Winning Hatton’s Ring Magazine belt at 140lbs would add the light-welterweight number one spot to his impressive CV, having previously won world titles at flyweight, super-bantamweight, super-featherweight and lightweight and taking Marco Antonio Barrera’s scalp at featherweight.
Victory will also further enhance the iconic status of Pacquiao in his native Philippines, where he was most recently greeted as a national hero following his dismantling of American superstar Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight last December.
There will be a status of a different kind at stake at the MGM Grand on Saturday when the southpaw carries the hopes of his country into the ring and that is his place in boxing history.
“It is very important for me to win in six different divisions for the people of my country,” Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) said ahead of just his third fight above 130 pounds.
“I have sacrificed for my family and my country and I have dedicated my life to them and to boxing.
“Being a six-time champion, if that happens people will want to put my name in boxing history and that will be my legacy.”
Firstly Pacquiao must defeat Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), who is unbeaten at 140 pounds and brings a reputation as a ring warrior. “I know he will come into the ring in 100% condition and strong,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t want to comment on his ability but I do know that it will be a hard fight.’’
For Hatton’s part, he is tired of being labelled a one-trick pony, a brawler whose strength will be pitted against Pacquiao’s speed.
“I’ll put it on him,” Hatton said. “I’ve got to be cautious but I’ll put the pressure on him and use my size, my strength and my speed.
“Manny is very fast but I’m pretty fast myself, even more so now with my new team behind me. You’ve got to be like grease lightning to keep me off you for 12 rounds.”
Hatton predicted a busy fight between two aggressive boxers but warned Pacquiao against assuming he would go the same way as De La Hoya.
“Very hectic,” he said. “We’ve all got a plan B and plan C and different game plans in our arsenal but I have a vision of how I see the fight going.
“I think Manny will most likely be at his quickest in the early rounds and he’s expecting to soften me up like he did Oscar, with me taking many punches and then getting me in the later rounds. You know, Oscar was very, very slow on his feet. He had a reach advantage he couldn’t use because he didn’t throw any punches. I’d look like Sugar Ray Robinson if no-one punched at me!
“I have been reading what everyone has been saying. That doesn’t scare me. I have been here before. I have been the underdog before,” Hatton added.
“I hear what you say. “He (Hatton) is an over-hyped, over-protected, fat beer-drinking Englishman. Guess what... “he’ is going to shock the world again.
“It doesn’t scare me being in this position. This is my weight division, but I understand that I am the underdog. I understand why people are picking on me especially since Manny Pacquiao is the number one pound for pound fighter in the world who just had an exceptional win over Oscar.
“They call this the Battle of East and West. And our worlds will collide in the ring on Saturday night.”