SPORTS

Hatton: Floyd Will Win

On Sunday, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will take part in the richest fight in history in Las Vegas. With a live gate of £48.7m and pay-per-revenue expected to be
29 Apr 2015 10:11
Hatton: Floyd  Will Win

On Sunday, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will take part in the richest fight in history in Las Vegas.

With a live gate of £48.7m and pay-per-revenue expected to be in the region of £250m, the fighters will walk away with about £200m between them. Not bad for less than an hour’s work.

Even British legend Ricky Hatton struggled to get his hands on one – and he fought both of them.

In 2007 Hatton was followed by 30,000 British fans to Vegas, before Mayweather stopped him in the 10th round. Two years later, Pacquiao knocked Hatton out in two. Both bouts took place at the MGM Grand.

When it comes to Mayweather-Pacquiao, Hatton knows what he’s talking about, which is why BBC Sport caught up with him at his gym in Hyde, Manchester, to ask him to break down the fight.

A boon for boxing

At one point I thought the fight was never going to happen, which would have been a tragedy for the sport. Boxing has so much competition from other sports now, including mixed martial arts, which is massive. So boxing most definitely needed this fight, it would have been very damaging if it hadn’t happened.

Mayweather has won world titles at five different weights, Pacquiao six, so it’s a fight between two of the greatest boxers in history. Boxing is back in the spotlight, on the biggest stage of all, and even people who aren’t boxing fans are talking about it.

It’s got a clash of styles and a clash of personalities – good guy versus bad guy. You can never comprehend the numbers involved, but if that’s what they’re worth, good luck to them.

We’ll still be talking about this fight in 30 or 40 years’ time, just like we’re still talking about the Ali-Frazier or Hagler-Hearns fights. Just as a boxing fan I’m excited. But the fact I boxed both of them makes me a keener observer than most.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has been up against Mayweather before and been beaten by him [Roach was in Oscar de la Hoya’s corner when Mayweather outpointed him in 2007] so he will have been eating, drinking and sleeping Floyd for many years.

If anyone has the right tactics, it’s Freddie – and he’ll know that going for the knockout is not the way to beat Mayweather.

Are both men on the slide?

Mayweather might have slowed down ever so slightly in recent years. He certainly wasn’t at his best in his last two fights against Marcos Maidana. The Argentine is a very good fighter but he’s a bit of a plodder and still managed to land with a lot.

When Pacquiao got sparked by Juan Manuel Marquez , a lot of people thought his career was over, because it was such a horrendous knockout. But in his three fights since he’s looked a little bit better each time. There are certainly no doubts about his stamina, despite the number of fights he’s had (64) and the fact he’s 36.

People are complaining that it should have happened five years ago but they should just be happy it’s happening at all, because we nearly lost it completely. And I think Pacquiao suffering that heavy knockout against Marquez and Mayweather not looking his old self of late actually makes it more interesting.

The heart says Manny…

Who do I want to win the fight? Pacquiao in a heart-beat. In fact, as soon as I get to Vegas, I’m sticking my money on Pacquiao. He’s a humble guy, with a good sense of humour, and is very grateful for the support he gets from his fans.

As for Mayweather, I don’t think he’s bothered about impressing the crowd or the TV viewers, he’s only bothered about winning and getting paid.

That’s why fans will never hold him in the same esteem as boxing greats Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns or Sugar Ray Leonard, even though he’s probably better than all of them. Mayweather will go down as an all-time great, but after he retires he will disappear off the face of the earth, he won’t be remembered in the same way.

He recently said he was better than Muhammad Ali and he’s certainly up there with him. But it’s totally disrespectful to say you’re better than one of the greatest men of all time. Keep it to yourself, Floyd.

…but the head says Floyd

If Pacquiao fights the way I think he should – using his feet to get in and out – it won’t make for a dust-up, which is why I have mixed feelings as to whether it will live up to the hype. Floyd might have to be the hunter for a change and it could become a chess match, with both men showing each other a lot of respect.

Pacquiao has all the attributes to beat Mayweather – if anyone is going to beat Mayweather it will be someone with similar hand speed who is a southpaw. So Pacquiao will definitely cause problems, it will be Mayweather’s toughest task yet.

But after a few rounds, Mayweather will do what he does best and suss things out. He always manages to adapt his style for the opponent he’s facing and always finds a way to win. Love him or loathe him, he’s a genius.

I’m picking Mayweather to win on points. It will be a very close fight, nip and tuck, with almost nothing in it. But Mayweather will finish with his nose in front.




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