World champion Manny Pacquiao (left) with Ricky Hatton. MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, MARCH 17, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao has faced bigger opponents before, someone as big, as tall as Oscar dela Hoya, that’s why he said he’d have no problem against Ricky Hatton.

“Hatton is bigger than I am but this isn’t about big,” said Pacquiao, at 5’6” 1/2 just an inch shorter than Hatton, only bigger in the sense that he’s a natural light-welterweight.

Hatton said recently he’d make sure he’s the bigger fighter in the ring when the two superstars lock horns at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2.

But Pacquiao is unfazed. He wasn’t when he fought the 5’10” 1/2 Dela Hoya whom he brutally stopped in eight rounds last November.

“It’s about punching hard and being effective,” said Pacquiao, a champion in four weight classes – from flyweight, super-bantamweight, super-featherweight and lightweight.

Hatton said he would have stopped Dela Hoya earlier if it was him rather than Pacquiao on that ring last Dec. 6.

Pacquiao has been working hard the past week or two at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, while Hatton had been a step ahead, saying he needed 12 to 13 weeks of training.

Hatton is in the UK working it out under the watchful eyes of his trainers, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Paul Speak, and will move to Las Vegas later this month for the other half of his training.

Pacquiao and Hatton will meet one more time on March 30 in Los Angeles for another for-the-press-only appearance. After that meeting, the next time they’d cross paths will be on fight week.

“Hatton hits very hard, has a strong left hand and a good uppercut too. I must and will train very hard,” said Pacquiao, the early odds-on favorite. His trainers are calling for a knockout.

“I feel strong at 140, 145, 147. The weight is fine for me. There is a respect for Hatton and his team but in the ring it is all different. There are no timeouts,” said the Pinoy icon recently.

Hatton said he’d make sure he has the advantage – in size – on fight night.

“I will weigh over 150 pounds on the night of the fight, possibly as much as 154. I will be a lot bigger than Oscar when Manny fought him,” he said.

Pacquiao fought Dela Hoya at 147 lbs, and will have to go down to 140 to challenge Hatton for his IBO light-welterweight title.

Pacquiao weighed in at 142 lbs for Dela Hoya and climbed the ring at 148 1/2, while the Golden Boy weighed in at 145 pounds and climbed the ring so weak at 147 lbs.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved