Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | midnight
- Preﬁght hype in full swing (4-20-2009)
- Hatton-Pacquiao: Sideshow battle continues (4-17-2009)
- Calling all fight fans (4-17-2009)
- Pacquiao, Hatton hit Hollywood (3-31-2009)
- Pacquiao named fighter of the year (3-27-2009)
- Hatton’s got confidence cornered (3-7-2009)
- Fun has begun for Hatton-Pacquiao bout (3-5-2009)
Ricky Hatton’s not opposed to talking about his craft. After all, the Brit is one of the world’s best boxers.
But rarely does “The Hitman” brag about his ring heroics. On Tuesday during a conference call with reporters for his May 2 fight against Manny Pacquiao, the confident Manchester, England, native sounded almost cocky.
“There's no doubt in my mind who's going to win this fight,” said the IBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight champ. "I've never been more certain and I've never been more confident. I've got an opponent who I feel I'm stronger than. As long as I get my tactics right and my timing right, I'll hold on to my belt and I hope to claim the pound-for-pound spot."
"As long as Ricky Hatton does what Ricky Hatton does best, I believe I'm going to be too much in all areas for Manny. I'm saying that because that's what I believe."
True to his character, Hatton expounded that the title fight won’t be a cakewalk and he didn’t discredit Pacquiao’s impressive achievements that have earned him the title of boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
But Hatton reiterated that he thinks fans and media members have overreacted to Pacquiao’s dominant win over Oscar De La Hoya in December.
“I don't think Manny has fought at this weight before,” said Hatton, who said De La Hoya was dehydrated in his eighth-round TKO loss in Pacquiao’s first appearance above 140 pounds.
“With respect to Oscar, he was fighting a punching bag that night.”
And Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) has never lost at 140 pounds.
“Very rarely do I have an opponent against whom I have a height advantage, albeit a miniscule one, and certainly a strength advantage," said the 5-foot-7 Hatton. “Manny hasn't fought anybody as fiery, as ferocious and certainly as big and strong as Ricky Hatton. Ricky Hatton is a handful. I expect it to be a very explosive fight."
That’s what Golden Boy promotion brass and Top Rank officials are banking on as the fight was officially announced Tuesday as a sellout.
“We're extremely pleased with the way fans have reacted to this event and I'm really not surprised that this fight is sold out," said De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions.
"You've got two of the best fighters in the world in Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao, as well as two of the most exciting fighters, facing each other in their primes. This is going to be a fight to remember."
Top Rank’s head honcho, Bob Arum, said he believes the fight could set the all-time pay-per-view mark.
"Given that the live gate for this event is sold out, coupled with the sellout of tonight's San Francisco Giants baseball game where Manny is the guest of honor, indicates to me that 'The Battle of East and West' is on track to break all existing pay-per-view records," he said.
The last time Hatton was in a fight of this magnitude also came on the Las Vegas stage when he suffered his only career loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December 2007.
But Hatton, who is training in his second fight with Mayweather’s father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., said he’s a much different fighter having suffered the stinging setback.
"The Mayweather fight taught me I needed to pull my socks up and stop thinking I could walk right through opponents," Hatton said.
But Hatton insisted even if he does revert to the trademark brawling style that made him a fan favorite, he said he’s confident he’ll be the one walking out of the ring with his arms raised.
“Everyone thinks I'm just a fat little brawler but there's more to me than that,” Hatton said. “That's why I went to work with Floyd. And I think you've already seen the difference.”
Andy Samuelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-948-7837.