Friday, May 1, 2009

Ricky Hatton vs Manny Pacquiao Predictions

Ricky Hatton. Manny Pacquaio. Tomorrow night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Who's going to take it? The Boxing Bulletin writers make their picks.

Hatton should have his way inside, but he is going to have to fins his way past nukes to get there, and Manny isn't the type to just sit back and allow himself to be manhandled. Ricky will be faster and stronger than anyone Pacquiao has faced, but he has also beaten better. I've really tussled with my initial feelings on this one.

I'm going with my gut. Ricky's ability to get inside quickly takes Pac by surprise and he builds an early lead. Manny fights back and the middle rounds are on even terms. Manny pours it on late and Hatton survives some major trouble in one of the final rounds to eek out a split decision. - Mark Lyons

I have the feeling Ricky will look better than ever and his speed, especially early, will be eye opening. As the fight goes on I believe that Pacquiao will do a better job of adjusting to Hatton, than Hatton will to Pacquiao. Over the course of the fight I think the newly honed boxing skills the Manchester grappler has been working on will begin to fall away as he finds it difficult to corral Manny.

To me there are a lot of variables, and it's a toss up fight that either guy can win with a special performance, but that said I think Pacquiao's speed, movement and motor allows him to pull away and win a comfortable, but impressive and entertaining fight reminiscent of what Morales did to him in their first fight. - Jeff Pryor

The recent trend with Hatton against top-tier opposition is that he comes out guns blazing in the first three or four rounds, throwing vicious combinations to the body. As some point, his opponent starts making adjustments and begins touching him up. Hatton then becomes a guy who throws one or two punches and grabs, which works fine against someone who doesn't utilize fast feet.

Pac's gotten very good in the last few years at taking a half-step back and countering a charging opponent with a right hook or short left hand. Diving in with single shots and grabbing won't work against him. I think Hatton has his moments in the first third of the fight, but it becomes a countdown to a stoppage win for Pac after that. I look for Pac to stop him in rounds 7-9. - Michael Nelson

I think this is a real 50-50 fight and a hard fight to pick. I’ve got a hunch that Hatton might be too strong on the inside for Pacquiao to cope with; Hatton is definitely the physically strongest fighter Pacquiao has fought. I envisage both fighters starting at a frantic pace and exchanging heavy shots early on. At some point during one these exchanges I think Hatton will hurt Pacquiao to the body and put him down.

If Pacquiao gets up and starts fighting more intelligently then I think the fight will be mightily close come the final bell, but I believe that Pacquiao will try to fight his way out of trouble and will get caught again. I’ll go against all conventional wisdom and say Hatton wins inside six rounds. - Dave Oakes

First off, let me point out that I think Manny Pacquiao is the superior fighter. Stylistically, I think he creates a lot of issues for Hatton. The overall speed of the Pac-Man gives everyone hell. And Ricky is used to having the faster feet in there, but I think he's in against an athlete who can match him in that department.

The southpaw stance seems to be another advantage for the Filipino star, given that Hatton seems to have trouble with them. Most left hookers tend to have a hard time finding the target upstairs. I think Hatton would be better served to jump in with his right hand lead and then work from the clinch. He does throw some very hard punches when he lets go, and he could land a hook to the liver that would change things around.

If I'm going with what I think is the most likely scenario, I'll take Pac by hard-fought, but clear unanimous decision. He should be able to tag Hatton coming in here and there, but also, I don't see what the Brit can do if Manny decides to shoot forward with his speed. Manny Pacquiao should win, but when the stakes are this high, and when it comes down to ONE night, anything can happen. I am glad Kenny Bayless is handling things. Just hope that a clash of heads doesn't go a long way in deciding this one.

Here's to a fair fight. Manny 9-3, 8-4, 8-4 with both men being stunned along the way. - Lee Payton

If Pacquaio can withstand Hatton's early assault, especially those hooks to the body, and still be fresh by the 6th or 7th round - which is no guarantee but I'm leaning 70/30 that he can - I think he'll win going away. - Andrew Fruman