Boxing: Ricky Hatton

Pacquiao: 'I love competition, I love to win'

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
2:06
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Two years removed from the most controversial fight of his 19-year professional career, Manny Pacquiao is focused on getting a chance to set the record straight against Timothy Bradley Jr.

The rematch, set for April 12 in Las Vegas (HBO PPV), marks the first time the fighters will meet since their June 2012 bout -- won by Bradley via split decision -- which produced some of the most contentious scorecards in modern history.

Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs), 35, enters the bout one fight removed from a wide unanimous-decision win over Brandon Rios in November -- a fight that served as a comeback for Pacquiao following his December 2012 knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.

At 35, how has your motivation to compete changed from earlier in your career?

My motivation is the same now as it was when I started my boxing career. I love competition and I love to win. When that stops, so does my professional boxing career. But I don't see that happening for a long time.

Because I am facing Tim Bradley again I am extra motivated for this fight. I may not have won the decision the first time we fought but I know I did not lose that fight. I want the world title he won from me back around my waist. I want to prove I am the better fighter.

Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune are asking more from me in this training camp than I have ever given before and as hard as that is to do, I am giving them everything they have asked of me. Too much is at stake for me and for my country. I want to end my career on a winning streak and against the best fighters.

No one has ever defeated Tim Bradley during his professional career. I want to be the first name in his loss column. It will not be easy. Nothing at the world championship level is easy. I still have the hunger and the desire to win and I appreciate Tim Bradley giving me this rematch to prove it. Unfortunately for him, on April 12, I will not be able to repay him that favor with kindness.




Pacquiao: 'I intend to win all the rounds' (Posted on March 20)


The perception is that you sacrificed punching power against Rios in favor of speed in order to outbox him. How much did the result of the Marquez fight impact your strategy against Rios? What will be your strategy against Bradley?

I was very happy with my performance against Brandon Rios. Speed has always been a major weapon for me and I used it throughout the fight against Rios for one simple reason -- it was working. The power is still there and I used it effectively against Rios to keep him off balance. [Trainer] Freddie [Roach] and I came up with the game plan to mix things up against Rios. I would utilize my speed and foot movement in boxing him to keep him off balance. Then when he would come in out of frustration I would land the power punches.

The one thing I learned from my fight against Marquez was patience. When I had him teetering I became reckless and went in to finish him. I was careless and he landed the perfect punch. That was learning a lesson the hard way. But I learned it. I still have the killer instinct. I am not afraid to use my power and go for the knockout. But I will remember the lesson I learned from my last fight with Marquez. Knockouts need to come naturally, you should not force them. But Freddie likes knockouts and I like to make Freddie happy.

I won at least 10 rounds against Tim Bradley the first time we fought. I intend to win all the rounds against him this time regardless of the length of the fight. He said I have lost my hunger and that my time is over. Everything I am doing in training camp is aimed at proving to him just how wrong he is. I have all the respect for Bradley and what he has accomplished but I have no fear of him. He has inspired me to exceed my previous performances inside the ring. If Bradley wants to meet the fighter who stopped Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, he's going to get his wish on April 12.

Looking back on 10 years at ringside

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
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Time flies, and last week’s festivities at the MGM Grand brought home a sudden realization that Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s master class on Saturday night came 10 years and one day after my first credentialed fight.

There were a fair few differences between that first fight and my latest: In 2003, my credential was red (signifying I rated only a bleacher seat) instead of ringside green, my affiliation was merely "freelance," and in the identifying photo my mouth was smiling and my hair wasn’t gray. But there were similarities, too: Both bouts were at the MGM, both involved the most popular boxer in the world at the time and both were the culmination of weeks of hype and publicity.

My memories of that first fight are as fresh as though it had been fought 10 months, rather than 10 years, ago, and the passage of time has spawned reflections on the numerous notable memories from a decade of being paid to watch fights.

