Ricky Hatton thinks Manny Pacquiao's big win over Oscar De La Hoya in December was a fluke as the Manchester bred boxer with a 45-1 record prepares to face the Filipino star on May 2 in Las Vegas.
|Manny Pacquiao, left, and |Ricky Hatton, right, get the star treatment from actor Mickey Rourke [AFP]
Pacquiao (48-3-2) and Hatton were at a red carpet event at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to promote the junior welterweight title fight for the first and only time in the U.S when Hatton questioned the quality of victory that Pacquiao gained over Oscar De La Hoya, perhaps his most famous victory.
"Any win against Oscar is a magnificent one. Is that the Oscar De La Hoya we have come to love? I don't think so,'' Hatton said.
"And only Oscar can say what happened on the scales. He looked a shell of the Oscar we know. I don't think it was hard to beat Oscar that night.''
Pacquiao wants the IBO title, which belongs to Hatton.
But Hatton thinks he will have a leg up against one of the sport's best pound-for-pound fighters.
Speed v size
"A lot of people are seeing it as size versus speed and a lot of people thought Paulie Malignaggi would outspeed me and that wasn't the case and that was only after seven weeks with my new training team,'' Hatton said.
"We're even quicker again. If you could see how fast I'm performing, there's not that big a gap there. Ultimately I think size will play a big factor. He has dangers in other areas, like his speed and footwork but I'm boxing a lot cuter than I was a few years ago.''
Pacquiao is known for his speed. But he could be fighting his biggest opponent in Hatton.
Pacquiao was fighting in the super featherweight division last March. He moved up to welterweight to fight De La Hoya, who lost weight for the matchup.
De La Hoya didn't come out of his corner after the eighth round. Hatton suggested that De La Hoya tried to make weight too early.
"That's what people believe. Maybe they were rooting for Oscar and maybe they were fans of Oscar,'' Pacquiao said.
"It's hard to make reasons or alibis after the fight. It's not good.''
Pacquiao told reporters he weighs 67 kgs. He is training with Freddie Roach in Hollywood and said camp was going well. Hatton, who is training in Las Vegas, said he was feeling good at 68 k.
"We started training camp earlier, started sparring earlier, started running earlier. It's just because of the size of the fight. It's a fight I massively believe I can win. A boxer can't get any higher if he's the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, so I need to just go about me business more so than ever.''