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The wait is over! Pacquiao vs. Hatton prediction, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and more!

I have been idle for a while, but the wait is finally over. The wait for an update at Boxingchronicles.com, but more significantly, the wait for the much anticipated sweet scientific meeting between East and West.

Pound for Pound king Manny Pacquiao will meet defending world champion Ricky Hatton in a 140lb title fight tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. Yours truly will be enjoying a meal and some drinks at Miami Mike's Sports Zone, pound for pound the best sports bar in the country, while covering this event.

Pacquiao was last seen in December dismantling and stopping Oscar De la hoya in nine one-sided and embarrassing rounds. Hatton's last fight was a November title defense against Paulie Malignaggi, in which the British star pummeled and stopped the Brooklyn native in eleven equally one-sided rounds.

HBO's acclaimed reality series Pacquiao vs. Hatton 24/7 has been a hype machine that has steered up both boxing fans and casual sports fans around the world in anticipation of tonight's contest. Anybody who is anybody, competing professionally from lightweight to welterweight, is watching this fight with attentive eyes. At this point in time, those weight classes serve as the economic linkage in boxing, a pre-crashed Wall Street if you will, and it is populated with a number of talented, experienced and exciting fighters, young and old, who are all watching closely tonight because they want a shot at glory as well as a nice fat pay check.

Pacquiao vs. Hatton is so far the biggest and perhaps most significant fight of 2009. I say 'so far' only because an official announcement is expected to be made this evening prior to the fight taking place. Undefeated former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr, who has not seen action in the prize ring since stopping Hatton in a welterweight title fight in December of 2007, is planning a come back fight for July 18.

While the opponent and venue have not yet been made public, it is expected that Mayweather will be fighting a previous Pacquiao victim - world lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez - at a catch weight of 144lbs. The fight will probably take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.Such a come back fight would stand alone as a significant money-making affair watched by millions around the world. Another HBO 24/7 series upcoming for that fight? You can bank on it.

Should Mayweather defeat Marquez in July, and Pacquiao beat Hatton tonight, that sets the stage for what could potentially be a Superbowl of boxing at the end of the year. Rarely does anybody get a chance to witness two of the best pound for pound fighters, in their primes, facing off against one another to determine who is the undisputed, universally recognized best boxer in the world pound for pound. Usually the top pound for pound fighters are too far apart from one another in weight, but I can already envision what is truly and honestly the real Dream Match - Pound 4 Pound: Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. Superbowl of Boxing. Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet, ladies and gentlemen. First thing is first; we have tonight's super fight between Pacquiao and Hatton which isn't too shabby either.

Pacquiao has improved skill wise ever since losing a decision to Erik Morales in March of 2005. Since that defeat, Pacquiao has become a fast, two fisted fighter who is using his right hand along with his devastating straight left. While Pacquiao's punching power has not been nearly as apparent since moving up in weight from the junior featherweight and featherweight weight classes, he makes up for it with boxing skill.

Ever since Hatton's crushing defeat at the hands of Mayweather, Hatton fired trainer Billy Graham and replaced him with Floyd Mayweather Sr. Mayweather Sr. has worked with Hatton to improve his hand speed, defense, and ability to throw combinations. Hatton has been known to punch to the body with full force, reminiscent of Mexican legend and all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez, but he has not always been successful neutralizing the opposing charge of his opponents when fighting his way inside. I think Hatton is going to move his head more as he comes in, but Pacquiao's speed of hand and foot as well as boxing ability will keep Pacquiao a step ahead of Hatton all night long.

Pacquiao is a special fighter. He is perceived as a the best pound for pound fighter in the world for a reason. With only one loss to Morales in the last 10 years, which he managed to avenge twice with brutal stoppages, Pacquiao has defeated a who's who from 122lbs to 147lbs. That is a wide span of multiple weight divisions. Outside of his title winning victory over Kostya Tszyu in 2005, Hatton still has yet to achieve something special in the ring that also defines him as a special fighter.

Prediction

This fight will be exciting, perhaps even a classic, as long as it lasts. Similar to the great lightweight fight between Marquez and Juan Diaz a month and a half ago, this is a solid match up of pressure and precision. Personally I don't believe Hatton is going to have an answer for Pacquiao's straight left hand. I think Pacquiao is just too fast, accurate, and Hatton will not be able to avoid Pacquiao's left hand. I think Pacquiao has the tools to outbox Hatton, but I see him stopping Hatton due to an accumulation of punishment. Hatton will pose a serious threat for the first six rounds or so, putting forth a spirited effort to up end Pacquiao with his aggression and body punches, but Pacquiao's blinding punch output and accuracy will gradually force Hatton into a survival mode, at which point Hatton's aggression will be followed up with holding and clinching rather than letting his hands go when he gets remotely close to Pacquiao. Pacquiao's punches with have an accumulative effect and I eventually see him hurting Hatton and finishing him off in the middle to late rounds.

Pacquiao TKO 9

Pacquiao vs. Hatton: East Meets West will be televised on HBO PPV. Telecast will begin at 9PM E/T 6PM P/T.

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