Loss to Manny blamed on Floyd

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

I just got a copy of the book “Ricky Hatton’s Vegas Tales: Me in Las Vegas, What Could Possibly Go Wrong” written by the Manchester Hitman with Justyn Barnes. It’s an entertaining read, particularly if you’re interested in what goes on in a boxer’s mind before, during and after a fight.

What I found amusing was Hatton blaming trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. for his loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2009. Hatton was never close to threatening Pacquiao. In the first round, Hatton went down twice but managed to survive. Because of the two trips to the canvas, the three judges Michael Pernick, C. J. Ross and Glenn Trowbridge scored the round 10-7 for Pacquiao. In the second stanza, Pacquiao landed a brutal left hook that knocked Hatton out cold even before he hit the canvas. It was over at 2:59 of the round. Martin Nievera, who sang the National Anthem in the pre-fight rites, missed the action as he had just come out of his dressing room to find his seat.

The punch stats were completely one-sided. Pacquiao threw a total of 127 punches and connected on 73 for a 57 percent rate while Hatton landed 18 of 78 for 23 percent. Of Pacquiao’s 73 connections, 65 were power punches so the damage was severe. Pacquiao went for the jugular from the onset and Hatton was never the same again.

Hatton blamed Mayweather for overtraining him. “I wasn’t happy with the way he prepared me for the Pacquiao fight,” said Hatton. “I’m not saying I would have beaten Manny but if I was on my normal game, I think it was a 50-50 fight. One thing is for certain – Manny didn’t beat me at my best.  If I’d been in my normal fighting shape, I think the only chance Manny had would have been to nail me early as I was coming in, like he did. If he hadn’t have got me out of there in six rounds, I believe my work-rate and intensity would have rumbled him. As it was, for the only time in my career, I walked to the ring thinking I’m going to get beat here.”

Mayweather took over as Hatton’s trainer for the Paulie Malignaggi fight in November 2008 and the Hitman liked the outcome as he scored a knockout. So Hatton brought back Mayweather for the Pacquiao bout in May 2009. While Hatton said he learned a lot from Mayweather, he described the training camp for Pacquiao a disaster.

Hatton complained that Mayweather, who is righthanded, worked the mitts when it should’ve been a southpaw. Hatton said he did extra time with another trainer Lee Beard on the pads to simulate Pacquiao’s left-handed stance. “While he was offering me the wrong kind of padwork, he was also overtraining me, there were just no easy days,” recalled Hatton. “By the time I got out to Vegas, my weight was down much lower than it usually was at that stage. With three weeks to go, I was pretty much on weight but Floyd never put the brakes on. As the fight got nearer, I said to Lee, ‘I’ve got nothing left here, I feel drained.’ There is a stubborn side to me that if someone challenges me to do something, I’ll do it so I did it Floyd’s way. That ate me up after the fight.”

Hatton said his consolation was when Pacquiao visited Manchester on a press tour to hype their fight, he beat him at darts. “Manny challenged me to a game and, originally, the plan was to go to the Rovers Return pub on the Coronation Street set but at the last minute, we diverted to my local instead,” he related.

“I get there first so I’m waiting there with the camera crews, photographers and regulars for Manny to arrive. I’m dressed casually in my jeans and T-shirt, having a drink (non-alcoholic because I’m already in training) when the doors to the pub open. Manny walks in, beautifully dressed, suited and booted. For a second, the whole pub goes quiet and all eyes on him. It’s like an old-time Western when the fastest gunslinger in town walks into the saloon bar. Except we’re in a pub on the Hattersley estate.

“’Alright, Manny, how you doing? Do you need to borrow some darts?’ ‘No, I brought my own weapons,’ he replies and whips out a very small darts case from his inside pocket. ‘O-kaaay …’ Manny is a nice guy but like me, when it comes to sports, he’s very, very competitive. When he’s not boxing, he likes to play various other sports such as basketball, pool and darts and he takes them seriously. I find out later that when he got to his hotel the previous night, he put up a dartboard in his room and practiced for a few hours. A few weeks later, after a day’s sparring for our fight, he sponsors and plays in a $30,000 Pacmania darts tournament in L.A.

“But our challenge match is over just one leg of 501 up, so it’s whoever starts fastest will win. We have darts commentator John Gwynne dressed in a tux to introduce us and act as referee: ‘Welcome the challenger from the Philippines, it’s the PacMan – Manny Pacquiiiiaaaaooo! And here from Manchester, it’s Ricky ‘the Hitman’ Hattonnnn!” With home advantage and drawing on all my experience of playing darts in the Hyde and District League every Thursday night since I was about 20, I throw a decent 15-darter finishing on double two to emerge victorious in the Darts Battle of the East and West.

“’That’s the only thing he’s going to win,’ says his trainer Freddie Roach, loud enough to hear. He proved to be right but at least, I beat Manny at something.”


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