So here’s a list of my top 10 (12, actually, because I kind of cheated) ringside recollections -- not necessarily the best fights (although some of them were terrific) but what, for me personally, have been my most memorable ringside experiences so far.

Shane Mosley W12 Oscar De La Hoya -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Sept. 13, 2003

Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya
Chris Polk/Getty ImagesShane Mosley edged Oscar De La Hoya for a decision win in 12 rounds in 2003.
Not exactly a ringside recollection, as I watched proceedings from the auxiliary section, but this was the first of what -- although I had no way of knowing it at the time -- would turn out to be more than a decade of professional prizefights for which I was credentialed.

From my seat in the bleachers, I thought the Golden Boy had eked out a decision in a good fight; most of those ringside, where the power of Mosley’s blows were more telling, seemed to agree with the official verdict. Personally, I most remember the thrill of experiencing my inaugural big-fight atmosphere, and the strange feeling of anticlimax on Sunday morning when it was all over.

Antonio Tarver TKO2 Roy Jones Jr. -- Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, May 15, 2004
The defining moment of postfight shock and awe. Jones had looked mortal in the first encounter between the two men, but that had widely been attributed to his struggles returning to 175 pounds after his brief and successful excursion to heavyweight. But Tarver had his number, and when he landed the big punch that marked the end of Jones’ era of dominance, the crowd responded with an initial roar, followed by a stunned silence, culminating in 12,000 people reaching simultaneously for their cellphones to tell friends, “Holy ****, Roy Jones just got knocked out!”

Diego Corrales TK10 Jose Luis Castillo -- Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, May 7, 2005

Jose Castillo and Diego
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesEverybody in boxing remembers the incredible fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo fight in Las Vegas in 2005.
Even if this fight had been a dud, it would for me have been memorable: The previous night, the Boxing Writers Association of America's annual dinner had concluded with one of the finest gatherings of past and present champions to stand on one stage; and Gordon Absher, then the Mandalay Bay’s PR guru, had indulged my literary bent by seating me next to the great Budd Schulberg on fight night. Seriously, how could it possibly get any better? Then Corrales and Castillo started throwing punches, and the 4,000 or so souls in the arena became bound together in witnessing one of the very greatest professional prizefights ever -- a fight that effectively ruined both the combatants while leaving an indelible memory on everyone fortunate enough to be there.

Manny Pacquiao TK10 Erik Morales -- Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Jan. 21, 2006
Manny Pacquiao KO3 Erik Morales -- Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nov. 18, 2006

For reasons I can’t quite remember, but presumably related to a lack of money, I watched the first tilt between these two on TV in my cabin in Alaska. The indelible memory of their second contest, apart from Pacquiao turning around a fight he was losing and storming to a stoppage win, was the unrelenting volume inside the arena, as rival Mexican and Filipino fight fans shouted themselves hoarse. I imagined it was like sticking your head next to a jet engine. The third was much the same, and at the end of that contest the feeling was of one man reaching the end of his career and another about to launch his into the stratosphere.

Floyd Mayweather TKO10 Ricky Hatton -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Dec. 8, 2007

Ah, the Brits. My people. So very many of them, so very drunk, and singing so very loudly. For a week, Las Vegas became Manchester with better weather and colder beer, as Hatton’s fans sang constantly to remind themselves how many Ricky Hattons there are; and even when that one Ricky Hatton was stopped in the 10th round, they sang and drank some more.

Antonio Margarito TKO11 Miguel Cotto -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, July 26, 2008
Miguel Cotto TKO10 Antonio Margarito -- Madison Square Garden, New York, Dec. 3, 2011

Miguel Cotto
AP Photo/ Ronda ChurchillAntonio Margarito demolished Miguel Cotto in their first fight, but then was suspended for alleged handwrap tampering.
During the buildup to the first fight, I was convinced that Cotto was on the verge of breaking through to the next level, to the very top echelons of pound-for-pound lists. And for much of the early going, the Puerto Rican appeared vastly superior to his opponent in every way, until Margarito ground him down and stopped him in what became a truly violent brawl. The suspicions that emerged afterward, following Margarito’s suspension for alleged handwrap tampering, led to a febrile atmosphere in New York three years later. The fact that Margarito was essentially a one-eyed man being served up for punishment concerned the Puerto Ricans in the arena not one bit, and the guttural roar when Cotto glared at his beaten foe segued into dancing on Seventh Avenue afterward.

