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HBO's ringside analysts weigh in on Hatton-Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton have been mostly smiles in the lead-up to Saturday night's fight. The smiles will go down as the gloves go on. (AP photo)
Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton have been mostly smiles in the lead-up to Saturday night's fight. The smiles will go down as the gloves go on. (AP photo)

Everyone is starting to get their picks in for Saturday night's fight, and the HBO team of Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward have spoken. Here are some excerpts, but they all have more analysis in the original article at

Steward says:

In Pacquiao's last two fights against bigger guys, he looked great. But David Diaz is the slowest man I have ever seen in my life, and Oscar was ridiculously unhealthy. If Oscar had trained the way he normally does and then he lost, I'd say okay, that shows Pacquiao can beat bigger guys. You can't fault Pacquiao for winning, but we have created him a lot bigger than some people think he is.


The crowd for this fight will be unbelievable. We're going to see an international explosion of emotions. I'm very excited. It's going to be a genuine 'big fight.' You have the entire European world market, as well as the Asian. You have two guys who are great for boxing. Pacquiao loves to be in the limelight and share his time and money with people. Ricky is the same kind of guy. These are fighters people can relate to. We are blessed to have them.

From Merchant:

The short version of the fight is, 'Can Hatton get through the early rounds and not get busted up and hurt?' He's very strong at this weight. We're talking about a guy who walks around at 170 to 180 pounds. But with strength versus quickness, quickness usually wins. Hatton has to do some damage himself in the early rounds, so he will have to be a bit more defensive and not get hit a lot.

And, finally, Lampley:

How do I see this fight playing out? I think in the first two rounds Hatton is going to see if his jab and boxing skills -- of which he is so proud -- are on the level of Pacquiao's; if he can fight a boxing match. If he can't then he is going to have to bull his way inside and lean on Pacquiao's chest and shoulders. The risk he takes in doing that is he might get caught by a hook or uppercut.

By the fifth or sixth round Hatton will be bleeding, and it will become an all-out war. I think the fight will be stopped on cuts. The hook and uppercut are what makes Pacquiao so difficult to fight. The left hand you expect and can see coming. The left hand is what made him extremely good. The right hand has made him great. With the development of the right hand, and his compact boxing style, Pacquiao needs to take fewer risks than before and is harder to hurt. I don't expect the fight to go the distance. Both guys' best formula would be to win by TKO.

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