posted by Large
What we have here is not a towing contest. What’s more, the Ford ain’t even a truck. He’s like, a Fusion.
But enough with the cars crap. What I’m getting at is this – for a fighter of average skills to beat a fighter of elite skills, there must be some x-factor that tilts the playing field in his direction and gives him at least a small chance at the upset, be it an advantage in size, power or heart.
Generally in these kinds of situations, that x-factor is power. The puncher’s chance. George Foreman on the button of Michael Moorer (funny that Moorer should come up, actually…). Oliver McCall with his eyes closed landing that wild miracle on Lennox’s glass chin.
But that’s not in play here. Hatton is not a particularly hard puncher and he’s never been the guy who changes a fight with one shot. He couldn’t stop Paulie Malignaggi, for Pete’s sake, who is borderline defenseless in the ring these days. Buddy McGirt had to do it for him (and I reiterate my feelings on that – shame on you Buddy).
No, if Hatton is going to stage the upset tomorrow night, one of the other two x-factors that can level a mismatch will tell the tale – size and, or, heart.
In my preview piece over The Sporting Blog today, How Ricky Hatton Could Beat Manny Pacquiao, I laid out in detail what I think Hatton’s size advantage will and won’t do for him tomorrow. Let me just summarize my feelings here – I don’t think it will do much. I’m guessing there will be maybe a seven-pound difference between the two men in the ring, which isn’t nothing by any means, but given the fact that there’s no significant height or reach advantage, and given Pacquiao’s speed and sheer strength (those of you who have seen the man train up close and personal know that he has virtual tree-trunks for legs), I just don’t see where Hatton is going to be bullying Manny around the ring in the way that he seems to think he will.
The only way I see the size difference telling a tale is in the way each man experiences the punch of the other. Pacquiao hit David Diaz and Oscar with bombs all night and, though he gave those guys a serious whupping, he had to land a LOT of shots to do it in each case. I think we all can agree that Manny doesn’t have near the pop at 140 that he did at, say, 126. If Hatton is not bothered much by Pacquiao’s punches, if his shots feel to him like those of a blown-up junior lightweight, it definitely will increase his options in there.
Likewise, there is a question as to what Hatton’s punches will do to Manny. Pacquiao really never has been hit before by a guy above 130 pounds. Diaz and Oscar landed about three clean punches on Manny between them. Even in my worst prognosis, I figure Hatton to fare better than that, and when he digs with those trademark hooks to the midsection, he conceivably could strike gold.
Floyd Sr. has been talking a lot about how much Pacquiao wants to be moving forward to be at his most effective. Of course, so does Hatton, and Floyd thinks it’s likely that Ricky is going to win that contest, which will put Manny at a severe disadvantage.
I agree with him that Hatton probably will be moving forward all night, but just as it didn’t help him much against Floyd Jr., I don’t see it helping him tomorrow night. Pacquiao really has become something special when it comes to ring generalship and working at angles. Not moving forward for Pacquiao does not mean in the least moving backward. It means floating like a bee and stinging like a wasp.
And that brings us to the final x-factor that either will or won’t carry the evening for Hatton – heart. As I wrote over at The Sporting Blog, I tend to think the only way Ricky wins this thing is by going all Tony Margarito in there, sans, one would hope, the loaded gloves. I think Pacquiao is going to look magnificent for at least the first six rounds of this fight. His mobility is like nothing that Hatton ever has faced before, and his handspeed, though it’s not quite at Money May’s level, is not far off. Daddy Floyd and Ricky would both have us believe that Hatton has transformed himself into a master boxer during the course of however many weeks he’s been working with Floyd Sr., but let me be gentle about the matter and say that I am skeptical. It’s very rare that you see a zebra change his stripes at this stage of his fight career. No matter how adept Hatton has become with the intricate Mayweatherian mitt-work (mitt-work which, let us recall, he once scoffed at as “fiddle-faddle,” the ultimate insult in Hatton-land), you put him in there against a Pacquiao-level talent and I have no doubts whatsoever that he will revert to whatever he knows best in the space of the first two rounds of the fight.
And, let’s face it – his best is nowhere near good enough. Hatton’s fans can only hope that he’s been able to come away with a few tricks from Floyd Joy that he can rely on to help him weather the onslaught. If he’s lucky, the foremost among them will be an improvement in his footwork and his ability to cut off the ring. Because I think this fight is going to look like Margarito/Cotto early, with Manny circling and pouncing on Hatton, making him look helpless and slow at times, and piling up the points on the scorecard and the welts on Ricky’s face.
If Hatton’s going to win, he’s going to have to be relentless, he’s going to have to be nimble enough on his feet to trap Manny on a regular basis and dish out punishment downstairs, and he’s going to have to absorb a LOT of punishment along the way himself. If he can do that and hold up through six or seven rounds, maybe, just maybe, he’ll slow Pacquiao down to the extent that the second half of the fight will turn in his favor.
It’s a longshot. The thing in the above scenario that seems the most improbable to me is the idea that Hatton will seriously hurt Pacquiao enough to make it interesting. In the end, I feel about this a little the way I felt about Winky/PWill. If Hatton had a big equalizer punch in his bag, I’d give him a decent chance. But in that he doesn’t, I give him next to no chance whatsoever. He’s outclassed in just about every way, and I feel very strongly that it’s going to get early in there late for the man. With Pac’s stamina, accuracy and killer instinct, I see him finishing Hatton late after giving him one mother of a beating in the meantime.
PROGNOSTIFICATION – Pacquiao – TKO11 – Hatton
Some final notes…
- I think we got the regular contest going here – right I-Berg? Get your prognostifications in on the comments and closest to the button wins a shirt of their choice.
- People, people… Mayweather/Marquez looks like it’s made. Of course that rumor gets floated today, just so Money can steal a little of the desert thunder.
- And speaking of desert thunder, I actually think there’s going to be some desert thunder tomorrow. Forecast calls for thunderstorms. In the got-damn desert. Better not fuck up my flight.
- You guys see that recap of the EA Fight Night simulation of the fight? It was kind of ill.
- PPV takes a hit from that Celtics/Bulls game 7 on Saturday night, as our man Jimmy V pointed out in the comments today. No revising your PPV estimates, though. If only Paul Pierce weren’t such a pussy…
- Look for my pre-fight posts and my post-fight breakdown from ringside tomorrow night over at The Sporting Blog. I likely will get some shit up here as well late tomorrow and then Sunday as I straggle home.
- Ricky Roe, I’ll shout at you – I get in around 2 p.m. Any other Masians gonna be on the scene?