Manny Pacquiao W12 Joshua Clottey -- Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, March 13, 2010

The fight itself was kinda meh. Clottey spent most of his time impersonating a turtle as Pacquiao bang-bang-banged away. But there was a real sense of occasion about it all: Jerry Jones, Cowboys Stadium, that scoreboard … One can only wonder how immense it all would have been had the man across the ring been, as originally intended, not Joshua Clottey but Floyd Mayweather.

Lamont Peterson W12 Amir Khan -- Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2011.

For all but seven of the nearly 20 years I’ve been in the United States, I’ve lived in the District of Columbia or its northern Virginia suburbs, so to have an HBO fight in what is effectively my hometown, and with a hometown fighter -- a hometown fighter who had grown up sleeping on the streets near the arena where he was now fighting, even –- scoring an upset win over a big star, with a fevered crowd screaming “D.C., D.C., D.C.” … it was all very cool, even if a pair of point deductions by an over-officious referee (to say nothing of the later revelations of Peterson’s synthetic testosterone intake) fouled the punch bowl.

Juan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Dec. 8, 2012

Manny Pacquiao
Zumapress/Icon SMIIn his fourth attempt, Juan Manuel Marquez finally beat Manny Pacquiao.
If much of the world greeted the buildup to their fourth encounter with a comparative shrug, the predominantly Mexican crowd viewed it with eager anticipation, desperate for Marquez to finally secure the official victory they felt he had three times been unjustly denied. It did not matter to them that Marquez entered the ring looking like the Incredible Hulk; they wanted a win, and when it came -– with Pacquiao dropping face-first like a stone -- the tide of emotion that crashed through the arena was a mixture of delirious joy and inconsolable grief, with the fevered wailing of a distraught Jinkee Pacquiao a powerful reminder of the realities of what is at stake when two men enter the ring.

Floyd Mayweather W12 Canelo Alvarez -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Sept. 14, 2013

From the massive throng that spilled out of the MGM Grand lobby to watch the fighters’ arrivals on Tuesday, to the crowd that stood three-deep to catch a glimpse of even the undercard fighters working out the next day, to the incomparable weigh-in experience in front of 12,200 fans -- and, of course, the enthusiastic but ultimately futile cries of “si se puede” and “Ca-ne-lo” during the main event -- this was, from beginning to end, almost certainly the most intense big fight week I’ve yet experienced.

Note to the “this was boxing’s last big fight” crowd: At the time of my first fight, nobody would have predicted that in 10 years’ time, Mayweather Jr. would be the man carrying the sport on his back, as De La Hoya did before him, as Mike Tyson did before him. Someone out there is boxing’s next big superstar. He may already be on HBO, he may be fighting undercard six-rounders, he may not yet have turned pro. But when he hits the highest heights, his biggest fights will be true events, just as much as Mayweather’s are now. And if I’m fortunate, I’ll be there covering them.

The dreaded comeback claims Hatton by KO

November, 24, 2012
11/24/12
7:43
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Ricky HattonScott Heavey/Getty ImagesFormer titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko, left, sent Ricky Hatton back to retirement with one punch.
MANCHESTER, England -- The dreaded comeback. Is there a more painful word in sports? How often has a champion returned for one last hoorah, only to discover Father Time in the opposite corner?

Ricky Hatton came back Saturday night. But it lasted just less than nine rounds. In front of 16,000 possessed Brits in his hometown of Manchester, England, Hatton's fantasy revival was obliterated by the more-than-capable Vyacheslav Senchenko via a one-punch knockout at the Manchester Arena.

