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Hatton: "You can't get any bigger than this!"

Text and photos by Chris Cozzone

If the appetizer of yesterday’s open workout is any indication, the May 2nd showdown between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao is going to be a full-fledged feeding frenzy for the media.

At Tony Rila’s IBA Gym in Las Vegas, Hatton provided a gym crammed with photographers and reporters—all vying to get the same quote and the same photo—a taste of fitness, physique and strategy for May 2.

“You can’t get any bigger than this,” said Hatton. “The goal is, obviously, to win a world title, but you can’t get any bigger when you’re fighting to be regarded as the best, pound for pound.

“To say this is massive, is an understatement.”

In December, Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) secured his claim as the pound-for-pound king by dominating Oscar De La Hoya.

De La Hoya, by the way, who announced his retirement earlier in the week, is predicting an upset win for Hatton.

“This time around, I’m fully prepared,” says Hatton. “Last time around, I only had seven weeks to get ready. I’ve had much longer this time.”

In his last outing, Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) blew through Paulie Malignaggi, stopping him in round eleven. It marked his first fight under trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr.

“We just scratched the surface last time,” says Hatton.

Hatton says his poor showing against Juan Lazcano, and loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., taught him valuable lessons.

“I learned that you just can’t come streamrolling in,” he says. “I made it easy for them. It made me realize what I needed to work on.”

In addition to improving speed and defense, Hatton says he will have advantages over Pacquiao.

“For once, I’ll have a slight height advantage. His size and frame doesn’t look as physically large as mine.

“And it’s not just about speed. Manny is fast, but I’ve got pretty quick hands myself. It’s not all bout speed, but it’s timing—when you throw those fast hands that make a difference.”

This time around, says Hatton, he will finally be at his peak weight.

“I’m down to 140 finally. I’ve learned that those seven pounds—fighting at 147—is not suited for me.”

Before their workout—light rope skipping and a few rounds on the mitts (at least, that’s all they allowed the media to see)—Hatton was heard telling his trainer that he was 149 that morning—right on target.

“This fight is very good for the game,” says Hatton. “This fight is what makes boxing . . . It’s going to be a very exciting atmosphere—a  fantastic atmosphere on May 2nd.”

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