Hatton Takes Early Lead Over Pacquiao

Greggy RomualdezCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 20:  Ricky Hatton (L) of England throws a left to the head of Juan Urango of Colombia as he ducks down during their junior welterweight title fight on January 20, 2007 in the Paris Ballroom at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

In the run-up to the highly anticipated Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton slugfest on May 2, the Hitman has taken an early, albeit slight lead over the Pacman.

Hatton was deep in training over the week-end while Pacquaio took the week-end off to sit at the negotiation to personally settle a dispute among giant television networks in his native Philippines over who will have the rights to air his tiff with Hatton.

The pound-for-pound king had apparently flip-flopped on who the rights would be given to and had backed out of a live contract.

Being involved in a network war is no place for an elite fighter.  Such things are best left to the advsers, sycophants and rah-rah boys to thresh out.  What are they there for anyway? 

For now, all's well that ends well.  Everything has been settled. But at what cost?

Do the math.  Hatton was busy getting in shape, Pacquiao was doing something which did not in any way contribute to his  conditioning and in fact provided the unneeded distraction and stress.

When two elite, evenly matched fighters face-off, conditioning, among other things is key.  It may define outcomes.  Missing two days of work-outs is not the way to go.

Sources at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym that after the short lay-off, Manny had a six round sparring session with top lightweight prospect Urbano Antillon. 

Antillon, who posseses a similar style to that of Hatton's reportedly applied constant pressure on Pacquiao, even causing the Pacman to slip in the third round.  The session was descibed as "exciting" and quite evenly matched. 

The Pacman's team has to shield him from future distractions that may come his way in the next five weeks or so leading up to the fight.  While Pacquiao is heavily favored, Ricky Hatton is no slouch. 

Manny and his team cannot afford to drop the ball.  Any more mistakes and the outcome on May 2 may differ from what most expect.