and when he comes - very square on, he puts himself in the pocket so if there’s a hit, it comes square on. He likes to engage in a fight, which obviously anyone who engages in a fight there’s obviously dangers for me and I am aware of that. But if he engages and wants to have a fight with me, I do strongly believe he will come second best.”

With everything on the line and his new techniques and tactics in place, all that is left is winning the fight. For Hatton, this isn’t just about beating a big name. This isn’t just defending his title. This fight is about something you can’t touch or put around your waste. This is for pound for pound supremacy.

“If I perform like I did [against Mayweather, Jr],” confesses Hatton, “I'll get beat again. I mean you'd have to be stupid to say that it’s not the most important fight. Of course it is. It’s for the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world title. Everyone’s goal is to become the world champion the first day you lace a boxing glove on. But beat the pound-for-pound number one? You’re beating the best fighter in all weight divisions. A boxer cannot go any higher than that. So it’s the biggest fight of my career.”

Source: maxboxing.com

Roach, Mayweather Sr. in war of words

LAS VEGAS -- Respectfully. That is how junior welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao have conducted themselves toward each other during the buildup to their super fight.

Their trainers? Not so much.

While Hatton and Pacquiao, who is gunning for a world title in a record-tying sixth weight class, will meet in the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) in a much-anticipated showdown, Hatton's trainer, the irrepressible Floyd Mayweather Sr., and Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach sound as if they are getting ready to throw down in an undercard fight.

They even did a traditional staredown and posed together à la the main event after Wednesday's final news conference, much to the delight of the media.

Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), who demolished former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in a November title defense, and Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs), who sent Oscar De La Hoya into retirement with a December pummeling in a welterweight fight, are the kinds of fighters who like to let their fists do the talking inside the ring. They are confident that they will win and don't spend time before the fight making disparaging remarks about their opponents.

Mayweather and Roach, however, have been at each other throughout the promotion. From the kickoff news conferences in Hatton's native England to their weekly comments about each other during HBO's "24/7" series, there's been just as much talk about Roach vs. Mayweather as there has been about Hatton vs. Pacquiao.

"Freddie 'The Joke Coach' Roach. That's what I think he is. He's a joke of a coach," Mayweather said, repeating for the umpteenth time his nickname for Roach.

Although Roach is typically far more laid back than Mayweather, he has also gotten into the act.

"A lot of people ask me if I'm worried about Manny fighting Hatton since Hatton has never lost a fight at 140 pounds," Roach said. "As long as Floyd Mayweather is in Hatton's corner, I have absolutely no concerns. It's not like his brother Roger is training him. Floyd training Hatton for this fight is our biggest advantage."

With the fighters taking the high road, trainers bashing each other will have to do. They've given the media all kinds of tasty and inflammatory quotes.

Mayweather has disrespected Roach ever since De La Hoya parted ways with Mayweather to go with Roach for his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2007.

"Who has he really worked with," Mayweather said of Roach. "He had a lot of big fighters, but he hasn't done anything with them. What has he done with them? He got one man in his court; it's Pacquiao. Who else do you know that he got that he's done something with? And what fighter has he made? I made my son, and who has he made? He hasn't made anybody. Explain it? That's all I can tell you, man; the guy ain't made anybody. Simple."

Roach's response?

"My first champion, Virgil Hill, I started him out from his first pro fight," Roach said of one of his numerous champions. "I mean, I've made a lot of good fighters out there. He made his son through birth, but Roger [Mayweather, Floyd Sr.'s brother] made him as a fighter. So, it doesn't bother me."

De La Hoya, who worked with Mayweather for several years and with Roach for one fight, said they're both good trainers, although when asked to pick one over the other, he went with Mayweather.

"Both of them will get you in tip-top shape," said De La Hoya, whose company, Golden Boy, promotes Hatton and is co-promoting the fight with Top Rank. "They'll train you, they'll make you run many miles, they'll make sure you're in the best shape of your life for that fight. The difference with Freddie and Mayweather is, I think, Mayweather is more technically sound when it comes to using different combinations with the mitt work. Freddie, he'll have you throw combinations, but it's a repeated combination over and over and over. The strategy really isn't 100 percent.

"I love Freddie Roach to death, I really do. Nothing personal to him, but from my experience, Floyd really had me at the top of my game."

When the promoters put Roach and Mayweather on a recent teleconference with the media to discuss the fight, they knew what they were doing. They knew they would get a lot of jawing back and forth between them, and they were right.

When one reporter asked who the better fighter was, since both boxed professionally before becoming trainers, Mayweather spoke up quickly.

"I most definitely was the better fighter than Freddie Roach. As a matter of fact, I've got a poster down at the gym where Freddie's on my undercard," Mayweather said.

Said Roach, "Well, you know what, I tried really hard. I fought on TV a lot more than him. I was a lot more popular than him."

Then they got into it.

Mayweather: "You were a bum."

Roach: "You know, his brother [Roger] was a great fighter, but he lost to my fighter Marlon Starling twice. He got his ass kicked twice. So, how good was he? He was OK."

Mayweather: "You weren't OK. You were a bum."

Roach: "So you think."

Mayweather: "You got whopped so much, Freddie. Come on, Freddie."

Roach: "You're the expert. Hey, Floyd, can I ask you a question?"

Mayweather: "Yes, sir."

Roach: "When I get presented the [2008] trainer of the year award [in June], I want you to present that to me this year because that's as close as you'll get to it."

Mayweather: "We're gonna see about that, Freddie. We'll see about that."

Roach: "I'd like for you to do that."

Mayweather: "And what are you going to do when I win it, Freddie?"

Roach: "I've won it three times. You've never won it. You're not going to win it ever."

While Roach seems genuinely peeved by Mayweather's putdowns, Mayweather seems to have a bit of a glint in his eye when he talks smack.

"It's not animosity, man," Mayweather said. "I'm having fun, whether you believe it or not. I'm having fun with this. I'm not afraid of Freddie at all or anything. I'm having fun with this.

"This is a build-up. That's all it is, man, to me. Everybody wants their fighter to win. But with me it's talking. Even if you look back with [Muhammad] Ali when he was doing his thing, everything is a build-up, man. Some guys get in each other's faces and never get out of each other's. But this is something with me. I'm having fun with this. I mean, I'm looking to win the fight and I'm sincere about winning the fight but as far as me, the animosity and the bad talk, I don't have nothing against Freddie right now. When this fight's over, me and Freddie can still shake hands and hug and you know. I don't have nothing against Freddie. I really think Freddie's a nice guy, but right now, this is warfare and I'm looking forward to my man winning, and I'm gonna do whatever it takes for him to win."

Roach made fun of Mayweather's stint in jail. Mayweather mocked Roach for being manhandled once in a sparring session by Roger Mayweather. The trainers have praised the other man's fighter, just not each other.

"I think Manny's a very good fighter," Mayweather said. "I think he can be a much better fighter, though, under different circumstances. But Manny's a very good fighter. I can't take anything away from Manny. I can think of a lot more things he can do that's he's not doing. So, you'll have to take that up with his trainer."

Real or manufactured, the Roach-Mayweather battle is good for the promotion, according to De La Hoya.

