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Sun 3 May 2009 01:54 PM

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Pacquiao knocks out Hatton for historic triumph

Filipino wins junior welterweight title 3 minutes into second round of Vegas fight.

Pacquiao knocks out Hatton for historic triumph
FILIPINO STAR: Pacquiao says he did not expect the win against Hatton to be so easy. (AFP)

Filipino southpaw Manny Pacquiao flattened Ricky Hatton in the second round, taking a historic victory with a devastating left to the chin that hospitalised the Englishman.

Pacquiao equaled a boxing milestone with a title in a sixth career weight class by slamming a powerful left-hand blow into Hatton's chin to buckle the Englishman's knees and send him down to the canvas on his back unconscious.

"It was a hard punch. It was a solid punch," Pacquiao said.

"I hit him on the chin and I didn't think he would get up."

Referee Kenny Bayless knelt over the unmoving Hatton and halted the fight after two minutes and 59 seconds of the second round, giving the Filipino star a victory and the International Boxing Organisation junior welterweight title.

"Everybody is surprised. Me too. I didn't expect this would be so easy," Pacquiao said.

"But I have worked hard in training camp. Nothing personal. I was just doing my job."

Hatton awoke and walked from the ring to the locker room but was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution.

"It was a hard loss but I'm OK," Hatton said. "I didn't really see the punch coming, but it was a great shot. I know I will be OK."

Pacquiao, widely considered the world pound-for-pound champion, won his 10th fight in a row, improving to 49-3 with two drawn with his 37th early stoppage coming on a spectacular punch for the ages.

"That was the best knockout punch I've ever seen," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said. "It was the perfect shot. That rarely happens."

The Philippines hero secured his place among boxing's top legends, adding the junior welterweight crown to past world titles at lightweight, super featherweight, junior featherweight, featherweight and flyweight.

"It means people will put me on the list of boxing's all-time greatest fighters," Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao was coming off a victory last December over Oscar de la Hoya that cemented his place as boxing's "pound-for-pound" champion, even though a newly unretired Floyd Mayweather Jnr might one day make him prove the point again.

"This was as big for me as the De la Hoya fight," Pacquiao said.

Hatton fell to 45-2, losing at junior welterweight for the first time in his career and prompting his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Snr, to say Hatton should hang up his gloves.

"I would suggest he retire," Mayweather Snr said. "At the end of the day it's his decision."

Hatton's only prior loss came in December of 2007 when he was stopped in the 10th round by Mayweather in a welterweight bout for the pound-for-pound title in the same ring where he was hammered again by the Asian superstar.

"He tried twice. He failed twice," Mayweather Snr said. "He lost to my son and to lose to someone below that, it's time to leave the ring. He made a good profit. Sometimes you have to go when your prime is still there."

Pacquiao knocked Hatton down twice in an electrifying first round, the first time with a left to the chin 30 seconds into the fight and the next with a combination near the end of the round.

"It was open for the right hook," Pacquiao said. "I knew he would be looking for my left. That's what we worked on in training camp. We expected to knock him down with the right hand. I surprised him with that too."

In round two, Hatton caught Pacquiao with a left to the head but Pacquiao answered by pressing the attack, cornering Hatton before settling matters with a devastating punch in the center of the ring just ahead of the bell.

"This was no surprise," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said. "Hatton pops his hand before he throws a punch. He's a sucker for the right hook and that's what we worked on the whole camp. He fights the same way over and over."

According to computer statistics, "Pacman" landed 73 of 127 punches in just under six minutes, including 34 of 53 power punches in the second round, while "Hitman" Hatton connected on only 18 of 78. (AFP)

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