Sunday, May 3, 2009
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao was dominating. Ricky Hatton was left helpless.
Pacquiao cemented his claim to being the best pound-for-pound boxer Saturday night with a spectacular performance that ended with Hatton sprawled on the canvas after a devastating left hand to the head late in the second round.
Coming off an overwhelming win against Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao was even better against Hatton, knocking him down two times in the first round before stopping him with a left hand that dropped Hatton for good in the 140-pound title bout.
The referee Kenny Bayless took one look at Hatton and declared the fight over at 2:59 of the round.
“I didn’t have to count,” Bayless said.
Pacquiao needed less than half a round to figure out Hatton, hitting him with a flurry of punches midway through the first round before putting him down with a right hook to the head. Hatton got up at the count of eight but Pacquiao landed another flurry and dropped him again just before the end of the round.
Hatton tried to carry the fight to Pacquiao in the second round but was mostly ineffective as Pacquiao sized him up for a big punch. It came at the end of the round.
“I’m surprised the fight was so easy,” Pacquiao said. “He was wide open for the right hook. I knew he would be looking for my left.”
Pacquiao was a 2-1 favorite, but few thought Hatton would go easily. His only loss was when he was stopped in the 10th round by Floyd Mayweather Jr. But he stood no chance against Pacquiao, whose punches came down the middle and landed with increasing frequency.
“I was just doing my job,” said Pacquiao, who is a national hero in the Philippines. “I always try to do my best in the ring.”
Pacquiao’s best on this night quickly quieted a boisterous crowd of 16,262 at the MGM Grand arena.
“The fight was no surprise to me,” Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said. “We know he always pumps his hands before he throws a punch. He’s a sucker for the right hook.”