"It's huge. It's priceless because you're not going to get Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao talking bad about each other," De La Hoya said. "You're going to get some great action inside the ring, but people have to know about the fight, and we can do that through Floyd Sr. and Freddie Roach. Apparently, it's become a Floyd Sr.-Freddie Roach circus, but at the end of Saturday night, we'll see the bear and lion going inside the ring and duke it out."

But Saturday night isn't here just yet, so the trainers are still battling:

Mayweather: "My man's ready, and I know Freddie 'The Joke Coach' Roach is scared right now."

Roach: "Oh, he is?"

Mayweather: "And he's probably going to go crawl up in some hole somewhere."

Roach: "Enough with this dueling, man. It's old."

Mayweather: "It's the truth, man. You the Roach. … You see me come [Saturday] so we can fight. You understand me?"

Roach: "You want me come get me? You know where I live."

Mayweather: "I've got you, Freddie."

On and on it goes.

Source: espn.go.com

Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao electrify Las Vegas

But the smiles will be replaced by grimaces come the first bell. “Manny goes for the knockout, I go for the knockout,” Hatton said, before turning on those who believe that the Mancunian cannot win against the Filipino who is regarded as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. “They said I was an over-hyped, over-protected, beer-drinking Englishman, but I’m here to shock the world again.”

Pacquiao’s response? “I never hate my opponent, and I have no fear in this fight. We will be firm friends after the fight, and I’d like a rematch at darts, too.”

Americans are coming to terms with a certain singularity: that the biggest fights in their country at present involve men who require a stamp in their passport to ply their trade in the world’s fight capital, following the retirement, two weeks ago, of their leading boxer, Oscar De La Hoya.

His mega-fights brought in just short of $700 million (£474 million) but after his capitulation – at the blurred hands of Pacquiao last December – there is nary an American fighter in sight with a comparable level of appeal.

In the case of this promotion, the lights of the Mojave Desert’s neon strip, dulled by the recession, have been relit by Hatton v Pacquiao, as both bring with them a huge following. One million pay-per-view buys (at almost £40 each) are expected to be sold in the US for this fight – the record is 2.4 million buys for De La Hoya v Floyd Mayweather in 2007 – while in the UK, Sky executives are optimistic of more than 700,000 buys.

The MGM Grand Garden Arena here has long since sold out its 14,000 seats. The gate will bring in $9 million (£6 million), while the promotion, overall, is expected to bring in £40 million.

Ringside seats will be resold for thousands of dollars. To cater for extra demand, closed circuit screens having been set up at seven other casinos along the strip, with seat tickets priced at $50. Such is the demand for the two most popular fighters in the world, seats were always going to be at a premium. Fans float like ghosts around the lobby of the MGM Grand, looking for that golden ticket.

Pacquiao is followed by an entire nation and the Philippines will grind to a halt when the two little men with huge hearts stage their electric dance. When the two men opened formal proceedings this week, known as 'The Grand Arrival’, the supporters turned out in force.

It was no surprise that a group of 6ft 10ins tall Filipinos in tracksuits – the Philippines men’s basketball team – and no fewer than 27 Filipino politicians, ministers and senators, had gathered, with hundreds of well-wishers, for the arrival of Pacquiao at his base at the Mandalay Bay Resort yesterday.

No one could confirm whether there were actually any 'summit talks’ scheduled between the Filipino politicians and their American counterparts. Nor indeed, does it transpire, that the basketball team have a single match scheduled on their 'tour’. This is Hatton-mania v Pac-mania. Sin City is beginning to hum with debate in the taverns. Bookies run a brisk trade.

High up in Pacquiao’s giant suite last night – to which The Daily Telegraph gained exclusive access – an entourage of 30 Filipinos enjoyed animated discussion, while Pacquiao watched Bruce Lee movies, his eyes darting at the action, before rising to his feet to enact the moves. Not a bad way of psyching himself up.

Hatton employs a converse method, slowly building his animosity for fight time towards his opponent.

Only these two men know the deep dark places they will need to take themselves in the last two days before they meet in the ring, while those around them fill the fighters with the certainty that victory will be theirs.

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ode-blooded rivalry

All kidding aside, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton was able to keep his humor at bay during today’s final presser held at the MGM—long enough to promise the press that he was going to prove ‘em wrong in his fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao wasn’t so successful, for during a face-off, the only profile boxing’s pound-for-pound king showed, was his humorous side. Unable to keep a straight face, Pacquiao broke out laughing.

Others broke out in poetry.

Proclaiming Saturday night’s mega-showdown between Pacquiao and Hatton to something “more than a prize fight,” Top Rank boss Bob Arum read from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Ballad of East and West”—the source of inspiration for Saturday night’s entitled showdown, “The Battle of East and West.”

Read Arum:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

By the time the podium was occupied by Floyd Mayweather, Sr., however, literature had been reduced to . . . well, something else.

Spoke Mayweather:

I am being for real and saying what I feel,
This is the truest quote that I ever wrote,
From the first to the last note,
Hey Pac,
Its over, so quit wishing on a four leaf clover,
You got a choice to make,
You're at the cross roads,
You gotta make up your mind,
You can go right or you can go left,
And you can't depend on nobody else,
We need to do what we need to do
It ain't personal between me and you,
Come May 2nd, you will be uncrowned with your head hanging down,
The pain and stress left to confess that the Hitman's the best,
So lets make it simple and plain after this fight, Pac will never be the same,
It ain’t no diggity it aint no doubt, Pac's gonna find out what its all about,
When he beat the ole legend Oscar de la Hoya,
He was over the hill,
Now its time for you to swallow the same damn pill,
So get your tickets now peoples-and lets make it clear,
That the Pacman ass woopin is almost here,
It aint no secret and I hope you know,
The Hitman Hatton by KO!

Hatton, on the other hand, was on the serious side. Though he did not predict a knockout over Pacquiao, he did predict a win.

“I think you have all made your mind up already,” said Hatton. “I have been reading what you have been saying and what everyone has been saying. That doesn't scare me. I have been here before. I have been the underdog before.

"I hear what you say. 'He is an over-hyped, over-protected, fat beer drinking Englishman.

“But guess what? That ‘he’ is going to shock the world again.”

Hatton compared the fight to his one six years ago with Kostya Tszyu.

“I was the underdog then and look what happened . . . It doesn't scare me being in this position.”

Pacquiao’s words were few. Stating his readiness, he promised that he would do his best to honor his country.

“I respect Ricky Hatton,” said Pacquiao. “He is a good person. He is a nice guy and I would like to remind everyone that there is nothing personal for this fight and we are just doing our job to give a good fight to the people and make them happy.”

Following suit, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was just as pithy in his choice of words, saying only that he had the best fighter who was in the greatest shape of his life.

And: "I've been telling Manny all along that I will be disappointed if the fight goes longer than three rounds."

In a cheerful mood, Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy, cracked a couple of jokes – and took Mayweather’s jibe of being “over the hill” when he fought Pacquiao, with a good-natured laugh.

De La Hoya also promised the media that the fight would exceed all expectations Saturday night.

“People want to watch this fight not because of the fighters' abilities, not because they can fight and have come to give fans an exciting fight, but because of respect. People respect what Pacquiao and Hatton can do in the ring.

"That's why people are going to watch this fight, because they respect both of these fighters and they know they are going to see a great great match.”

