Anything can happen.
If Manny Pacquiao gets careless against Ricky Hatton, he could end up getting a broken rib or, worse, a brain injury.
That may be way too extreme, but then again who says boxing is a gentle sport?
Fine, Pacquiao (48 wins, 3 defeats, 36 knockouts, 2 draws) has a much superior skill set compared to Hatton (45 wins, 1 defeat, 32 knockouts) to score the decisive victory that most people (including myself) look forward to, but an upset isn't too remote to happen.
Unlike the ones that Pacquiao has fought in the recent years, Hatton is no faded fighter, is at the prime of his career, is as old (or young) as the Filipino boxing champ, and--as a swarming brawler--is probably more aggressive.
Hatton certainly doesn't belong to the class of warriors that Pacquiao has fought and defeated--Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Oscar De La Hoya--but he does belong to the type of boxers that the latter rarely fights in the ring: half-wrestler, dirty, relentless, granite-chinned, and has Neanderthal-like punch strength.
This could possibly be Pacquiao's hardest fight yet.
On the other hand, my countryman has almost everything that any opponent should worry about.
Stamina-wise, Pacquiao is both a machine and a fitness specimen: he can be relentless up to the final round without signs of fatigue. Hatton--despite his notorious love for beer, oily food, and late-night parties--seems to have no problem with stamina either, but that remains to be seen.
In terms of footwork, the current pound-for-pound king is the hands-down winner. In fact, Pacquiao's best defensive weapon is, in my opinion, his baffling lateral movement. Every time his opponent punches, he's no longer there. This makes parrying and blocking no longer necessary and a waste of movement. Most of his opponents--with the exception of Marquez--could hardly lock on him as target. Hatton is also fast, but--against Pacquiao--he will appear like on slow motion on the television screen, just like David Diaz did.
In the same manner, Pacquiao is a god in the hand speed department. He connects even before his opponents can blink. Hatton may have watched all Pacquiao's fight videos and would've probably said his opponent doesn't move that quick, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'll have a change of opinion once when he's already on the receiving end of the Filipino's furious flurries come fight night.
Okay, Hatton may be the stronger puncher, but Pacquiao is definitely no patsy in the punching power department either. The Filipino champ's knockout record is a testament to this, and Hatton only has just more than a month to find out that the Philippines produces not only the world's best nurses and caregivers but also "warrior-babysitters" like Pacquiao--who sends boxers to sleep.
However, Pacquiao should avoid getting tagged by one of Hatton's power punches as he might not survive a difficult round. If he wobbles from one of the Briton's monster hooks in the middle of a round, it could be the end of Pacquiao's reign and winning streak.
Pacquiao should also avoid Hatton's infamous body shots by not getting trapped on the ropes and/or by getting in and out very quickly before the British boxer could hug him like Hulk Hogan. He should also watch out for some of Hatton's sneaky elbows while in a clinch.
Pacquiao usually has problems against good counterpunchers; and while Hatton is no counterpuncher, he is still and can always be dangerous.
With the identically aggressive styles of these hard-punching fighters, I think that whoever gets cut first will lose the fight. If Pacquiao gets a nasty cut first, half of the battle is won for the hungrier Hatton, who will naturally capitalize on the situation by mercilessly pounding his bloodied opponent all the more.
The intensity that these two boxing superstars bring into the scheduled match makes this impending War of the Worlds or Battle of East and West a potential fight of the year. And let's just hope that nobody really gets a broken rib or a brain injury after all.
The outcome of this fight is and will be very difficult to predict, but--just for discussion's sake--who do you think will win, and why?