There’s only one Manny Pacquiao. We haven’t witnessed such a boxing marvel as this humble, smiling destroying machine. The idol and inspiration of a nation, a wonder of the world, the blindingly fast, atomic-fisted Manny Pacquiao proved last night in emphatic style that he is without a doubt the greatest warrior on the planet today.
Ricky Hatton, never beaten before at 140 pounds, was made to look like a journeyman pug by this lethal assassin. It was a brutal mismatch from the first bell, like watching a bobcat carve up a blind-folded bulldog. All the technical coaching advices from Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya, who stood in Hatton’s corner, offered absolutely nothing to trouble this amazing Filipino.
Even Floyd Mayweather, the pound-for-pound pretender, calculated that it would be a competitive fight and couldn’t name a winner. After seeing Hatton flattened in less than two rounds, even the talented but timid Mayweather must now be having serious apprehensions about ever wanting to step into a ring with Pacquiao.
Because Pacquiao is one of those rare, supernatural athletes who seems to be capable of producing magic. Pacquiao is almost like an indescribable force, with the support and love and inspiration from millions of his countrymen, that actually seems to be still improving and growing more powerful with each contest.
“I’m inspired to focus to win the fight because millions of Filipinos will be watching,” says the humble warrior shortly before the match without a trace of malice or conceit.
That friendly smile and disposition disappears though once Pacquiao steps through the ropes. When he goes down to his knee to pray in a corner, the artist LeRoy Neiman comments, “He’s only praying that he doesn’t kill his opponent.”
With Hopkins, De La Hoya, Mosley and thousands of Brits standing with him, Hatton looks as ready as he can be. When the first bell rings, Larry Merchant says, “They are warrior kings with armies of fans who follow them to the battlefield. Now they will be alone in the battle.”
Within a minute, everyone can see Pacquiao is quicker, the more fluid mover, and by far the more accurate hitter. Two separate blows drop Hatton twice in the first round. But the bulldog is determined and those setbacks impel him to try harder. But Hatton’s urgency only hastens his destruction. In the blink of an eye, a pinpoint perfect left hand to the jaw transforms in an instant the ferocious Hatton into a lifeless form. Flat on the canvas Hatton, who prepared for two months for this evening, suddenly has no idea where he is.
“That’s as convincing as you can get,” LeRoy Neiman says. “He’s so effective. What he intends to do, he does it.”
When it was all over, having performed one of his most impressive triumphs, Pacquiao did not sound the least bit arrogant or full of himself when he spoke with Larry Merchant. “I expected my right hook was going to be dangerous for him…I’m satisfied. Nothing personal. I just do my job. I’m always doing my best in the ring. For the people to enjoy.”
Pacquiao’s legendary coach Freddie Roach said, “(Manny) can fight anybody…(Hatton) doesn’t have the ability to adjust.”
Emanuel Steward was another very impressed ringside observer. “This Manny Pacquiao is something else. All the great fights he’s been in. He can do everything, that’s what makes him so complicated. He can do it all. He is the pound-for-pound champion as far as 122-140. He hasn’t ducked ANYBODY.”
That was an obvious dig at Floyd Mayweather, the self-proclaimed best fighter, who, as everyone knows, has no interest to fight, or if you will, ducked and dodged Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.
Larry Merchant also took a shot at Mayweather, with some heavy sarcasm. “I’d like to credit Mayweather’s perspicacity in choosing opponents. He’s always been smarter outside the ring than he’s been in the ring. Now he’s not interested in fighting Mosley. Of course he didn’t want to fight Margarito. He’s an excellent fighter but he’s real smart on who to and who NOT to fight.”
Better be careful there Larry, Mayweather might call you a racist again like he did last year for daring to criticize his handpicking ways.
But despite Mayweather’s piggybacking off Pacquiao’s name this weekend by announcing his return to the ring from hiding, to face Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18, this was Manny Pacquiao’s night. This was another example of the unbelievable spectacular excitement that boxing can create when you watch a true, natural, genuine, superstar champion phenomenon like Manny Pacquiao at his very best.
But the thing is, the best of Manny Pacquiao may be still yet to come. And that’s an exciting prospect for the sport of boxing.
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