Source: fightnews.com

Pacquiao vs Hatton - Final Press Conference

Rumour mill in high gear as Hatton-Pacquiao showdown draws near

It has taken longer than usual before a big fight in Vegas, but the rumours have started leaking ahead of Ricky Hatton's meeting with Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night.

Rumour 1) Hatton finished his sparring on Wednesday of last week, two days earlier than usual, not because he and his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr, were happy they could not make him any sharper but because he had to have a cortisone injection in his left elbow.

Hatton shot that one down. He said he's never been fitter before a fight. While he nearly always says that, I could find no confirmation of the story, and he did not appear at all uncomfortable when he met the British press on Monday night. He was alert, relaxed, confident and slim.

"I gave the sparring partners a right hiding," he says. "That's the way you want it to be in your last session. Normally we'd do our last session on the Friday but we didn't need to. There's only one way you can go when you've got it just right, and that's backwards."

Rumour 2) This one is harder to pin down or stand up: Mayweather Sr is seriously put out by the way some members of the entourage are treating him. They ignore him in the gym and, generally, leave him out of the loop.

The story goes that when they went to Los Angeles for a press conference last week, they did not tell him they were staying overnight and he consequently did not bring with him the medication he needs for his debilitating chest condition. Instead, he turned up in his suit, with no change of clothes, and someone had to rush to a drugstore to get his medicine.

If Mayweather, a fiercely proud but vulnerable man, is put out, this might explain a story in the Daily Mirror this week, which quoted him as saying, "I taught Ricky to box. Ricky didn't know anything when I started with him. He had brute strength, that was it. When I first went down to England to see him, you know, it was horrendous. But you look at him today, he's totally different." This, of course, contradicted his earlier view that, "Ricky could win this fight without me. But he has a much better chance with me."

It also does not quite fit with Hatton's take on his development. "I always had a good jab," he says. "I always had good boxing ability, I always had great footwork but I think that certainly in the past five or six years, I haven't used them properly."

Rumour 3) Billy Graham, whom Hatton sacked as his trainer before the Paul Malignaggi fight, is going through with his threat to sue the fighter for 10% of his earnings in the 10 years he was with him. That cut might be as high as £3m. Graham will remember that Kevin Rooney successfully sued Mike Tyson for a similar amount. Whatever, it's sad to hear Graham tell the Sun: "It's been a fairytale and the fairytale has now been ruined. For me it has, anyway. I loved him."

The truth of that story will be tested in the most public forum, the courts.

It might explain, also, Hatton's continued references to the good times with Graham. He peppers nearly every discussion about his switch to Mayweather Sr with phrases such as "Don't get me wrong, what Billy and me had was special." He refers time and again to Graham's failing health and inability to stand up to the rigours of training. What then, of Mayweather, who looks and talks like a man half his age but inside is struggling with lungs that cause him serious pain?

Rumour 4) Hatton was rocked a few times by sparring partners in the early part of his preparation in Las Vegas. Well, what can you say? To buy into this you have to believe that boxing is a no-risk business where the main man gets to throw all the punches, with none coming back. Fighters invariably take a shot or two getting ready for a fight. What the rumour didn't add was that Hatton held the shots.


Ricky Hatton 'delighted' to be odds-on to be knocked out against Manny Pacquiao

Ricky Hatton says he is "delighted" to have been installed as odds-on to be knocked out in his sold-out 140 lb 'super fight' against Filipino Manny Pacquiao here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.

"I love it. Love it," Hatton said. "The way people are talking about Manny, you'd think he should be fighting Godzilla. As good a fighter as Manny is, I think he is being judged on his performance against Oscar De La Hoya [who quit on his stool after eight rounds last December], but if I had fought Oscar, I would have knocked him out quicker. Oscar was a shell of himself, and has said he felt 'lifeless' and wanted Manny to knock him out to end it all. Manny didn't have the power to knock him out."
Hatton also intimated that cuts – and both fighters have suffered from cuts in their careers – "could play a part in the outcome of the fight", and that he has seen Pacquiao "flap" when cut.

Hatton is adamant that he has all the tools to beat, at the second attempt, the No 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world. His only career defeat was to Floyd Mayweather Jnr, then pound-for-pound No 1, in Dec 2008.

"Under my new trainer Floyd [Mayweather Snr] we scraped the surface in the Paulie Malignaggi fight last November," Hatton said.

"The defeat to Mayweather humbled me. I thought I could go in there and just bulldoze opponents. I can't steamroll people at this level. I needed to get knocked on my backside to see that my style needed to change.

"I'm not suddenly a defensive master, but I'm more polished. If I fight Manny the way I fought Floyd Mayweather, he'll beat me. I made it easy for Floyd. It won't be easy for Manny. I feel it in my bones that this one is mine."

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton: A matchup with global appeal

PHILADELPHIA — There likely won’t be anyone chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in America’s living rooms or in the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas during Saturday night’s pay-per-view matchup of junior welterweights Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.

Welcome to professional boxing’s new global reality, in which these United States are becoming a nice place for the sport’s bigger names to visit, but less frequently is their country of origin.

Nonetheless, the arena will be filled to capacity and, if projections are met, this 12-round pairing of Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs), a Filipino, and Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), an Englishman, will hit the one million-buy mark in the United States. That surely would qualify as a grand slam in a post-Oscar De La Hoya landscape in which the international economy is something less than robust.

De La Hoya’s recent retirement as an active boxer was not unexpected, given the diminishing returns of his career in recent years. But even in decline he was truly the "Golden Boy," with his every PPV appearance a veritable license to print money. De La Hoya’s May 5, 2007, bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which Mayweather won by split decision, is No. 1 all-time with 2.4 million buys.

"He was the ATM of boxing," boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar said of De La Hoya, noting that the East Los Angeles native’s likely final bout, an eight-round beatdown by Pacquiao on Dec. 6, did a very healthy 1.25 million buys even though the now-36-year-old Oscar had lost three of his previous six fights.

Hatton probably is best known on these shores for his only defeat, by 10th-round technical knockout to Mayweather on Dec. 8, 2007, but he is, like Pacquiao, an action fighter who delivers lots of bang for the buck, or the pound sterling. Few British fighters ever have been as popular in the UK as is Hatton, and his willingness to cross the pond signals his eagerness to expand his base.

"I was supposed to be this overhyped, overprotected guy who only wanted to stay in Manchester (England)," Hatton said. "It would have been very easy to stay in the safety zone of my hometown. Everyone should come to you when you’re No. 1 in your division, but I wanted to prove to critics I didn’t need to stay in my comfort zone."

Whoever wins this war of willing 140-pounders — "Manny goes for the knockout; I go for the knockout," Hatton pronounced — will emerge as an even more appealing global attraction, which is good and even necessary given the dearth of American fighters who can make even a semi-valid case for superstardom.

It isn’t just the heavyweight division, the upper tier of which is dominated by Eastern Europeans. Take De La Hoya out of the mix and boxing’s immediate future largely is in the clenched fists of foreign guys like Pacquiao, Hatton and the Ukraine’s Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, who need to have their passports stamped to ply their trade in a nation whose pugilistic affections for the most part are usually reserved for native sons.

