Hatton vs. Pacquiao Preview

Hatton vs. Pacquiao Preview

The Battle of East and West
By Josh Jacobs

Matchup: Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao
Date: Saturday, May 2, 2009
Television: HBO PPV
Location: Las Vegas
Division: Junior Welterweight
Title: IBO and Hatton's Ring magazine junior welterweight title
Betting line: Manny Pacquiao (-270) Juan Manuel Marquez (+210)
Round Prop: 9 1/2

Freddie Roach knows this scenario all too well. Traveling to Las Vegas for another blockbuster fight is second nature for the three-time trainer of the year. Come May 2, Roach will once again be answering questions from journalists, patrolling the lobby of TheHotel and just generally doing what he does best, making Vegas just another place he could call home.

But Roach is just a part of the bigger picture.

All eyes are fixated on the two fighters whose paths will cross inside the ropes at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Both have been in this situation with differing results throughout their careers. For five-division champion Manny Paacquiao, downing future Hall of Famer but energy sapped Oscar De La Hoya was just another addition to the Pilipino fighter’s distinguished resume. A future Hall of Fame inductee of his own, Pacquiao and fellow trainer Roach are synonymous for taking over a venue like a roaring hurricane.

Making the trek to Vegas for the fourth time in his career, Ricky Hatton is the epitome of the working class fighter. His hometown of Manchester in the United Kingdom is a direct reflection to his blue collar roots. This image of a scrappy, punch until the opponent takes a seat type mentality has helped “The Hitman” attain world wide recognition. But it hasn’t been an easy ride to this point.

Saturday will once again prime fans from all corners of the globe to witnessing another one of Las Vegas’ show stoppers. If we decide on taking Hatton at +210 (bet $100 to make $210), does the value tell a story that analysis might not uncover? And what might another ‘W’ on Pacquiao’s resume really prove?

Pride of England

Ricky Hatton is no stranger to fighting talent that many have deemed “superior”. Flashback to December, 2007 and in the same building that Hatton will be fighting in this Saturday. After bagging up wins in the United States versus Luis Collazo, Juan Urango and Jose Louis Castillo, Hatton truly believed he was ready to take on the best in the business (and was ready to accept the estimated, $10 million). But then came round 10 and the counter punch that put Hatton on the canvas and ultimately led to the TKO stoppage.

The bounce back fight that followed was a unanimous decision win over Juan Lazcano in Hatton’s own backyard of Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom. While you’ll be hard pressed to find literature on the exact, round-for-round accounts of what fully transpired that evening believe me when I say to you that Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton was a few seconds away from ending his career not far from where it had begun.

Facing serious trouble after being tagged by a hook to the head, Hatton clinched for his life until referee Howard John Foster called time for what appeared to be a phantom, holding the head down call on Lazcano. Then came an unbelievable, 20 second shoe lace stoppage which gave Hatton just enough time to clear the cob webs out of his head. Be it as it may, Lazcano took the loss and a chunk out of his promising career.

Coming off his most recent win over Paul Malignaggi in November of last year, Hatton has rediscovered himself. He’s come a long way from fighting exclusively in England (minus three visits to the US early in his professional career). “The Hitman” once told the media that he thought it might be time to hang up his gloves, but a win on Saturday could very well put Hatton on the pedestal he’s been so desperately working for.

Pilipino Phenom

Does it get better in boxing then Manny Pacquiao? The question can be argued and tossed around forums, but there’s no questioning the dominance that “Pac-Man” has claimed.

His last loss was against Eric Morales in the first of three fights on Feb. 19, 2005. Since then Pacquiao has ran through his opponents, going 9-0 with five KOs and/or TKOs. But the most impressive feat about to be etched into the heads of fans and history books alike is Pacquiao’s attempt to link five championships in five different weight classes. If that’s not the epitome of reaching a pinnacle in one’s career then please tell me otherwise (minus attaining the famed, sextuple champions that only four have done before – Thomas Hearns, Hector Camacho, Oscar De La Hoya and James Toney).

