Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hatton v. Pacquiao

Here's the video of last night's fight, followed by a few thoughts by me below.

- I'm glad I didn't pay $49.95 to see this live.

- The outcome doesn't surprise me, though I wouldn't have expected it to end as soon as it did. Pacquiao's right hook that dropped Hatton the first time was a thing of beauty. It reminded me a little of the left hook Mayweather knocked out Hatton with in his fight; Hatton didn't see either of those punches coming.

- I have never been too impressed by Hatton. He's a busy, aggressive fighter, but that's about it. I was surprised to see him defeat Kostya Tszyu and Jose Luis Castillo1 in previous -- two great fighters, but, in hindsight, Hatton fought them when they were past their primes.

- Pacquiao is now arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. That distinction has been Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s for the last few years, but considering the way Pacquiao dispatched Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya -- with a second round knockout and and eighth round TKO, respectively -- versus Mayweather's 10th round knockout of Hatton and split decision over De La Hoya, Pacquiao looks more impressive right now. Of course, this sets up a huge pay-per-view fight between the still-undefeated Mayweather and Pacquiao.

- What was Hatton thinking hiring Floyd Mayweather, Sr. to train him for this fight? If you have seen Mayweather, Sr. (who is estranged from his son, the boxing champ mentioned above) on television, you'll know what I mean. He doesn't seem to be all there.

- If Hatton had a better chin, he might be able to look forward to a future as the Arturo Gatti2 of Manchester: a club fighter who sells out local arenas while getting beaten soundly by top boxers.

- How long until someone in the media analogizes Hatton's boxing career -- which began its current downward trajectory in 2007, after a long streak of victories -- to the recent trajectory of Britain's economy? Maybe a British financial journalist will argue that, as with Hatton's early successes, there was less to Britain's finance- and real estate-fueled boom than met the eye.

1Castillo fought two fights against Diego Corrales, the first of which might have been the best fight in the last decade. At the time of his defeat by Hatton, he may have been distracted by events outside the ring, including a lawsuit by the Corrales family (Castillo caused a third fight between the two to be delayed, and then Corrales was killed in a motorcycle accident before it could be rescheduled).

2Gatti has since retired, but before he did he fought a series of fights with Micky Ward, the first of which was about as good as Castillo vs. Corrales I.


Jerry Seinfeld said...

Hattonn was like Dracula's girfriend...

He went down for the Count.

JK said...

I don't watch boxing, but there are good MMA fights coming up this year. The Silva/Griffin fight should be excellent. I wonder how long Silva will be able to float around among the light heavyweights before he gets KTFO.

The Lyoto Machida / Rashad Evans fight should be a must see also. I'm not a big fan of Machida's fighting style, but his technical karate skills are excellent. I hope he decides to put on a show with incentive from Dana White, instead of using his trademark "elusive" fighting style (running away).

DaveinHackensack said...

Those MMA fights sound interesting, but not interesting enough for me to pay for them. I'm not familiar with this Machida fellow, but one thing that seems to be lacking from the UFC and MMA generally (from what I've seen, at least) is any really talented kickers. EliteXC had one, Cung Le. He was the first MMA fighter I'd seen throw side kicks, for example, which are bread & butter in karate and tae kwon do, and can be quite effective when timed against an opponent charging (or "shooting") if timed right.

Incidentally, in my Club KO kickboxing exercise class (which I've played hooky from for a couple of months, unfortunately), the instructors -- many of whom come from MMA or Muay Thai backgrounds -- never put sidekicks in the combinations they make us do on the heavy bags, so I always throw in a few when we have our freestyle rounds. Granted, most of the folks who don't have any martial arts background wouldn't be able to do a good sidekick, but that's true of their other kicks too.

Also, re "elusiveness", that has long been a big part of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s style (and a reason he hasn't been much of a PPV draw on his own, despite being widely recognized as the best in the sport in the last few years). He's an exceptionally talented defensive fighter, and he's cautious. Mayweather's PPV fight against De La Hoya was a huge seller because De La Hoya was an aggressive fighter. Same is true of Pacquiao. Styles make fights, as they say.

Sportsbettingcentre said...

Hatton is not a bad boxer but he is just not in the same class as Manny. I expect Manny to go on to beat Mayweather now. He certainly deserves it.

JK said...

Machida is a talented karate kicker, as is Anderson Silva. Actually with his elusive style, Machida's fights look more like he practices Savate more than anything else. But in MMA, you usually see better kicking in lower weight classes with fast-twitch-muscled fighters. Also most kicking is done Muay Thai style (low, straight kicks, knees) because high flying kung fu and karate kicks just don't work that well against well-muscled, trained fighters with a strong chin. Even in Japanese MMA most of the fighters use catch wrestling moves instead of karate.

When protecting yourself from the shoot, usually the best kick is a low straight kick to the opponent's knee, which stops him dead in his track. From there you can grab him by the head and knee him in the face. With a side kick, you're usually just going to slap their thighs and arms really hard - hard enough to break an untrained fighters arm, sure, but that's not good enough in MMA- and you open yourself to having your foot caught and being thrown off your feet.

I took Tae Kwon Do training for a few years...the martial art is good for general self defense but I don't think it would hold up in the cage for most people, esp when you are fighting top-notch wrestlers. Muay Thai is a more practical fighting style for athletes, as are the Southeast Asian styles in general, IMO. Filipino Dumpag is an especially nasty fighting style that you may see enter the cage soon.

DaveinHackensack said...

"With a side kick, you're usually just going to slap their thighs and arms really hard - hard enough to break an untrained fighters arm*, sure, but that's not good enough in MMA- and you open yourself to having your foot caught and being thrown off your feet."From your description, it sounds like you're talking about a roundhouse kick. Just to make sure we're both talking about the same thing, since I realize terminology differs in different styles, here's a video of a (somewhat dorky) guy doing the traditional version of a sidekick. Most practitioners of American style karate would just kick with the heel. They'd slide in for extra power in the offensive version of the kick, and, in the defensive version (e.g., against a wrestler charging in), they'd time him and drill him coming in.

If you're not an expert kicker coming into the cage, you probably wouldn't have the confidence or skill to throw anything but the boring, dirty (to my eyes) sorts of kicks like low roundhouses to the legs (why that's legal in MMA, I have no idea). I've probably watched less MMA than you, but Cung Le is the first guy I've seen so far use side kicks effectively in a fight. And the side kick is a basic kick in karate, not an exotic or high-flying one.

Re the effectiveness of Muay Thai in a fight, I agree with you, but I think this has less to do with a Thai boxer's technique and more with his conditioning and, for lack of a better word, brutality. There's a sort of a controlled state that's cultivated in Thai boxing and in certain Filipino martial arts, the ability to handle and dish out insane levels of pain.

*Cung Le actually broke a trained arm with a roundhouse kick in one of his EliteXC fights against the adopted Shamrock kid.