With a live gate of $9 million already assured, and a relatively reasonable PPV price of $49.95 (down from a $54.95 sticker price for De La Hoya-Pacquiao), it wouldn’t be a shock for Pacquiao-Hatton to crack the increasingly exclusive seven-figure buy club. My guess is that it surpasses the 915,000 buys for Mayweather-Hatton and falls short of Oscar-Manny.

But if the licks are traded hard and fast, as I expect they will be, American fans without Old Glory to wave will come back for more because an adopted hero is better than none at all.

Source: bostonherald.com

Can Pacquiao-Hatton Reach the Magic Mark?

With the retirement of Oscar De La Hoya, the business of boxing has a huge void; not necessarily from a fighting standpoint - long before he was bludgeoned into retirement by Manny Pacquiao in December, De La Hoya had been a declining, part-time fighter for several years - but the industry lost its pay-per-view clean-up hitter. His last two pay-per-view outings, both losing efforts, garnered 2.5 million and 1.25 million purchases.

He retired as the game’s all-time pay-per-view king, generating over 14.1 million buys and nearly $700 million in revenue throughout the course of his career on HBO Pay-Per-View.

This Saturday night from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the biggest event of 2009 takes place when Pacquiao faces Ricky Hatton for the jr. welterweight championship of the world. Pacquiao has become an international figure and Hatton comes with his own sizable fanbase from England. So the question is, can either of these men fill the vacuum left by 'the Golden Boy', and can this event tally over a million buys, a magical mark that has only been reached a few times when either De La Hoya or heavyweights like Tyson and Holyfield were involved.

"Oh, yeah, we're going to well exceed that," said an effusive Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, last Tuesday. "I'm telling you, De La Hoya-Pacquiao never sold out and never came close to selling out. This fight, you cannot buy a ticket, everything is sold."

On this day, Arum was in San Francisco on his way to the home of the Giants, AT&T Park, where Pacquiao was met by an overwhelming reception by a huge throng of his fans on Filipino Heritage Night on April 21st. A sell-out crowd would arrive, and commemorative bobbleheads of 'the Pac Man' quickly ran out.

"So it begins to tell you something," said Arum. "There's a much bigger buzz than there was on De La Hoya-Pacquiao. "This seems counter-intuitive since De La Hoya was involved. How could this be? Because everyone was convinced that it was another De La Hoya opportunity to make money and he was fighting a guy that had no chance," opined Arum.

The veteran promoter believes that because of his dominance over De La Hoya, Pacquiao now transcends the Philippines. And with Hatton being the biggest draw in Europe, that worldwide, this promotion carries more weight.

"Globally, it's way bigger. Pacquiao is not the same Pacquiao. Pacquiao has become an international star, an internationally known person," said Arum, citing the fact that Pacquiao was nominated by Time Magazine as one of the most 100 influential people in the world. "I mean, where else do you have CNN doing an hour show on a fighter? Well, he's not just a fighter."

Arum's counterpart at Golden Boy Promotions, Richard Schaefer is a bit more cautious.

“The magical one million number has only been reached by a handful of fighters with Oscar being the one in the last few years. Short of Oscar, you didn't really have any other fighter, period, who, on his own, reached a million homes. So Oscar worked hard on building up to be able to break that million mark, and I think a million for any card which doesn't have a De La Hoya on it, it's just a very, very tall order," said the Swiss banker, who believes that the current economy will have no real bearing on the performance of Pacquiao-Hatton.

Schaefer believes that expectations shouldn't be out of kilter with reality, adding, "In today's boxing world, breaking a half-million homes, in my opinion, is a mega-event, and breaking 750,000 homes, you're pretty much breaking into the top 20 or 30 or so, all-time. Breaking a million homes, the air gets even thinner. But I just want to say, if you have 500,000 homes, that's $25 million, gross revenue, just from the pay-per-view alone and you add the gate and the foreign and the sponsors and all these other revenues, you're having a $45 million night or more. That, in my opinion, is a success for ANY sporting event. So we need to be careful - and when I say we, I mean the media, the promoters, the fighters - not to set our goals, our expectations, at unrealistic levels.

"But having said all of that, I have to admit, I look at the signs and I compare the gate, how early people are buying closed-circuit seats in Las Vegas, which usually only happens in big events. So when you start seeing 2,000 closed-circuit seats sold, now when you see the gate sold out, when you see the kind of promotion, billboards everywhere, you see the kind of buzz with 24/7. You look at all these indicators, I sure hope we are going to break a million homes."

The total live gate for this week’s fight is approximately $9 million (to put that into comparison, De La Hoya-Mayweather, which was the most lucrative pay-per-view ever, had a record-setting gate of around $18 million). Judging by the reception that both fighters received on Tuesday afternoon for their grand arrivals to the MGM Grand, there is certainly a buzz that hasn't been felt for quite awhile in Las Vegas, which has learned the hard way that it is anything but 'recession-proof'.

They have dubbed this promotion, 'The Battle of East and West'. But that may be the problem, as neither Pacquiao nor Hatton hails from the United States. And while they bring a strong constituency with them to the dance, they don't have the crossover appeal of De La Hoya, who seemed to magnetically pull females and casual fans to his events en masse.

Most industry insiders believe that Pacquiao-De La Hoya will do in the neighborhood of 600-700,000 buys domestically.

Mark Taffet of HBO Pay-Per-View told Maxboxing, via email, "There are a lot of excellent PPV fights which generate 300,000-400,000 buys. But very few fights generate 500,000 or more buys and become true megafights. Pacquiao-Hatton has a lot of great things going for it which makes it a true PPV megafight. It's the first megafight in the post-De La Hoya era, so there is a lot attention focused on the event. Both Pacquiao and Hatton have participated in a PPV megafight already, with 2008's DLH-Pacquiao generating 1.25 million buys and 2007's Mayweather-Hatton fight generating 915,000 buys. Each of these fighters enjoys a strong connection to their fans and both are appearing in their second 24/7 series. There hasn't been a PPV megafight since December's DLH-Pacquiao, so there is a real pent-up demand with consumers."

Taffet's last point is important, as unlike the past several years, there has not been an over-abundance of 'major' pay-per-view events; in fact, this is HBO Pay-Per-View's first foray of 2009. Also, Pacquiao-Hatton has a very good chance of becoming a slugfest. On the downside, there is backlash from many fans against purchasing any pay-per-view events (which can range from merely not buying the event and/or watching an illegal internet feed). Not helping the cause is that the undercard, well, let's just say it doesn't have any bouts on the level of Simon Brown-Maurice Blocker or Azumah Nelson-Jeff Fenech. (But the belief is that while the hard-core fans care about the lead-up bouts, pay-per-view sales are driven by the main event. Remember, Butterbean and Mia St. John were featured on many De La Hoya undercards in the late 90's by Arum with seemingly no negative effect.)

"I know Arum is telling people it's going to break the all-time record and I think it's good, you try to shoot for the stars," said Schaefer. "But at the same time, I always want to be realistic."

Well, c'mon, Arum would never engage in hyperbole. That's just not his style.

Source: maxboxing.com

Hatton 'enjoys best form of life'

Ricky Hatton says he is in the best form of his life ahead of the light-welterweight super-fight against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas this weekend.

The 30-year-old believes trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr has turned him into a more technically proficient fighter.

Hatton is still undefeated in the 10-stone division, his only loss coming at 10.5 stones against Floyd Mayweather Jr in December 2007.