There are several parts to Pacquiao’s game that’s been nothing short of amazing in scope. The first is his progression through the weight classes, beginning with a WBC flyweight title win against Chatchai Sasakul in 1998. Fast forward 10 years later and we’re now talking about a fighter who’s blasted opponents in super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

Something else I’ll get into down this page is Pacquiao’s ability to maintain his blistering speed despite gaining, give or take, close to 30 pounds over the course of his career. Those questioned if his fight against Oscar De La Hoya would turn in favor of the naturally bigger man? But we all know what happened at the end of the day in that match. De La Hoya was the man in the ring that looked sapped of energy in response to dropping weight. Let’s be honest, he was looking mighty frail to put it bluntly.

And now Pacquiao finds himself attempting to snatch up another piece of boxing history. He’s got the weight of an entire nation resting on his shoulders (the Philippines) and the shot at grabbing his fifth championship in yet another weight class.

Abilities

There are several sets of skills that can be compared between both fighters.

Speed: Manny Pacquiao is the first to get on the board in this comparison of fighters, dominating the speed category. Pac-Man was born with this gift and although he’s consistently training down at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California to improve the speed at varying weight classes, the bottom line is it’s a tough skill to teach. But let’s not throw Ricky Hatton under the bus. He might not measure up to Pacquiao’s hand speed but his brute force in the gloves translates into his own natural velocity that shouldn’t be overlooked. - Edge to Pacquiao
   
Power: Flipping the script, Hatton is in possession of the power edge. Racking up 32 KOs in 45 victories, “The Hitman” prides himself on getting hooks, uppercuts and the occasional straight hand through defenses with neck snapping force. But what serves as his greatest strength was also revealed to be his downfall. The most convincing example was in the monumental loss against Mayweather Jr. in 2007. While Hatton did squeak the occasional pot shot onto Mayweather’s face, the 10th round revealed that the Brit had finally punched himself out of energy. Since traveling and fighting on US soil, Hatton has scored two knockdown victories while being knocked out himself against Mayweather (out of five total fights). – Edge to Hatton

Defense: Pacquiao’s defense could be his greatest liability heading into this bout. We’ve seen the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer jeered by head shots from Erik Morales. We’ve seen Marco Antonio Barrera floor Pac-Man in the first round in their first fight in 2003. And we’ve seen Pacquiao’s face bloody and cut throughout his career. While not all the results mentioned have been a direct symptom of lackadaisical defensive skills, it’s safe to say that this ability is not Pacquiao’s strongest suit. – Edge to Hatton

Experience: As the table indicates above, the list of fighters that Manny Pacquiao has faced, floored and built an overall career over are extensive. From Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera to Juan Manuel Marquez and Oscar De La Hoya, don’t look any further for the fighter who enters this match with the most experience. - Edge to Pacquaio

Betting Corner

There’s only been one spot in which Pacquiao has disappointed backers, and that was on March of 2005 in a unanimous decision loss against Morales as the 6/5 favorite. All three judges scored the fight, 115-113 despite Morales stumbling several times in the final round.

In his last three fights, Pacquiao has returned money as a $2.10 favorite versus Juan Manuel Marquez, as a ‘chalky’ $4.50 favorite in his win against Juan Diaz and most recently as a $1.35 underdog versus Oscar De La Hoya.

The cash collection in his last win didn’t seem to reflect De La Hoya’s weight issue. In August, four months before the fight, books had opened Pacquiao as a $1.50 ‘dog so an adjustment down to +135 could have indicated the decline in what many felt was a “drained” De La Hoya shortly before round one began. But all evidence indicates that the money movement was based on betting action pouring in on Pacquiao just before fight night. Ultimately, we can surmise that both factors brought Pac-Man’s price down to its closing value.

Hatton’s numbers have been all over tote boards in his last four bouts. Beginning in a win over Jose Louis Castillo as a $1.70 favorite, Hatton burnt those who felt he had a chance versus Mayweather Jr. as a $1.85 underdog. Next up was a win over Juan Lazcano as a hefty $13.00 favorite followed up by his most recent ‘W’ over Paul Malignaggi, collecting currency at a -265 price (bet $265 to make $100).

Coming full circle, various books have set Pacquiao anywhere from a $2.20 all the way up to a $2.75 favorite so do your shopping wisely. Hatton is catching a price of +210 (bet $100 to make $210) at most parlors.

