LAS VEGAS, April 30 – Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao confidently predicted victory in their junior welterweight boxing showdown here on Saturday, warning their respectful natures will vanish when the bout begins."I like Manny and commend him for everything he has achieved but when I get into that ring, I’m a nasty (fighter) and that’s what I intend to be," Hatton said at Wednesday’s final news conference for the fight.
England’s Hatton, 45-1 with 32 knockouts, will risk his division crown against Filipino hero Pacquiao, 48-3 with two drawn and 35 knockouts and recognized as boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
"There’s no doubt in my mind," Hatton said. "Unless I’ve got it wrong, I’m going to win. Three fights ago maybe he would have beaten me. Not now. No way."
Rather than trade taunts as many rivals do in their final verbal exchanges, Pacquiao and Hatton were more mellow.
"I’m confident I will win," Pacquiao said. "I’ve trained for eight weeks, sparred more than 150 rounds. I’m ready to fight.
"When the bell rings, I stop being so nice."
Pacquiao called his preparations for Hatton the hardest training of his career while Hatton said defeating Pacquiao, a slight favorite with gamblers as he has been from the start, would be the biggest victory of his career.
"I’m the underdog. I understand why people are picking him," said Hatton, whose only loss was when he moved up to welterweight to fight Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
"This is my weight division. I have the passion. I’m going to shock the world again."
Pacquiao, who could match a record by winning a world title in his sixth different division, praised Hatton and noted the lack of insults in their pre-fight comments.
"I’m ready for the fight," Pacquiao said. "I know Ricky Hatton has trained hard. He’s in impressive condition. I respect him. Good person. Nice guy. I like it better when people make me angry. It helps me focus on the fight.
"I’d like to remind everybody there’s nothing personal. We just do our job to make people happy, especially to the Filipino people. I will do my best to bring honour to our country."
Adding trash talk to the mix was Hatton’s trainer, Floyd Mayweather Snr, who taunted Pacquiao in poetic verse as he predicted a knockout by the British "Hitman".
"After this fight, Pacman will never be the same," Mayweather said.
"Hey Pac, it’s over, so quit wishing on a four-leaf clover.
"You will be uncrowned, with your head down, on your chest, knowing that Ricky Hatton is the best.
"I hope you know, you have got to go, it’s going to be Hitman Hatton by KO."
Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said only that Pacquaio is in the best shape he has seen and the camp went well.
"He didn’t talk because he’s got nothing to say," Mayweather said. "He knows I’ve forgotten more than he will ever know.
"As for Manny, Ricky will whip his (rear). Ricky might not put it as blunt as I will but whatever he says it means the same thing."
Hatton joked, "Whatever he said, that’s what I’m saying."