"This is the best Ricky Hatton's ever been," said the Manchester boxer.
"I haven't lost too many rounds at junior welterweight, never mind fights, because I've been too strong."

Bookmakers have made Hatton the underdog at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, with Pacquiao, 30, considered to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, predicted to win.
But Hatton believes his superior strength and new-found technical skills will prove too much for his Filipino opponent in the early hours of Sunday morning, UK time.

"It's not just about 'the strongest man wins' in a boxing match," he stated. "Other elements come into it, technical things, the game plan, things like that.
"Technically I was back to my best in my last fight [an 11th-round knockout against Paulie Malignaggi in November 2008] and that was after only seven weeks with my new team.

"I think the difference between my last training camp and this one is night and day, technically."

Hatton revealed his defeat by Mayweather, the only loss in his 43-fight career, made him reconsider his approach to boxing.

"In years gone by I'd always shown in glimpses I had a good jab and boxing ability but in too many fights I hadn't been showing it," he conceded.

"In all my fights I thought I was just going to roll over every one.

"Obviously when I fought Floyd Jr he humbled me and showed me that I'd better go back to basics, even though that fight was at 147 pounds. It showed me that you can't steamroll everyone."

Mayweather's father took charge of Hatton's win over Malignaggi, introducing more technical elements to his style.

Although Hatton said his new trainer has helped turn him into a more rounded boxer, he insisted he still has the instincts that earned him 32 knockout victories.

He said: "I am a pressure fighter. You couldn't say for the Malignaggi fight that I resorted back to the old Ricky Hatton.

"Everybody thinks because of my new trainer that I've turned into this twinkled-toed jab-and-move boxer. I haven't.

"I'm still aggressive, I'm still a body puncher, still as ferocious as ever; technically, I've just peaked it here and there, jabbing more, moving more, setting my attacks up.

"Everybody is saying I'll resort back but resort back to what? I don't think I've changed a great deal, I'm just more polished in certain areas."

Source: bbc.co.uk

Ex-Hatton prey sees a triumph for Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines – Former world champion Paulie Malignaggi, one of the 45 victims of junior welterweight king Ricky Hatton, expressed belief his tormentor will no longer be the boss at 140-lbs after his showdown with pound for pound superstar Manny Pacquiao.

Malignaggi, who lost to Hatton via an 11th round TKO last year, told Examiner.com that he sees a Pacquiao victory considering the Mancunian’s come-forward nature, which he said would leave him vulnerable to the Filipino icon’s thunderous right hooks.

He also laughed off Hatton’s claim that he’s tremendously improved in all aspects, including defense, under the tutelage of trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr., and that he would be the more complete fighter come fight night.

“Sure, Ricky is looking great in the gym, hitting the pads with Mayweather. Hitting the pads is one thing and hitting the very improved Pacquiao is another. I don’t think there will be a big difference in the ring with Hatton despite Mayweather’s gym work," he said.

“Hatton still likes to jump and in out and when he does he will get hit by those awesome right hooks that Pacquiao throws. Not many southpaws can throw those type of powerful and speedy right hooks but Pacquiao does. If anyone is the improving and improved fighter of the two, it’s Manny and not Ricky," he added.

Malignaggi stressed he’s not being bitter to a former tormentor, whose whole family treated him well when they fought in Britain last year, but was only stating his objective views.

And in his prognosis, Pacquiao’s right hooks will bring about Hatton’s doom.

“Definitely that’s a big danger for Ricky in there. Manny throws so many of them and they come up the middle and then they come from around the side," he said.

Mayweather’s teachings and all, Malignaggi expects Hatton to revert back to his usual slugger’s style during the fight.

“They keep harping on the same old things about Ricky but Hatton will be Hatton once Manny clips him good and then the punches will come in bunches," he said.

Like the rest of the world, Malignaggi will be an interested viewer when Pacquiao and Hatton duke it out in their “Battle of East and West" title showdown this Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).

Source: gmanews.tv

Pacquiao like Ali — Arum

LAS VEGAS — Pardon Bob Arum for playing the role of carnival barker to the hilt.

While anything he says will not make any more difference in hyping up this Saturday’s big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, the seventy-something Harvard-educated lawyer could not help but express his amazement over the media and public turnout during the Filipino’s arrival Tuesday afternoon at Mandalay Bay.

“These people just want a piece of him. They want to touch him and I’ve seen this before with (Muhammad) Ali years and years ago. This is the same type of reaction,” Arum told a group of Manila-based scribes.

“Manny has taken the place of the most popular fighter in the world. He has crossed over and he is now the face of boxing.”

Although Pacquiao had landed in Sin City the night before from Los Angeles, Arum wanted to play it even more so the papers and all the media get to cover him from all angles.

And that’s just what happened as soon as Pacquiao emerged from the customized bus that brought some members of his team, friends and followers here from Hollywood Monday night.

The media crush was so overwhelming that earlier plans to accommodate a few interviews at the entrance were aborted due to the mob scene.

Source: mb.com.ph

Biggest crowd ever greets Pacman

LAS VEGAS -- Even Manny Pacquiao was surprised by the warm reception he got during his grand arrival Tuesday noon at the Mandalay Bay here.

As soon as he emerged from the 56-seater luxury bus painted with his image, a swarm of television crew and print photographers plus around 300 fans greeted the Filipino ring icon at the hotel lobby, prompting him to continue walking to the revolving door.

As security personnel tried to ward off people, Pacquiao continued walking, arm-in-arm with Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum.

Pacquiao and his entourage, including her mother Dionesia, chief trainer Freddie Roach, assistant trainer Moorer, Chavit Singson and Wakee Salud, headed near the casino, then proceeded to the elevators en route to his suite.

Pacquiao said he was “surprised so many people turned out.”

“It’s bigger than the (Oscar) De La Hoya one,” referring to his grand arrival for their blockbuster welterweight showdown last December.

Pacquiao, clad in khaki slacks, a dark coat and Kangol cap, said he was ready to do battle with Hatton.

Having reached ideal form, Pacquiao only did early morning running at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas track oval and then sweated it out at the IBA Gym late afternoon.

Under the supervision of conditioning coach Alex Ariza, Pacquiao concentrated on fast twitch muscles drills, designed to enhance his speed without losing power.

Later, Roach guided Pacquiao through his routine—shadow sparring, punching mitts, hitting speed balls, skipping —as they mopped up the plans and strategies to be employed against Ricky Hatton when they clash on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) for the Briton's International Boxing Organization light welterweight crown.

Source: sports.inquirer.net

Hatton-Pacquiao predictions

Source: ringtv.com

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

‘Pac-Mom’ makes first U.S. visit to see her son fight

The situation has played out so many times before in his native Philippines that Manny Pacquiao was nearly unfazed when it occurred Tuesday afternoon in the United States.

But nothing could have prepped Pacquiao’s guest of honor for the mob scene that spilled out at Mandalay Bay.

While all the attention and excitement was strictly reserved for the pound-for-pound king, Pacquiao’s mother, Dionisia Pacquiao, couldn’t avoid the swaying sea of humanity that engulfed her son.

“I was started to fill sick,” Dionisia said of the crush of fans and media members who caved in on the “Pac-Man’s” entourage as it exited the touring bus for his grand entrance for Saturday’s megafight against Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand.

