'Point Given, Point Well Taken': A Look At Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton (Volume 2)

floyd mayweather jr13.08.07 - By Vivek Wallace: In this weeks installment of the Hatton/Mayweather Jr. chronicles, we take a look at the odds against Brit phenom, Ricky Hatton. For some reason, people continue to say that Mayweather Jr. has taken the 'easy' fight and that Hatton is tailor made for Mayweather, but after watching slightly over 5 hours worth of footage on the two fighters before writing this piece, I can honestly say that anyone who feels comfortable writing Hatton off in this match should strongly reconsider because the odds could - I emphasize COULD - be lower than you think.

When you compare the talents and ring mechanics of the two, to say that Floyd is the better technical boxer is indeed a no-brainer, but very visual in the footage I broke down between the two fighters was the fact that Hatton has clearly stepped up his game to another level every time the 'lights' got brighter.

That being said, on the biggest stage of his career, it'll clearly take the best, injury free Floyd Mayweather Jr. to get the "W" whenever the fight does end.

Now, conventional wisdom says that Floyd may have enough killer instinct to end it if he hurts the Brit, but judging by the fact that Hatton literally commits himself to an all out body assault, this whole issue of hurting the other fighter can potentially go both ways.

My reason for that statement is because throughout the footage I broke down, I noticed that Floyd can take body punches and has done so from some of the best, but there's no mistaking that they do affect him, and to a lesser degree, his gameplan as well, which I previously felt was impossible. In both of the Castillo fights, parts of the Dela Hoya fight, as well as a few points in the Judah fight, I saw the adverse reactions of Floyd when his opponent was able to connect in the mid-range with any decent accuracy on a regular basis. Now, to give Floyd his credit, he was able to stay active and dish out his own assault which kept most of these guys at a distance. Keeping all things in perspective, I think it's safe to say there will be only two questions relative to solving the outcome of this fight:

Will the smaller Hatton be able to take the somewhat underrated power of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in heavy doses to get close enough to mount an attack of his own?, and will Floyd Mayweather Jr. be able to sustain his energy level if Hatton is able to keep the fight close and crack away at his body for twelve rounds? - something no other Mayweather opponent has been able to do this this point over the course of a full fight.

Any true boxing insider will quickly acknowledge the damage that continuous body shots can do and how it greatly affects the legs. For Floyd, footwork is the basis of his strategy so if the legs go, conceivably, so does he.

Hatton is a great puncher but because of his size, he doesn't 'crack' a fighter with the same pop as say, someone in the likes of a Dela Hoya, who landed some clean shots in their fight but not enough to stop Floyd from occasionally coming in. This is important to note because it will determine which one of two very similar strategies I expect Floyd to employ.

After he feels Hatton's power at it's fullest strength in the beginning of the fight, his gameplan will either be to use his patented footwork to cause fatigue in Hatton - realizing that Hatton's power will only continue to fade from it's initial strength - and possibly go for a late knockout, or, if he is not comfortable with the power of Hatton early, his gameplan will still be to go to that patented footwork to fatigue Hatton a bit and simply try to keep the distance and win on points.

Either strategy will - like always - be heavy on footwork and as much as most of us would rather not see it, if the rules allow him to do it without a point being deducted, it's simply something we all must deal with because the rules are what they are and until someone changes them - which won't happen - it is what it is. Some call it dancin' some call it running, I call it game planning. Game planning that often brings decent results. I was reminded recently by friend and fellow fight aficionado Jason Seasen, the late great Willie Pep - who was also known for his slick movement in the ring - once said "He who hits and runs away, lives to fight another day".

I make no predictions one way or the other but I will say that anyone who has counted Hatton out is obviously not doing so based on talent because after watching that footage it's clear, (as I said last week), he truly got here by not only busting his ass, but many other people's as well. At the same time, anyone who looks down on Mayweather after a victory of any kind - be it a TKO or twelve round decision - should likewise think twice because a victory here would only solidify him as a true pound for pound champ in an era where few can truly make such a claim.

Next Monday I will continue to breakdown different elements of this fight as we continue the countdown. For now, this is more than enough to ponder, so again, let the debates begin.

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Article posted on 13.08.2007

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