It was to Hatton's credit that he matched himself up against the Ukrainian, who just seven months ago was an undefeated welterweight titlist. Yet, despite Hatton edging into an ugly points lead in the opening four or five rounds, the tide soon changed as Senchenko put his fears behind him, grew in stature and landed with more frequency.

With just seconds left in the ninth round of this nontitle 10-rounder, Senchenko smashed Hatton with a left hook to the body straight out of Hatton's personal scrapbook of career knockouts. As soon as the shot landed, Hatton -- who also had been out-tagged in the three previous rounds -- screamed in pain before collapsing onto all fours. He was unable to beat the count of referee Victor Loughlin.

For the first time, the capacity home crowd -- who sold out the venue long before Hatton's opponent or undercard was even considered -- fell deathly silent.

Hatton had shown glimpses of the style and tenacity that led him to world title reigns in two weight divisions -- the constant bobbing and weaving on his toes, the menacing tick of pushing his left fist into his right palm, and the smooth left body shot and lead right cross. But the menacing, mauling, stinging Hatton was nowhere to be seen.

His timing was way off, of course, the least to be expected after three and a half years in the boxing wilderness. But it was the suicidal lack of head movement and his inability to maintain any real concerted pressure -- the type that overwhelmed so many during his pomp -- that left the door open for Senchenko.

Hatton's face -- long before the referee's count of nine -- told the true story of a veteran champion who had bitten off far more than he could chew. But he has only himself to blame. Hatton quite literally had his pick of opponents for this fight. And, on paper at least, Senchenko was tailor-made for him. That long torso was a big target left wide open by his classic European stand-up style. And yet the "opponent" tore up the script and used it as confetti as he danced from the ring.

A win Saturday night would have set up Hatton for a rematch with welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi, who took the belt from Senchenko in April. The New Yorker was ringside, working for Showtime, and looked as devastated as anyone when Hatton crumbled. After all, Hatton's rude awakening probably cost Malignaggi close to a $5 million payday.

Also gone for Hatton is any thought of a highly lucrative bout with fellow Brit Amir Khan, which would have sold out a 40,000-seat stadium in the U.K.

But after Hatton's typically heartfelt retirement statement to the adoring British media Saturday, perhaps he's finally ready to close this chapter on his career -- undoubtedly Britain's most celebrated and successful in half a century.

Losing to Manny Pacquiao inside of two rounds never sat right with him. He never could quite come to terms with it. He wanted one last chance to go out on his own terms. But now, thankfully, Hatton appears to have made peace with the fact his time is over.

Hopefully the demons that have haunted him since the Pacquiao defeat three and a half years ago will now leave Hatton alone for good. And perhaps now "The Hitman" will find life as a promoter, boyfriend and father rewarding enough to satisfy his thirst for success.

After all, he's earned it.
On Saturday, boxing fans will celebrate the Mexican festival of Cinco de Mayo by watching an American and a Puerto Rican do battle in the Nevada desert. More than anybody else, Oscar De La Hoya -- an American of Mexican descent -- popularized Cinco de Mayo (or the Saturday nearest to it) as a big fight weekend in Las Vegas, but since his retirement, the aforementioned American (Floyd Mayweather Jr.) and the Philippines' Manny Pacquiao have been the date's biggest pugilistic stars. Hey, imagine how crazy it would be if the two of them ever ... no, let's not go there. We have an actual fight to look forward to this weekend, a title bout between Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, and in the meantime, here's a reminder of some of the best May 5(ish) fights in Sin City's recent history.