“I’m so happy to be here and so proud of my son,” said Dionisia, who only hours earlier touched down in America for the first time ever. “Everything here is so big and the lights are so very bright.”

Her sentiment grew as about 200 fans filled the cramped lobby area of Mandalay Bay, the hotel Pacquiao stayed in for his first Las Vegas fight and has superstitiously requested ever since.

Many in the congregation, like the large media contingent, shot photos and video. A few boxing fans were hoping Pacquiao might autograph a glove or program (no chance, he could barely breathe), but the majority wanted to get as close as possible, possibly even touch the man himself — creating the real cog in the rolling traffic jam.

But Pacquiao kept on walking.

He quickly moved past a small group of fans from Las Vegas who were holding an oversized sign that read “Pac-Man” emblazoned with a photo of the classic video game icon.

“I just love what he represents,” said Christian Bermudez, who was born in the Philipines but grew up in Los Angeles.

“I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s just such a humble guy. He really brings hope and inspiration to so many Filipinos because they see characteristics of themselves within him.”

As the game plan for talking to media members instantly imploded because of the mass of people, Pacquiao took a quick detour.

He strolled past a couple of small children in strollers, who luckily were not injured as the scene shifted inside the casino.

Pacquiao made another slow turn behind the gallery of cameramen now resembling paparazzi, which every few feet had to turn and run to get back in front of the fighter.

But Pacquiao marched on, arm-in-arm with Top Rank Chief Bob Arum, who looked a lot less pleased with the suffocating situation than his prized pugilist.

“We’re gonna have to quit doing these arrivals if there’s not better security,” Arum said later. “Something could have gone terribly wrong.”

It didn’t.

Pacquiao made another maneuver past a few more gawking tourists who quit playing their slots to see what all the fuss was about, and an unsuspecting cocktail waitress, who nearly got bowled over by media members in the madness, to a bank of elevators and the safety of his room high above.

“You’re not just a boxer, you’ve reached official rock star status,” Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz joked with Pacquiao as a handful of reporters looked on inside his suite.

Pacquiao smiled back and said he was “surprised so many people turned out.”

“It’s bigger than the De La Hoya one,” he said of his arrival for his December “Dream Match,” where he dominated Oscar De La Hoya in his final fight.

Five feet away from her son, Pacquiao’s mother took in the brief respite from the crowd and chatted with Pacquiao’s aunt Lilia Lao, who lives in Virginia.

“I’m the one who always meets him at the airport with a big bouquet of flowers,” Lao said. “We’re all so excited for this one.”

So too was Pacquiao, who was decked out in khaki slacks, a dark coat and Kangol cap, who when asked if he was ready to put all the talking behind and settle the matter in the ring, simply replied: “Yes, I’m ready.”

The madness was a little less maddening down the Strip at the MGM when Hatton, decked out a bucket hat, shorts and a Hatton-brand T-shirt, hopped out of a gold limo to a large ovation for his grand arrival.

A couple of velvet rope dividers got knocked over, creating a loud bang, but the real noise came when Hatton entered the makeshift ring with the casino’s gold lion symbol in the center.

“Saturday night there’s gonna be a new pound-for-pound king,” said Hatton, as a small group of Brits began the “There’s only one Ricky Hatton” song to the delight of the few hundred in attendance.

“We love him to bits,” said Peter Johns, a resident of Wolverhampton, England, who traveled with his wife and family as well as a few pint-drinking friends by the names of Nick, Gary and “Sausage.”

“Us Englishmen are very proud and I would have paid 10,000 (British) pounds to watch Ricky. If I had to pay 50,000 pounds, I wouldn’t miss this one,” continued Johns, who insisted that despite being in Las Vegas for Hatton’s only career loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., that is wasn’t a sign of bad luck.

“There’s no doubt in my mind about this one mate, Ricky’s gonna win by knockout in the eighth.”

The IBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight made his way downstairs to conduct interviews with reporters as well as pose for a few photos in the ring.

“I’m so relaxed, some fights in Vegas, mainly the Mayweather one, was a different occasion,” said Hatton, a 2-to-1 underdog.

“Technically I’m boxing a lot better than I was. Three or four fights ago I think Manny would have beaten me, but I don’t think so now.”

But much like Pacquiao, Hatton said he’s rearing to go on Saturday night and all talked out.

“We haven’t come here to tickle each other,” Hatton joked.

Source: lasvegassun.com

Hatton's impatience will be his downfall - Roach

LAS VEGAS — Ricky Hatton’s style of fighting back hard when hit will be his downfall come Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino fighter’s trainer Freddie Roach said on Monday.

“He (Hatton) is not a patient fighter,” said Roach after presiding over Pacquiao’s final workout in Los Angeles. “(Hatton trainer Floyd) Mayweather will try to tell him to box but as soon as Hatton gets hit, he will come forward just like what he’s trained to do and lives to do all his life.”

And that’s when Pacquiao’s brilliance will come to play.

“He will walk into combinations until he gets knocked out,” said Roach, who actually has a vision of what will happen in the opening round.”

“In the first round, I see Manny boxing this guy and frustrate him and I’m sure he (Hatton) won’t find us, and he will take chances and swing from far away. No problem.”

Still, Roach believes Hatton will answer the bell armed to the teeth but it won’t be enough to turn the tables around.

“I’m sure he (Hatton) is also 100 percent in condition and he’s very, very confident. He has the cockiest trainer in the world. He (Mayweather) thinks it’s all about him but it’s all about Manny Pacquiao and the reason why we will win it is because I have the better fighter. There’s nothing to do with the trainers.”

Source: mb.com.ph

Pacquiao trains in Vegas!

After the media frenzy of his grand arrival earlier today at the Mandalay Bay, Manny Pacquiao closed the doors at Tony Rila’s IBA Gym for a quiet, first workout in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for a photo gallery later tonight with more photos of today’s arrival and Pacquiao’s workout.

Source: fightnews.com

Pacquiao & Hatton in Vegas

Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels called it “The greatest ring entrance in the history of Las Vegas.” Manny Pacquiao arrived in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay today at 12:30 before a mob of fans, for his Saturday showdown against Ricky Hatton, to be held at the MGM Grand. Plans to sign autographs and greet the crowd were quickly changed due to the size of the pushing, pulling mob, and Pacquiao had to be escorted through the casino to his hotel room.

The mob of fans at the MGM Grand that greeted Ricky Hatton might not have been as large as the one at Mandalay Bay, that came to see Manny Pacquiao, but it was made up of fans who were just as rowdy. Manchester’s “Hitman” arrived on the scene at 1:30 today, for his PPV-televised showdown with Pacquiao Saturday night.

Source: fightnews.com

Ricky Hatton & Manny Pacquiao arrives at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Source: brandhatton.com

Pacquiao's Greatest Hits - Part I

For better or worse, a fighter is defined by his history. Not only is a boxer's reputation shaped by who he fought but also how he fought against them. For example, Sugar Ray Robinson is regarded by most as history's greatest pound-for-pound fighter not because of the numbers that make up his record – for others like Willie Pep sport a superior winning percentage – but because of the way he went about his business.

