There is just an incredible volume of news out there in the aftermath of Saturday night’s junior welterweight championship fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, ranging from items on SportsCenter coverage of the fight to where Pacquiao felt the majestic knockout punch he landed to the positively evil behavior by Hatton trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. I couldn’t begin to comment on all of it, but I’d like to trade some thoughts with you on the high points, or at least the most interesting points.
(I was gonna include all this in my Quick Jabs column, but it was getting super mammoth, so I had to break it out. The Quick Jabs column will hit the ‘net no later than Friday afternoon, if you’re hankering for some non-Pacquiao-Hatton news.)
First, let’s start with the Pacquiao-related tidbits.
- Here’s how massive Pacquiao’s knockout punch was: He has alternately said he felt the punch up to his elbow, and on his knuckles. The original Manila Bulletin article that reported the elbow comment isn’t accessible online anymore, but here’s the article. ESPN had the knuckles quote (h/t www.twitter.com/unsilent who called it, correctly, “Bad. Ass”). Pacquiao’s knockout got 70% of the vote for the SportsCenter “Image of the Week.” So maybe boxing still matters a teensy bit to someone, and the mainstream media should continue to up its coverage of our adorable little niche sport, huh, maybe?
- Once again, there was no crime in the Philippines when Pacquiao fought. (Here’s the link, but it’s not working — what’s up, Manila Bulletin?) There were, however, the usual assortment of heart attacks. Pacquiao got his own national day from his win, although everyone still has to go to work. Of course, the place that gave him a national day asked him to stay away so he didn’t give anyone swine flu, but Pacquiao ignored the Philippine health secretary and left anyway. This is an extraordinary figure we have in our sport right now, y’all. It doesn’t matter anymore if the only thing he says in interviews is “I fight to make people happy,” because everything else about him is so the opposite of bland. Hell, even the robotic repetition of “I fight to make people happy” is growing on me, because it’s so sincere and it’s like a running gag on David Letterman or something.
- As for his next opponent, promoter Bob Arum isn’t ruling out a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. bout, even though he said he refuses to deal with Mayweather adviser Al Haymon because “negotiations have to be with somebody I trust. I don’t want to deal with any sleazebags.” That could be an impediment, because, well, Haymon is Mayweather’s adviser, and they’ve been doing business together a long time. Another option: Pacquiao will be sitting ringside for Miguel Cotto’s June bout against Joshua Clottey. Cotto says he wants the fight and believes he can box and move against Pacquiao. We’ll see. At this point, I think of Cotto as a tougher test than Hatton, but I thought Hatton would be a tougher test than he was, so I guess Pacquiao by 6th round knockout makes as much sense as anything. But it would be at welterweight to give Pacquiao a shot at another title belt in another division — seven, to be exact, which no one has ever done — and Cotto is a sturdy welter. Roach, curiously, keeps talking up Shane Mosley, strictly from the standpoint of who would be most difficult for Manny. I kind of see the argument — Mosley is fast, has a good chin, and is bigger — but it seems like the bout out there that would make the least money. Roach, though, says Mosley doesn’t like the idea of coming down to 142 lbs., which is where Pacquiao would want him. Mosley at 142, but Cotto at 147? I don’t get it. Last I checked, Mosley had a belt, too.
- Less likely next opponents include Edwin Valero, who says he’s been promised a shot at Pacquiao by their common
promoter Arum as a condition for joining Arum’s promotional stable. But no date or time limit has been set, and Valero says the only way he doesn’t get a shot at Pacquiao is if he retires, which he might do after one more fight. I don’t want to be mean here, but is Valero daft? What kind of “promise” is that? I honestly find myself laughing at the poor guy, although not too loudly, because if I were making a list of guys in
boxing I’d want to get knocked out by, he’d be extremely low on the list. And he’s not even the funniest man in this bullet point. That’s junior middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who says he wants Pacquiao. If Hatton is knocked out in two rounds, I’m guessing the mere wind from a Pacquiao punch knocks out JCC Jr. I don’t know why Arum keeps talking this up, saying, as he did, that Pacquiao-Chavez would be bigger than Pacquiao-Mayweather. Another guy who won’t be fighting Pacquiao is sparring partner and fellow Roach stablemate Amir Khan, says Roach. And Arum is yet again dismissing Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III, but he’s using outdated arguments that Mexican fans don’t like Marquez so the fight wouldn’t sell. Mexican fans love the guy now, as I understand it. And if Marquez somehow beats Mayweather, bet your ass on Pacquiao-Marquez III making good business sense.
And now the Hatton tidbits.
- Floyd Mayweather, Sr., the man’s trainer, still hasn’t been in touch with Hatton since the knockout, and Steve Kim, a reliable reporter, has provided an account of what he did right after the fight: “What I found very interesting – and disturbing to be honest with you – was that after the fight as I moved my way along press row to the aisle where the fighters make their way back to the dressing rooms, while Hatton groggily walked to the bowels of the arena, he was not accompanied by Mayweather Sr. In fact, Mayweather Sr. wouldn’t make his way for another 10 minutes or so. And as he did, he was taking pictures, signing autographs and smiling the whole way as if he didn’t have a care in the world.” Mayweather has probably guaranteed he will never, ever, ever get a real training gig again with this shit. And I hope he doesn’t. I simply have never seen a trainer behave so reprehensibly in the aftermath of a fight where his boxer lost.
- Hatton keeps saying he might have won the fight if it had gone a few more rounds. I love Ricky but that’s delusional. He was outclassed from the moment the bell rang and under no circumstances does he win that fight. Furthermore, it’s just kind of funny. It’s kind of like saying, “Our team could have won the softball game, if only the umpire hadn’t called a halt to it because of the mercy rule.” Well, I SUPPOSE it’s CONCEIVABLE that if Hatton didn’t get absolutely separated so badly from his consciousness that I worried he was going to be in a coma the rest of his life, he MIGHT have won.
- Oscar De La Hoya wants Hatton to keep fighting, but Roach and Carl Froch don’t. It’s worth noting De La Hoya makes money off Hatton. Word is that Hatton’s leaning toward a farewell fight in Great Britain, which I support. Lightweight Michael Katsidis wants it, and apparently there has been some discussion about it already. It’s not a terrible choice; I’ve worried about Hatton fighting a puncher in his next fight, but Katsidis is smaller than Hatton.
- Remember how I speculated that there was something wrong with Hatton’s weight? I turn to Ring’s Doug Fisher: “Here’s some insider info for ya: Hatton had eight to 10 12-ounce bottles of electrolyte-replacement drinks set up just behind the weigh-in stage that he downed in succession immediately after weighing in. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that ain’t a good sign.” Once again, I point this out not to dismiss Pacquiao’s win, because it’s an exceptionally good one under any circumstances. But it does take a tiny bit of the shine off it. That’s all. Just a little.