When Sugar Ray Leonard was kind enough to speak with Boxers and Writers Magazine after the Celebrity Roast of Scott LeDoux in Minneapolis in May, he also generously shared his assessment of the Manny Pacquiao knockout over Ricky Hatton.
“I didn’t think the fight would end that soon,” he said. “I gave the edge to Pacquiao because of the hand speed. Without question, Ricky Hatton has a big heart; almost too big sometimes. But you know what? He gives you a hundred percent. He got caught with a blinding hook. He fought a guy who had mobility, a guy who had hand speed, a guy who’s coming off a great win [in beating] Oscar DeLaHoya. And Pacquiao is just unbelievable. He’s still a little guy. No matter how much he weighs, he’s a little guy; and he’s able to overcome the adversities of it. I thought that Oscar had a chance to beat him, but he proved everybody wrong.”
In response to his long statement, the Boxers and Writers Magazine observation was that Pacquiao has incredible accuracy and speed, and that his balance is amazing.
“You hit it on the head,” Leonard said; “the accuracy of his punches; [they] are so, just, they’re timed perfectly. And he’s always there, then he’s out of the way, and he’s in great shape.”
Leonard’s observation of Pacquiao’s mobility and hand speed are telling in terms of the way Leonard himself fought, indicative of what as a great champion he naturally sees when watching a successful fighter. Pacquiao was able to utilize his movement in order to be out of range of Hatton’s punches, but also to place himself in spots where he could catch him moving into punches. Pacquiao disposed of Hatton so much easier than Floyd Mayweather, Jr. did because he makes fewer mistakes. He kept his balance much more consistently than “Pretty Boy” Floyd did throughout his career, and that balance is the base from which all punches receive their power.
© Copyright 2009, Mark Connor