The films said all that needed to be said for the original Sugar Ray. His stiletto sharp jabs set up dazzlingly fluid combinations that often ended with a crunching left hook, a weapon that in turn rendered his opponents a semi-conscious mess. Moreover, his peerless skill was amplified by the regal aura highlighted by his perfectly slicked hair, the megawatt smile, the lean but powerful musculature and the pink Cadillac he drove around the streets of New York. In his time, Robinson was far more than a boxer but a vibrant sporting character that befitted his status as king of boxing's second most glamorous and historically significant weight class.

In recent months Manny Pacquiao's awe-inspiring scale-hopping deeds have inspired comparisons to another consensus pound-for-pound great – "Hammerin'" Henry Armstrong. The perpetual punching machine pounded his way to simultaneous championships at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight while the Filipino typhoon has already won belts spanning from flyweight to lightweight. On Saturday in Las Vegas, Pacquiao will attempt to win Ricky Hatton's Ring Magazine 140-pound belt and hold off old rival Juan Manuel Marquez for pound-for-pound supremacy.
How did Pacquiao get to this point in his career and which fights best represent his body of work? This two-part series will relive – in chronological order – 10 contests that either relive his most breathtaking knockouts, his most significant victories or, in many cases, both.

December 4, 1998, Tonsuk College Ground, Phuttamonthon, Thailand – KO 8 Chatchai Sasakul: It is difficult to believe that the man who most recently scored a dominant stoppage of onetime WBO middleweight champion Oscar de la Hoya actually held the WBC flyweight title a decade earlier. But win it he did against Sasakul, who ended the five-year reign of Yuri Arbachakov 13 months earlier and notched defenses against Young-Jin Kim (W 12) and Yong-Soon Chang (KO 5).

Aside from his most recent outing seven months earlier against Shin Terao in Tokyo (KO 1), Pacquiao (23-1, 14 KO) had fought exclusively in the Philippines and had not beaten anyone of great consequence. But he had something that was in short supply in the flyweight class – pure one-punch power. All but four of his knockouts came in the first three rounds and at 5-6 he towered over most 112-pounders, including the 5-3 Sasakul (33-1, 22 KO).

Once the opening bell sounded Sasakul proved the boxing truism that timing trumps tall. His savvy side-to-side movement and spearing blows befuddled Pacquiao, who flung wild hooks and crosses that the champion easily sidestepped. A stinging right hook hit Pacquiao flush with 1:50 to go in the second but it lacked the power to discourage the Filipino’s charges. Nevertheless, the 28-year-old Sasakul’s skill made Pacquiao, who was two weeks short of his 20th birthday, look amateurish.

A stiff left knocked Sasakul off balance in the closing moments of the third and a harder left staggered the champ in the fourth but his bursts were too sporadic to change the flow of the fight because the Thai filled the power gaps with textbook boxing.

With the sun sinking toward the horizon of the outdoor stadium, so seemed to be Pacquiao’s hopes for championship glory. Sasakul intelligently granted proper deference to the youngster’s power and while his own blows failed to hurt Pacquiao he inflicted mighty mathematical damage by piling up round after round on the scorecards. Try as Pacquiao might, he couldn’t solve the Riddle of Sasakul and a lopsided decision defeat appeared likely.

Midway through the seventh Pacquiao showed signs of breaking through as he began cutting off the ring and landing more of his venomous lefts. In the eighth, the results of Pacquiao’s relentless pressure and Sasakul’s constant movement began to show. Instead of springing away from the ropes on lively legs, Sasakul opted to slap on a clinch and he seemed more accepting of trying toe-to-toe exchanges. The fact he found success only deepened the temptation to trade.

As future opponents would learn, standing still in front of Pacquiao is a disastrous move. With 30 seconds remaining in the eighth Pacquiao landed a searing left that forced Sasakul to retreat toward the ropes. With the champion finally pinned Pacquiao struck with the final blow, a follow-up left that slammed squarely on Sasakul’s jaw line and neck. The punch caused Sasakul to fall on his face, where he would lie motionless for six seconds. At seven he tried to push himself up, his head poking up like a groundhog looking for his shadow. But he could do no more, for at nine he somersaulted forward onto his back, where referee Malcolm Bulner counted him out.

One of the hallmarks of a future great is his ability to produce under the most trying of circumstances and Pacquiao’s one-punch knockout in the face of prohibitive numerical odds qualifies as the first sign that a potentially special career was in the making.

June 23, 2001, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nev. – KO 6 Lehlohonolo Ledwaba: Pacquiao’s first fight on American soil took place on the undercard of Oscar de la Hoya-Javier Castillejo – and the Filipino wasn’t even the original opponent. Former WBA junior featherweight champion Enrique Sanchez was to have fought IBF 122-pound king Ledwaba but when he fell out Pacquiao was summoned on 10 days’ notice.

The 24-year-old Pacquiao (32-2, 23 KO) was clearly the "B" side of the equation this night. The 29-year-old Ledwaba’s stylish unanimous decision over Carlos Contreras on the undercard of Hasim Rahman-Lennox Lewis I in South Africa wowed HBO’s brass and the clear hope for this, the sixth defense of his two-year reign, was to broaden his appeal in America. Meanwhile, most people who were watching the fight in the arena and on HBO struggled to properly pronounce the Filipino’s surname as they said "Pac-kee-oh" or "Pac-kai-ow" instead of "Pac-kyow."

Pacquiao, who had scored five knockouts in six wins since his prodigious three weight-class jump to 122, would soon give everyone ample reason to learn his name.

The 121-pound challenger pushed the pace from the start as he shot hard lefts to the head and body – shots that Ledwaba (33-1-1, 22 KO) often ducked into. Ledwaba, 122, had trouble exploiting his three-inch reach advantage because he was forced to focus solely on keeping Pacquiao away. In round one Ledwaba threw 28 punches while Pacquiao landed 32.

Following trainer Freddie Roach’s advice, Pacquiao sliced left uppercuts through Ledwaba’s guard in the second while bouncing nimbly on his toes. Just 41 seconds into the round an incredibly fast and short left to the face caused Ledwaba to stumble forward to the canvas. As Pacquiao drove the champion back with a fusillade of heavy blows, HBO analyst Larry Merchant said what many already knew: "Ledwaba came in as the potential star; right now it looks like Pacquiao may go out as the star."

The crowd oohed and aahed at Pacquiao’s fireworks while Ledwaba, with blood trickling from his nose, tried to rally in the round’s final minute. That surge was stopped with yet another scintillating left to the face, a punch that Ledwaba couldn’t seem to stop even if he wanted to.

Pacquiao vibrated with energy as he picked away with jabs and power bursts throughout the third. Blood now poured from Ledwaba’s nose and the crimson stained the champ’s trunks and Pacquiao’s torso. Following a similarly dominant fourth and fifth, Pacquiao scored his second knockdown 31 seconds into the sixth with a trademark cross. As Ledwaba arose at seven his face wore a look of resignation. A final left that scraped the injured nose sent Ledwaba down in agony, prompting referee Joe Cortez to wave off the fight – and signal the start of the greatest run an Asian fighter ever had on North American shores.

June 28, 2002, The Pyramid, Memphis, Tenn. – KO 2 Jorge Eliecer Julio: Seven months after a foul-filled and troubling technical draw against Agapito Sanchez, Pacquiao (32-3-1, 24 KO) defended his IBF junior featherweight belt on the undercard of Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson against Julio.

