With all the hype surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight title win over Tim Bradley last week, Ricky Hatton has stated in his column for the Manchester Evening News that he always wondered how his fight with the Filipino would have turned out if he was at his best.
There is no doubt that the Pacman will go down as one of the greatest fighters of his generation, and Hatton, reminiscing about his defeat against him, believes that things could have gone a lot differently that night.
It is well documented that the Hitman had various issues at his training camp in the build up to one of the biggest fights of his career and he admits that he probably could have done with another week's rest prior to the bout.
Not that that would have ensured him of victory over Pacquiao, but he feels it would have given him a much better chance.
“If I could turn back the clock I would have said, ‘Listen, I’m knackered. I need a week off.’ I’m not saying I would have beaten Pacquiao that night but I would have had a better crack of the whip.
“In one of the biggest fights of your career, you don’t want to be thinking ‘what if.’
“I can look back on the Mayweather fight and think I didn’t do too bad. But with Pacquiao I will always wonder ‘what if he got me at my best?’ I think I could have beaten him in my Kostya Tszyu era – I honestly do.
“Kostya was every bit as big a puncher as Manny and I was young, unbeaten and fresh. I didn’t have the miles on the clock and I could walk through walls against Kostya. I’d like to think I could have done that against Manny.
“By the time I fought him I’d put a lot of miles on the clock. Of course, there is always the chance that with someone as reckless as me that I could still walk on to one of his shots.”
There had been suggestions that Pacquiao was past it following his shocking KO at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez last year, and after 19 years as a professional, defeats like that are not easy to come back from.
Hatton knows all too well about this after having to recover from KO’s himself against both Mayweather and the Pacman, and he has the upmost respect for the 35-year-old for getting back in the ring and looking as fearless as ever.
He said: “He deserves credit just for getting back in the ring after the Marquez defeat. I know how hard it is to come back from a brutal KO. Manny did that to me and it was crushing.
“I wanted to come back but I couldn’t. That’s why I’ve got to take my hat off to him. I can remember how I felt the first time I was knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“My first fight afterwards was against Juan Lazcano at the City of Manchester Stadium. Every time I got punched I felt like I would wobble. Mayweather was my first professional defeat and I took it really, really hard.
“You ask yourself if you should call it a day. Then the first time you get clipped in a fight after that – even if there is nothing wrong – you feel it that bit more.
“I felt much better after the Lazcano fight and after I beat Paulie Malignaggi I felt fearless again.”
Though, after those wins came the crushing defeat to Pacquiao, which was his first at Light-welterweight and signaled the Mancunian fighter to hang up his gloves.
Although, Hatton did attempt to make a comeback in September 2012 against Vyacheslav Senchenko, but a left-hook to the body sent him down for the count in the ninth round. After that fight he announced that he would be quitting the sport for good.
Now, as a M.E.N columnist, the Hitman states that he has always rated Mayweather as a better fighter than his pound-for-pound nemesis Pacquiao.
“Personally, I thought Mayweather would win if the two of them ever fought. I thought that even before Pacquiao lost to Bradley and Marquez – but more so now,” said Hatton.
“Still, that takes nothing away from him. Legacies are made from how you come back from defeats and his story-book is still open.
“He is already certain to go down as one of the greats.”
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