Ricky Hatton admits his old bulldozing style of fighting won’t be good enough to beat Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on May 2 and he will rely instead on handspeed and punching power.
A former world light-welterweight champion who has never lost at 140 pounds, Hatton is taking on a fighter who moved up two weight divisions to easily beat Oscar De La Hoya at 147 pounds in December.
Hatton says that means he will have to produce a repeat of the performance he produced to stop Paul Malignaggi in 11 rounds in November, the British fighter’s first fight since losing for the only time to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A powerful body puncher, Hatton (45-1) used that style to stop Kostya Tszyu for the IBF title in June 2005. But he will need more to beat a fast fighter who is considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
“Kostya was a great punching powerhouse but I bulldozed him into submission,” Hatton said Monday. “But in my last fight against Malignaggi, who is a speed merchant, I ended up out-boxing him and out-speeding him. In the end I beat him up.
“The Ricky Hatton of old would have put his head down and steamed in at 100 m.p.h. without a lot of thought on how to do it. I’ve no doubt Manny’s speed will cause me problems but they said that about Malignaggi.”
Although the fight is in Las Vegas, Hatton and Pacquiao (48-3-2) were at London’s Imperial War Museum to help sell the contest to British fight fans although Hatton is expected to have several thousand fans at the MGM Grand Garden.
Despite Hatton’s insistence he will fight a different way than he used to, Pacquioo’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said it wouldn’t take him long to go back to his old ways.
“It will be a great fight in the first half but Manny will get to him in the later rounds and will knock him out at some point,” Roach said.
“Ricky is very resilient but his come-forward nature will walk him into some shots and that will get him out of there. He’s tailor made for us. I don’t think you can change Ricky Hatton at this point in his career. Once he gets hit, he’ll lose composure and revert to what he does best and that’s fight.”