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Pacquiao Stops Hatton, Asserts Title as World’s Best

FilAm Star, Sports Feature, Nicholas Von Wettberg Posted: May 04, 2009

LAS VEGAS (Nevada) -- It turned out that “The Battle of East and West” was not much of a battle at all.

The speed and power of Filipino Manny Pacquiao, proved to be far too much to handle for England’s Ricky Hatton on Saturday, May 2, as the world’s pound-for-pound king further solidified his boxing legacy with a stunning second-round knockout.

“I hope you enjoyed the show,” said Pacquiao at the post-fight press conference. “Thanks a lot to all my fans and to my team …. and especially to God.”

In front of 16,262 fight fans at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, Pacquiao said his prayers, heard the bell ring, and then wasted no time as he got right down to business in the championship fight for Hatton's International Boxing Organization (IBO) and Ring Magazine junior welterweight titles.

Less than a minute into the first round, Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) started his flawless execution of a game plan that he and trainer Freddie Roach had mastered the last eight weeks, hammering the charging Hatton with a right hook after setting him up with his left hand, which sent the Englishman to the canvass.

“Our strategy was the one punch,” Pacquiao said in a post-fight interview. “Left hook. Right hook. That was going to be the key to this fight.”

The large Filipino contingent of fans in attendance erupted with a deafening roar after the first knockdown, which quieted the song- and-cheer raving of what was nevertheless a predominantly British crowd.

After another knockdown--this one with a straight left--Hatton (45-2, 32 KOs) survived the round, but it was quite clear at that point who the better fighter was at 140-pounds.

“I think before the fight a lot of people thought I am too small at 140 pounds, and Ricky Hatton’s too big for me” said Pacquiao. “I didn’t put that in my mind…”

Hatton started the second round with a real sense of despair, as he reverted back to his old self, trying to hold Pacquiao and turning the fight into a street brawl.

But “Pac-Man” would have none of that and continued to land a constant barrage of jabs, and a hard right to the body that appeared to hurt Hatton.

Towards the end of the second round, Pacquiao went for the kill like a shark that smelled blood, and once again used his right hook to set up a powerful left to the chin of Hatton, which this time left him motionless and flat on his back.

The fight, touted as this year’s biggest in the boxing world, officially ended at 2:59 of the second round, when “The Hitman” hit the canvass and laid there half-conscious.

“We were prepared,” said Roach. “Ricky fights the same way over and over. He doesn’t have the ability to adjust. We knew he pumps his hand every time before he throws a punch.”

The left Manny threw will surely go down in the annals of boxing history as one of the all-time great knockout blows. In Vegas-speak, it could be called a royal flush.

“I was just doing my job in the ring and doing my best to make the people happy,” said Pacquiao. “I am satisfied.”

Referee Kenny Bayless bothered not to count, as it was obvious that the fight had ended with yet another Pacquiao triumph. At that point, the only concern was the health of “The Hitman,” who walked out of the arena on his recognizance but went to Valley Hospital as a precautionary measure.

For the fight, Pacquiao made $12 million -- a relatively low amount considering how scintillating his abbreviated performance was. Hatton received $8 million.

As for future paydays, Pacquiao, who is in the prime of his career, can anticipate a variety of options: Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, or the winner of the just-announced July 18, 2009 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez.

It should be interesting, especially for a sport that has a difficulty maintaining the interest level of its fringe fans.

Roach and his ward are similar not only in their desire to be the best, but also in their humility, even after a performance as impressive as Saturday night’s.

“Manny is unbelievable,” said Roach, who has trained Pacquiao for over eight years. “He makes me look good…you know, I’m the best trainer in the world because I have the best fighter in the world.”

Photocredits: Nicholas von Wettberg/FilAm Star

Related Articles:

Filipino Fans Cheer Manny Pacquiao's TKO Of Ricky Hatton

Fight Fans and 'Pacman' After the Dream Match

Beyond Pacquaio-De La Hoya, Two People’s Long-lost Ties

Pacquiao Buries De La Hoya

Against All Odds: Pacquiao TKOs De La Hoya

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