If your interested in betting the props then 9 ½-rounds is the consensus given out by most books. The ‘over’ is at -135 (bet $135 to make $100) and the ‘under’ is just above the even mark at -105 (bet $105 to make $100).

If we dive deeper into propositional prices then 3/1 odds for Hatton to win by TKO, KO or DQ and even odds for Pacquiao to do the same indicates that books and bettors are favoring the fight to be stopped before the judges can intervene. A draw is catching a far fetched, +1700 price.

Fight Night

Whenever a fight of this magnitude hits television sets across boarders then the best advise to give is expect the unexpected. Manny Pacquiao has speed and experience on his side. Ricky Hatton enters the big night with Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his corner and the power to create a punch out reality. But in the end, the two fighters will have each other, the canvas beneath them and the ropes around them to help determine what takes place at the MGM Grand on Saturday.

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Re: Hatton vs. Pacquiao Preview

Bet Hatton early, Pacquiao late for Saturday's bout
By JASON LOGAN

In these tough economic times, everyone is looking for a bargain.

Fight fans' pockets getting pretty shallow when eyeing the $60 pay-per-view price tag for this Saturday's superbout between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton. The pennies get pinched even tighter with tickets to the Las Vegas event starting at over $1,000 for nosebleed seats.

While it may cost an arm and a leg to watch this weekend's light welterweight title fight, wagering on it doesn't have to. According to boxing and MMA oddsmaker Joey Oddessa, bettors can get their favorite fighter for a discount price if they make their plays at the right time.

Currently, most sportsbooks are dealing Pacquiao as a -250 favorite while Hatton is sitting around a +200 underdog. But, as it gets closer to fight night, sportsbooks are bracing for the wave of money from British bettors putting cash down on “The Hitman”.

“I would anticipate (the odds) will close closer to the lower -200s at post time,” says Oddessa. “When the masses of British fans get to the sold-out venue in Las Vegas, they will surely be backing Ricky Hatton.”

Hatton backers have impacted the British fighter's odds in his recent bouts, most notably against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December 2007. They moved Hatton from +200 to +160 in the hours before that fight, which he lost by way to TKO in the 10th round.

And it's not just Hatton that draws action from his countrymen. In last week's bout between former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor and British title holder Carl Froch, UK bettors moved the odds from Taylor -170 all the way to a pick at post time.

Oddessa believes now is the time to strike on Hatton and says bettors playing the underdog have more than a puncher's chance of cashing in big. The 30-year-old Hatton is two victories removed from his bout with Mayweather, scoring dominant wins over Juan Lazcano and Paul Malignaggi.

“Hatton needs to get in there and try to control the early pace of the fight like he did against Floyd Mayweather Jr.,” says Oddessa.  “He needs to be rough on the inside, hold, and make it an ugly fight. If he can land early and gain Pacquiao's respect, this will becomes a winnable bout for Hatton.”

As for bettors aiming to ride the Pac-Man's nine-bout winning streak, you'll want to hold off making your wager until the action on Hatton heats up. During the Hatton-Mayweather fight, books dropped the juice on the favorite from -350 to -240 and expect a similar process this weekend.

Pacquiao hasn't lost since 2005 and has impressive wins over Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, David Diaz and, most recently, Oscar De La Hoya.

It's that May 2009 fight which has kept Pacquiao's price on the rise. The Filipino fighter opened at -175 in January, but with his beating of De La Hoya still fresh in the public's minds, all the early action was on Pacquiao.

While that bout was the second-highest grossing fight in history, De La Hoya was far from his legendary form and was punished for eight rounds before the fight was stopped. Oddessa says bettors should think twice about Pacquiao's dominance before dishing out the money on the early favorite.

“It's hard to imagine Hatton or any Top 5 fighter at Welterweight or Light Welterweight not giving a better performance against Pacquiao than Oscar did,” says Oddessa. “Pacquiao is the faster and busier fighter, but Hatton is going to try utilizing the roughhouse tactics he has been often criticized for.”

Oddsmakers have set the round total for this fight at 9.5. Saturday's card is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET from the MGM Grand Las Vegas.

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