5. Julio Cesar Chavez TD8 Frankie Randall, May 7, 1994, MGM Grand
Earlier in the year, Randall's points victory in the same venue brought Chavez his first official loss, in his 91st professional bout. The rematch was closely fought, but when Chavez said he was unable to continue after being cut by an accidental clash of heads, he was declared the winner on a technical decision (aided by a WBC rule that the accidental butter always be deducted a point; without that stipulation, the result would have been a split-decision draw.) The fight was the main event of a Don King card called "Revenge: the Rematches" that featured Terry Norris, Simon Brown, Julian Jackson, Gerald McClellan, Azumah Nelson and Jesse James Leija in perhaps the most stacked pay-per-view broadcast in boxing history.

4. Oscar De La Hoya TKO6 Ricardo Mayorga, May 6, 2006, MGM Grand
De La Hoya's final victory on the Las Vegas stage, and what a stirring one it was. Mayorga had genuinely infuriated the Golden Boy with his prefight taunts, and the vastly superior former Olympian punished him for it, dropping him once in the first and twice in the sixth. At his peak, De La Hoya brought an unmatched electricity to fight crowds, and this night was no exception. The atmosphere was off the hook, and as De La Hoya climbed the ropes to salute his fans in victory, it felt at the time like the perfect coda to a Hall of Fame career.

3. Manny Pacquiao D12 Juan Manuel Marquez, May 8, 2004, MGM Grand
The first installment of an intense and ongoing rivalry almost didn't make it past the first round of this encounter. Pacquiao, fresh off his shocking annihilation of Marco Antonio Barrera, flattened Barrera's countryman three times in that opening frame. Somehow, Marquez survived and fought his way back into the contest. Two fights and eight years later, Marquez remains Pacquiao's nemesis, and vice versa.

2. Manny Pacquiao KO2 Ricky Hatton, May 2, 2009, MGM Grand
This year was Pacquiao's annus mirabilis, in which he followed his 2008 demolition of De La Hoya with stoppage wins over Cotto and, previously, Hatton. The Englishman was down twice in the first round, unable to escape Pacquiao's right hooks, but was working his way back into the contest until PacMan uncorked a thunderbolt of a left hand at the end of the second to leave him spread-eagle on the canvas.

1. Diego Corrales TKO10 Jose Luis Castillo, May 7, 2005, Mandalay Bay
One of the greatest fights of all time -- heck, one could make a case that it was the greatest fight of all time -- will be forever remembered for its conclusive 10th round. Castillo put down Corrales hard and seconds later knocked him down again. Corrales spat out his mouthpiece and earned a point deduction for doing so, but it bought him precious time while the mouthpiece was cleaned, time that trainer Joe Goossen used to tell Corrales, "You'd better f---ing get inside of him now." And so Corrales did, summoning the strength to crack Castillo with a perfect right hand and then tearing into him on the ropes until referee Tony Weeks stopped the contest.

Corrales never won another fight. Two years later, to the very day, he was dead. But his memory, and the memory of his greatest moment in a boxing ring, will live forever.
Corrales & Mayweather Tom Hauck/Getty ImagesDiego Corrales gave Floyd Mayweather Jr. a run at the MGM Grand in 2001 before falling late.
Saturday's challenge of junior middleweight champ Miguel Cotto will be Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s sixth successive fight at the MGM Grand and his ninth overall. Here's one man's take on Mayweather's five most memorable appearances at what has become boxing's marquee venue:

5. Sept. 17, 2011: Victor Ortiz

Ortiz was at a high point, coming off his dramatic win over Andre Berto, but he was no match for either Mayweather or his own lack of judgment. Frustrated by his inability to pierce Mayweather's defense, Ortiz launched his head into his opponent's in Round 4, prompting referee Joe Cortez to call time out and deduct a point. When Cortez called time in, Ortiz was focused more on hugging Mayweather to apologize than on defending himself; Mayweather clocked an unprepared Ortiz with a left and a right, putting him down for the count.

4. April 20, 2002: Jose Luis Castillo

Notable for being a fight that, in the eyes of many observers, Mayweather lost. Mexico's Castillo was able to pressure Mayweather for periods and take him out of his comfort zone, but the American won a unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards, and he did so again in the rematch across the street at Mandalay Bay.