The 33-year-old Colombian (44-3, 32 KO) was a respected boxer-puncher who had previously held the WBA bantamweight title, but who was making only his second start at 122. Meanwhile, Pacquiao was hoping to revive his budding star in the U.S. after his struggle with Sanchez and because Julio’s manager was Ricardo Maldonado – the same as Sanchez’s – it was thought that he would have Julio employ similarly dirty tactics.

Julio, 122, began the fight trying to impose long-range boxing while staying in the pocket but the 120 ½-pound Pacquiao – introduced as "The Destroyer" – instantly got his respect by landing heavy lefts from the start. Unlike Ledwaba, Julio was not rattled by the Filipino’s power and as a result he connected on several quality counters and held more than his own after a troubling opening minute. An elbow and a low blow by Julio raised the ire of Pacquiao fans but their hero reassured them by landing another succession of power lefts in the final half minute.

More straight lefts by Pacquiao curled around Julio’s defense to start the second and he worked the jab-cross-uppercut combo with great success. Just 15 seconds into the stanza a straight left sent Julio toppling to the floor. After the challenger arose at seven Pacquiao pressed for the kill by backing Julio to the ropes and whaling away with impunity. A barrage of blows registered the second knockdown but Julio, with blood coming out of his right nostril, arose at four and opted to continue.

With victory in sight Pacquiao bludgeoned Julio with a succession of blazing combinations that prompted referee Bill Clancy to intervene at the 1:09 mark. The relief that washed over Pacquiao’s face confirmed that he knew he had to produce to regain his place as a rising star. Because he had reaffirmed his credentials as a fan-friendly whirlwind the talk of future encounters with featherweight stars Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera became real again.

July 26, 2003, Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, Calif. – KO 3 Emmanuel Lucero: Before Pacquiao could think of fights with the pound-for-pound stars, he had to take care of one last piece of business at 122 on the undercard of Fernando Vargas-Fitz Vanderpool.

The 24-year-old Lucero entered the bout with a glossy 21-0-1 (12 KO) record but that ledger featured few well-known names. His best wins came against a faded Juan Polo Perez (W 10), Rogers Mtagwa (W 10), John Lowey (W 12) and Frankie Archuleta (W 12) and had fought just twice in the past 12 months. Still, the Mexico City battler was a rugged infighter who wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the powerful Pacquiao.

Pacquiao (36-2-1, 27 KO) entered the bout off a first round KO of Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym at 122 and a fifth round TKO of Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov at featherweight, a bout that saw the Filipino suffer a fourth round knockdown before rebounding with two of his own in the fifth.

Lucero, 121¼, started the bout operating from an extremely low crouch and a peek-a-boo defense while firing both hands to the body. The 120-pound Pacquiao, for his part, laid back and boxed from a distance and had some initial trouble penetrating Lucero’s turtle-like shell, though he experienced more success in the final minute. In the second Lucero winged several inaccurate overhand rights that allowed Pacquiao to find the range with his vaunted left cross. A body shot-left cross combo jarred Lucero, who tried to retaliate with more wild swings. Pacquiao remained calm and calculating as he uncorked studied three-punch flurries and meaningful power blows.

Forty-five seconds into the third Pacquiao applied the finisher. He drilled Lucero with a beautifully timed chopping left that wrenched his neck and clicked off his motor skills. Upon impact Lucero’s knees dipped toward the canvas but after straightening himself he tottered drunkenly toward his corner. The moment he turned his body away from Pacquiao referee Jose Cobian waved off the bout. At that, Lucero dropped to his knees.

For once Pacquiao encountered a fighter that was even more chaotic than himself and because he handled the situation with a champion’s aplomb it marked an important chapter in his development as a fighter. While he appeared to be a calmer and more studious athlete he maintained his flair for the dramatic and Lucero’s curtain-dropping stumble was testament to just how powerful boxing’s smallest athletes can be. That power would manifest itself even more emphatically the next time he stepped between the ropes.

November 15, 2003, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas – KO 11 Marco Antonio Barrera: With a sparking record of 57-3 (40 KO) and titles at 122 and 126, Barrera was a confirmed pound-for-pound star. After losing the first of what would be a titanic trilogy with Erik Morales, Barrera had won his last eight fights over the likes of Jesus Salud, Naseem Hamed, Morales, Johnny Tapia and Kevin Kelley. He entered the bout as a favorite of both the betting public and the fans that jammed the Alamodome. Even the San Antonio Spurs jersey Pacquiao wore into the ring could not curry the crowd’s favor, but he accepted the hostility by blowing kisses and wearing a Cheshire-like grin.

The fight didn’t start well for Pacquiao (37-2-1, 28 KO), for 26 seconds after the opening bell an apparent trip was counted as a knockdown by referee Laurence Cole. Pacquiao banged his gloves together as he took the count but Barrera successfully fought fire with fire and kept the Filipino on the back foot.

Pacquiao settled down and began to find a rhythm in the second by following Roach’s advice to throw double jab-left cross combos. As he gained confidence he strafed Barrera’s body and caused a small swelling to erupt under Barrera’s left eye. Twenty-nine seconds into the third Pacquiao exacted revenge for the first-round "knockdown" with a wicked left to the point of the chin that dumped Barrera for a seven count. Pacquiao’s lightning-like speed confounded the Mexican veteran, whose head was made to snap with a frequency previously unseen and whose left eye now sported a gash.

Pacquiao soon seized physical and psychological control as he brimmed with energy and forced Barrera to fall back on the boxing skills that were so effective against Hamed. Barrera tried to slow the pace in the fifth but Pacquiao wouldn’t fall for the ruse as he continued to whip punches from both sides. Barrera had a better round in the sixth as two heavy rights prompted Pacquiao to defiantly raise his arms overhead but the bout swung again in the seventh when Pacquiao dramatically worsened Barrera’s eye cut. Barrera, frustrated at his inability to crack the Filipino, wanted Cole to disqualify Pacquiao for an intentional foul but he wouldn’t be given such an easy out. With Barrera clearly rattled, Pacquiao steamed in with an avalanche of blows, an assault that led an exasperated Barrera to intentionally butt Pacquiao in the round’s final moments. Even his fouling was off target as his cranium hit Pacquiao’s chest instead of the face.

Behind on all scorecards Barrera had little choice but to trade with Pacquiao in search of an unlikely knockout but Pacquiao’s multi-punch flurries were too quick to evade or to counter. Barrera continued to complain to Cole for various perceived fouls and when Cole didn’t accommodate him he lashed out with a vicious right to the face during a break, an infraction that forced Cole to subtract a point from Barrera’s score.

By the 10th, with a tidal wave of adverse circumstances overwhelming him, a resigned Barrera shifted his goal away from victory and toward lasting the distance. But Pacquiao, flush with the excitement of scoring the biggest victory of his career to date, would accept nothing less than a knockout. A flurry highlighted by a ferocious right-left floored Barrera for a seven-count in the 11th and the bout ended at the 2:56 mark with Barrera’s cornermen jumping into the ring as their man floundered under yet another withering assault.

On this night, Pacquiao was the personification of the flames that adorned his bright red-and-black trunks and that fire finally vaulted him toward pound-for-pound superstardom. The second installment of this retrospective will relive five more fights that have helped shaped his sure-fire Hall of Fame legacy.

Source: maxboxing.com