Recent we've been very Japan centric in this series of looking at great KO's so this week we want to go as far from Japan as we can get, and look at a bout that took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas back in 2009. Not only was the bout at one of the best venues in the sport, but it was also one of the best KO's in recent memory. This was gorgeous, brutal, vicious, eye catching and a KO that even now, a decade on, is just as jaw dropping as it was at the time.
Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36) vs Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32)
We don't really think we need to do much of an introduction for either man here. One is an icon of world boxing, and the other is one of the most popular British fighters in history. Despite that we will look, briefly, at the back story.
After Manny Pacquiao shocked the boxing world in 2008, beating Oscar De La Hoya in a legitimate upset, he was the hottest thing in the sport. Pacquiao had jumped from Lightweight to Welterweight and although Oscar was a faded force he was still expected to over-come the little Filipino. Instead Pacquiao put on a sensational performance, beating De La Hoya and become one of the biggest names in the sport, by a long way. Just 5 months later he went to Light Welterweight and took on the then IBO champion Ricky Hatton.
With world titles at Flyweight, Super Bantamweight, Super Featherweight and Lightweight Pacquiao was well and truly on the higher end of the pound for pound list before he beat De La Hoya, but that win cemented his place as a living legend. Ring Magazine had him at #1 pound for pound and it was hard to argue with that ranking given Mayweather had retired following his win over Hatton almost 2 years earlier.
Hatton, from England, had been the face of the 140lb weight class since beating Kostya Tszyu in 2005. He had moved up in weight, but had never looked as good at Welterweight as he had at 140lbs. He first dipped his toe at Welterweight to beat Luis Collazo, narrowly surviving the final round, and had returned there in 2007, suffering a 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather. Between those bouts he had returned to 140lbs, and resettled there, and he settled there again following the loss to Mayweather.
Although Hatton had lost to Mayweather he had maintained a high pound for pound ranking, with most having him in or around the top 10, and he was widely regarded as the best fighter at 140lbs. The weight suited him. He was physically imposing at the weight, powerful, and could bully opponents.
Although the bout was highly anticipated it turned into a massive mismatch with Hatton being dropped twice in the opening round. To his credit however Hatton managed to make his way into round 2.
To his credit Hatton actually had an acceptable round 2, for the most part, and it appeared that he may be getting a toe grip into the fight. At least it did until around 10 seconds before the end of the round.
With 11 seconds of round 2 left Pacquiao landed a thunder bolt of a left hand that landed bang on the chin. It couldn't possibly have landed cleaner. It was as on point as a punch could ever get.
The shot instantly turned out Hatton's lights. He was gone as his body went limp before he hit the canvas, hard. He was out cold and the referee quickly abandoned the count, knowing that he could have counted to 100 and the Englishman wouldn't have gotten back to his feet.
Medical staff at the venue quickly saw to Hatton, who recovered his senses. His then trainer, Floyd Mayweather Snr, suggest Hatton should retire which he actually seemed to do, for 3 years, before making an ill fated comeback in 2012 when he lost to Vyacheslav Senchenko.
As For Pacquiao he would remain a top level fight for more than a decade after this knockout, though sadly the knockouts did dry up and this was probably the most iconic of his early finishes.
We suspect you've all seen this one before, but it's one that you should probably see again...and again...and again. It is one of the best KO's in the sport's long history.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).