THE PREDICTION PAGE: Pacquiao or Hatton? Weigh in!

BY Michael Woods ON April 29, 2009
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Predictions are like children. Parents crow over their golden offspring, boasting about their exploits and brilliance. With their less stellar spawn, parents aren’t as inclined to spread the word, and inform the world about their sub-stellar kid. So it goes with predictions. You thought Winky Wright would have too much experience for Paul Williams, did you? Probably didn’t walk around parading your severely errant prognostication.

Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs), the humble hitter from the Philippines, a multi-division conqueror who impresses as much with his philanthropic exploits as his pugilistic ones, will rumble with another beloved boxing Everyman, 30-year-old Brit Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs). They glove up in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 2nd, and no one knows what will go down in that ring. We all have a feeling we think we know what will unfold in that ring, we all have our pet theories on what traits and tactics will carry the day. But nobody I’ve met can actually see the future, and not one of even our superlative TSS Universe inhabitants can boast a perfect record in crystal ball gazing.

Me, I believe that these three factors will loom largest, and will carry the 30-year-old Pacquiao to a unanimous decision victory.

1)    The Lefty Thing-I see Ricky getting dinged by Manny’s straight left hand time and again, and never being able to adjust to the Filipino’s southpaw stance, no matter how much he and Floyd Senior have worked on it.

2)    Speedy Delivery-If and when Pacquiao and Hatton launch simultaneously, I see Pacman’s toss getting there first. Will his speed edge “kill?” No, I don’t see Manny being able to do what Floyd Jr did, render Hatton discombobulated to the point that referee Kenny Bayless will be counting the Hitman out, or calling for a stop. But Manny’s supposed speed edge will give him an edge in punches landed, and will impress the judges enough to support a UD.

3)    Fight The Power-Hatton will be the biggest man Manny has ever fought, the strongest foe he’s ever tangled with, right? That’s conventional wisdom. But I don’t think all that much of Hatton’s pop, especially against a mobile pugilist like Manny, who features such stellar footwork. Yes, I know Hatton has the better KO percentage (70% to 68%). But I think Hatton needs a KO or stoppage to secure a win more than Manny does, and I cannot really see him pulling that off.

Now, you notice that last sentence I wrote…”I cannot really see…” I equivocated, because I know enough to know that I don’t know it all. Not even close. This is all guesswork. For all I know, Ricky eats a bad batch of Shepherd’s Pie the night before the bout, prepared by a chef with Swine Flu, and he enters the ring in a diminished state…

If I am correct, and my guess..I mean, my prediction pans out, I will try and not crow about it, as if my kid just got into Harvard, early admission. Because I know full well that a bucketload of other predictions over the years haven’t come to fruition. Anyway, guessing is fun. Please fire away with your prediction for Pacquiao/Hatton.

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