Mayweather-Hatton - Pure Boxing Class Vs. Bloody-Minded Aggression

ricky hatton27.06.07 - By James Slater: It's a fight seemingly everyone is talking about at present. "The Pretty Boy" against "The Hitman." Ricky Hatton Vs. Floyd Mayweather. This potential super-fight sure has got the juices flowing. Not only are both boxers seemingly chomping at the bit in anticipation of getting it on - the fans are absolutely craving the showdown too. The clash of styles the two vastly different personalities bring to the table make for a truly fascinating fight.

Can you imagine the build-up alone for this one? Floyd crawled deep under his last opponent - Oscar De La Hoya's skin - and as angry as he seems to be at Hatton right now, we can expect a highly intense series of press conferences for a bout between Manchester's finest and Grand Rapid's best ever. Then, after all the hoopla and nastiness is over with, we'd have the actual combat to look forward to. And everyone is already looking forward to it..

This wasn't the case a few months back, though. Floyd stated, in no uncertain terms, that a fight with Ricky Hatton did not interest him at all. Then, after his close win over De La Hoya, Mayweather kept his word and retired from the sport. But then two things happened. Firstly Hatton looked better than ever in his fight with Jose Luis Castillo, and then "The Hitman" so got on Floyd's nerves that the pound-4-pound king decided to come out of his less than two month old retirement and shut Ricky's mouth. At least that's the way Floyd and his advisors tell it. Why the thirty-year old has never shown such obvious irritation before, when a whole bunch of other fighters were calling him out, is a mystery. Whatever the case, though, it seems Hatton just might get what he says he's always wanted - a super-bout with boxing's number one operator. What can we expect, should the two share a ring soon?

The venue for the fight will be paramount. As will the timing of the fight, its weight class and whether or not either man boxes another fight first. If, as most expect, the fight takes place at 147, in the U.S some time next year, and after both men have had one prior fight, the obvious choice for favourite will be Mayweather. But if the fight takes place this year, and in Manchester ( an extreme long-shot for my money) and before Floyd regains his complete sharpness with a "comeback" fight, Ricky will be in with a more than reasonable shot at winning. However the terms work out, though, assuming that they actually do work out, we can expect a memorable fight.

Mayweather is sheer class personified. While Hatton is sheer guts and aggression personified. Bring these qualities together and you have a wonderful fight on your hands. This is not to say Floyd cannot punch, however. Nor is it to say Ricky is without ring smarts. "Pretty Boy" can hit pretty hard and accurately when he sets himself, and "The Hitman" can use his head for things other than just going out blazing in an attempt at removing his opponent's. That being said, their roles in the fight will be almost exclusively that of boxer versus puncher. Which application of the noble art will triumph?

I expect to see both men at their best physically. For all his blowing up in weight between fights, Ricky will be in absolutely tip-top shape for this, the biggest fight of his life. As such the motivation factor goes to the Brit right there. Floyd, too, will be in superb shape. Training hard all the time is nothing but second nature to him. But this fight will not be the biggest of his career. Floyd has met bigger tests before - and passed them. Therefore I don't believe he'll be as monstrously "up for it" as Hatton. But will it matter?

Look for Floyd to start the fight cautiously. Despite what he has said, and may say again, fighting toe-to-toe is not something the five weight ruler will do. That approach is simply not in his bag. Nor should it be. Boxing with impeccable timing and blinding speed, "Pretty Boy" will frustrate Hatton in the early going. Both offsetting Ricky's timing and making him pay
with stinging punches - of the right hand lead variety in particular - Floyd will see his rival's face begin to mark up. Ricky, after being given a stern telling off in his corner, will come out looking to rough Mayweather up. As with Carlos Baldomir, Arturo Gatti and others, however, the twenty-eight year old will find out doing this effectively is much harder than it may appear from the safe side of the ropes. Floyd's defensive moves are nothing short of brilliant. And while he makes his man miss, Floyd saves energy. Safely in his shell, Mayweather looks on as his opponent expends all the energy in a futile attempt at hitting and hurting him. Then, when his opponent's attack inevitably fades, the pound-4-pound king strikes with his own punches, jarring and dazing his tiring and demoralised rival. That's the reason Floyd's punches can cause their own particular brand of hurt. Mayweather quite simply breaks the heart of his opponent. Expect to see this if and when he gets in the ring with Hatton.

In the final third of the fight, trailing on all three cards and swollen up as badly as he was in his fight with Luis Collazo, the brave Hatton will still be coming forward. The kind of body shot that so annihilated Castillo - clearly Ricky's best chance at victory going in - will not be found in this fight. Body work will give Ricky some success, however. Floyd can be guilty of taking his foot from the pedal and coasting at times. Doing so here will give the Hatton faithful something to cheer about, as Ricky pounds away for as long as he can. Mayweather will spring back into action after a few seconds, though, and either dance away or counter with crisp and sharp hooks, straight right hands, or body work of his own.

I see the fight going the full twelve rounds. Unless Ricky is very badly cut, I cannot see him being stopped. Neither can I see the ultra-fast Mayweather being KO'd. Not in this fight. A points win that perhaps will look easier than it is - after all, Hatton WILL give it everything and never quit as he attempts to make things red hot for Floyd - will be Mayweather's.

In the final analysis, pure boxing class will beat bloody-minded aggression.

Article posted on 27.06.2007

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