by Mark Lorenzana
When the left hand that smashed into Ricky Hatton’s jaw finally took out the Hitman and left him in a heap, it wasn’t surprising to see the reactions of the people in the stadium – both Pacquiao and Hatton fans alike. It was a picture of awe, disbelief, and horror, all rolled into one.
Awe and disbelief, because not a lot of people expected Pacquiao to dispose of the supposedly bigger and stronger fighter in such devastating fashion, and in as early as the second round. Horror, because you had to fear for Hatton’s safety as he lay down on the canvas in the center of the ring in a semi-conscious state. I have to add that it was a good thing to see Hatton being able to walk out of the ring on his own.
What surprised me, however, are a couple of things.
First, Pacquiao’s vastly improving boxing skills. It wasn’t a stretch when Freddie Roach stated in the post-fight interview that Pacquiao’s right hand is now much better than his left. It showed in the course of the short fight, where Hatton was repeatedly tagged by right jabs and hooks. In fact, it was a cannonball right hook that knocked down the unsuspecting Hatton for the first time in the fight.
Also, who would have thought that Pacquiao could still pack one-punch knockout power in his fists despite having debuted at 106 pounds?
Pacquiao also showed that now, he isn’t a fighter who relies on offense alone. Hatton soon found out that what stood in front of him was an elusive and fleet-footed gazelle, a far cry from his previous opponents who were stationary targets and who were suckers to his brawling, mauling style and body punches. Pacquiao repeatedly bobbed and weaved, even while dishing out punches of his own. In other words, Hatton didn’t know what to do. He was overwhelmed by a multi-talented pugilist who was once thought as a one-dimensional, left-handed slugger.
Second, I would have thought that Hatton would showcase some of his new-found boxing skills under the tutelage of the self-proclaimed best trainer in the world, Floyd Mayweather Sr. But Hatton didn’t show anything new. He had no head movement, he had no lateral movement. He barreled straight into Pacquiao, hoping to land a power punch that would end the fight. In other words, it was the same old Ricky Hatton. And against Pacquiao, it was recipe for disaster.
To be the best fighter in the world, you have to leave it all in the ring. You just can’t claim that you are one of the best and leave it at that, hoping that people would gobble everything up, hook, line, and sinker.
Needless to say, Pacquiao did his job, and it was a masterful performance at that. He showed without doubt that he is the best pound-for-pound boxer today.
To be the best trainer in the world, you have to command respect. Respect will enable you to sculpt a raw talent and polish him or her into a flawless gem. Freddie Roach is one of the most respectable trainers the boxing world has ever seen, and he has helped make Pacquiao the fighting machine that he is now.
No amount of trash talking, faux poetry and fake posturing will make you the best trainer in the world. You just can’t claim that you are one of the best and leave it at that, hoping that people would gobble everything up, hook, line, and sinker.
It should be a lot more than that.
And that ain’t no joke.