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Ode-blooded rivalry
Final presser for Pacquiao vs. Hatton gets a taste of poetry . . . more or less

Text and photos by Chris Cozzone
www.FightwireImages.com

All kidding aside, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton was able to keep his humor at bay during today’s final presser held at the MGM—long enough to promise the press that he was going to prove ‘em wrong in his fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao wasn’t so successful, for during a face-off, the only profile boxing’s pound-for-pound king showed, was his humorous side. Unable to keep a straight face, Pacquiao broke out laughing.

Others broke out in poetry.

Proclaiming Saturday night’s mega-showdown between Pacquiao and Hatton to something “more than a prize fight,” Top Rank boss Bob Arum read from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Ballad of East and West”—the source of inspiration for Saturday night’s entitled showdown, “The Battle of East and West.”

Read Arum:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

By the time the podium was occupied by Floyd Mayweather, Sr., however, literature had been reduced to . . . well, something else.

Spoke Mayweather:

I am being for real and saying what I feel,
This is the truest quote that I ever wrote,
From the first to the last note,
Hey Pac,
Its over, so quit wishing on a four leaf clover,
You got a choice to make,
You're at the cross roads,
You gotta make up your mind,
You can go right or you can go left,
And you can't depend on nobody else,
We need to do what we need to do
It ain't personal between me and you,
Come May 2nd, you will be uncrowned with your head hanging down,
The pain and stress left to confess that the Hitman's the best,
So lets make it simple and plain after this fight, Pac will never be the same,
It ain’t no diggity it aint no doubt, Pac's gonna find out what its all about,
When he beat the ole legend Oscar de la Hoya,
He was over the hill,
Now its time for you to swallow the same damn pill,
So get your tickets now peoples-and lets make it clear,
That the Pacman ass woopin is almost here,
It aint no secret and I hope you know,
The Hitman Hatton by KO!

Hatton, on the other hand, was on the serious side. Though he did not predict a knockout over Pacquiao, he did predict a win.

“I think you have all made your mind up already,” said Hatton. “I have been reading what you have been saying and what everyone has been saying. That doesn't scare me. I have been here before. I have been the underdog before.

"I hear what you say. 'He is an over-hyped, over-protected, fat beer drinking Englishman.

“But guess what? That ‘he’ is going to shock the world again.”

Hatton compared the fight to his one six years ago with Kostya Tszyu.

“I was the underdog then and look what happened . . . It doesn't scare me being in this position.”

Pacquiao’s words were few. Stating his readiness, he promised that he would do his best to honor his country.

“I respect Ricky Hatton,” said Pacquiao. “He is a good person. He is a nice guy and I would like to remind everyone that there is nothing personal for this fight and we are just doing our job to give a good fight to the people and make them happy.”

Following suit, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was just as pithy in his choice of words, saying only that he had the best fighter who was in the greatest shape of his life.

And: "I've been telling Manny all along that I will be disappointed if the fight goes longer than three rounds."

In a cheerful mood, Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy, cracked a couple of jokes – and took Mayweather’s jibe of being “over the hill” when he fought Pacquiao, with a good-natured laugh.

De La Hoya also promised the media that the fight would exceed all expectations Saturday night.

“People want to watch this fight not because of the fighters' abilities, not because they can fight and have come to give fans an exciting fight, but because of respect. People respect what Pacquiao and Hatton can do in the ring.

"That's why people are going to watch this fight, because they respect both of these fighters and they know they are going to see a great great match.”

. . . . .

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Pacquiao vs. Hatton "The Battle of East and West," presented by Rockstar Energy Drink and promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, in association with MP Promotions and Hatton Promotions, is a 12-round bout for Hatton's IBO and Ring Magazine World Junior Welterweight titles.  The fight is also sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Southwest Airlines.  Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, TI, Monte Carlo, Circus Circus, Luxor and New York-New York will host closed circuit viewing and tickets are available for purchase and are priced at $50, not including handling fees.  All seats are general admission and are now on sale at each individual property's box office outlets or by phone with a major credit card at (866) 799-7711.  Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.

The Pacquiao vs. Hatton pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes.  The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD.  HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry.  For Pacquiao vs. Hatton fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.

HBO Sports' all-access reality series "PACQUIAO/HATTON 24/7" will premiere episode #4 in HD on  Friday, May 1 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes #1, 2 & 3 will be replayed consecutively prior to the finale, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO on Friday night.  The first three episodes are also available on HBO ON DEMAND.

 


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