3. Dec. 8, 2007: Ricky Hatton

Unforgettable. An estimated 30,000 Brits descended on the Strip, all but emptying the MGM of beer and constantly reminding everyone that there was "only onnnne Ricky Hatton." That one Ricky Hatton was likely seeing two Floyd Mayweathers after walking into a check hook that sent him face-first into the ring post in the 10th. And still the Brits kept singing ...

2. May 5, 2007: Oscar De La Hoya

Was this really five years ago already? Overdramatically dubbed "The Fight to Save Boxing," this was the event that turned Mayweather into a superstar. Overcoming early resistance from a stiff Golden Boy jab, Mayweather scored a split decision win in a contest that secured a record 2.4 million pay-per-view buys.

1. Jan. 20, 2001: Diego Corrales

Like Mayweather, Corrales was an undefeated 130-pound titlist, and there were plenty of prognosticators who expected him to prove too strong. But you can't hurt what you can't hit, and in what remains Mayweather's most sublime performance, Corrales could hardly lay a glove on his rival. Mayweather, by contrast, couldn't miss his, dropping Corrales five times before Chico's corner stopped the contest in the 10th.
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LAS VEGAS -- It wasn't the first time a crowd had gathered in the MGM Grand to welcome Floyd Mayweather Jr. during fight week, and it likely won't be the last.

Tuesday's throng wasn't nearly as large a gathering as the one that greeted him and Ricky Hatton almost five years ago, but the uniquely Mancunian tsunami that swept over Las Vegas that week defies comparison. Still, there was a sizable British contingent awaiting Mayweather this time, too, and when he looked out from the stage, he sensed their presence instantly, shouting out to them and leading them in a brief rendition of their version of "Winter Wonderland" -- with some slight adjustments, of course. ("There's only one May-weather," he began, and the fans seemed more than happy to play along.)

Saturday's card is dubbed "Ring Kings," and so, one by one, the main protagonists -- Shane Mosley and Saul Canelo Alvarez, who tangle in the co-main event, and Mayweather's opponent, Miguel Cotto -- took their turns upon arriving to sit atop a throne on a dais in the MGM Grand lobby. There, they answered questions from cruiserweight B.J. Flores, who was hosting a live stream of proceedings and who showed the poise and timing of a media veteran, before addressing some TV cameras and disappearing to sit with a phalanx of writers.

Mayweather was last to arrive, 45 minutes after the advertised time, and he took almost that long to make his way through the crowd, signing every autograph he could and soaking up the adoration. Instead of sitting on the stage, he commandeered it, a master showman in his element. And when it was his turn to talk to the TV crews, he wasn't hurried or anxious to move along. He knew full well that this was his show, that it was all about him and that it would move at whatever speed he wanted it to. I took up position behind ESPN's Bernardo Osuna, relaxed and confident that I would get my time to ask all the questions I wanted.

I hadn't counted on the fact that Mayweather might generously be described as having a low boredom threshold. Once Bernardo had finished, I moved into position, but Mayweather had gone, taking off across the stage to immerse himself once more in the adoring throng.

We watched his route through the crowd -- a task made considerably easier by the enormous specimens of humanity who were the bodyguards walking immediately behind him -- hopped down from the stage into his path, smiled and caught his attention. One never knows which Floyd will emerge in an interview: Will he be angry and petulant, happy and charming, thoughtful and expansive? Today, he was feeling too much love to be the former. Instead, he could be found a short distance from Column B and far off from Column C, not necessarily answering the questions he was asked, but holding forth in the way he wanted, the way that would best sell the pay-per-view.

He smiled his big smile into the camera and disappeared again into the crowd, his location easily determined by the wave of sound that greeted him from each new knot of fans, until the lobby fell quiet, and he was gone.

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