Ricky Hatton - How About Some Respect Where It's Due!

ricky hatton21.10.07 - By James Slater: It never ceases to amaze me how boxing fans and experts alike can be so tough to please at times. The ongoing criticism Ricky Hatton is undergoing as he prepares to meet Floyd Mayweather is a perfect example. Some people would have us believe Hatton is completely unworthy of his mega fight with "Pretty Boy." These nay Sayers not only give "The Hitman" next to no chance on December 8th, they also claim he shouldn't even be boxing Mayweather at all.

He's simply not good enough and he has not earned a date with the reigning pound-for-pound king, they say. Talk about utter nonsense! What does a fighter have to do these days to earn respect? One unbiased look at Hatton's resume as a professional boxer let's you know straight away that the 29 year-old has more than earned his right to be respected.

First of all, Hatton proved many critics wrong when he beat the mighty Kostya Tszyu back in the summer of 2005. Up until that point, the non believers claimed, Hatton had no intention of ever stepping up to such a high level of competition. Admittedly, with Frank Warren as his promoter, Hatton took a long time to get what he said he always wanted, and a world title fight with the very best. But the fact that Hatton beat Tszyu, an achievement precious few experts felt was likely, was good enough. To have beaten him inside 12 rounds, and to have made Tszyu QUIT, was something else again. Come on, admit it, you never gave much serious consideration to that turn of events, now did you? In short, if that great win is not enough to have earned Hatton his respect from those who follow boxing we are clearly dealing with unreasonable people.

Hatton didn't stop there, though. Okay, Carlos Mauser is no great, but what he can be is dangerous - just ask Vivian Harris. A fight with Mauser made perfect sense for Hatton at the time, anyway. The Columbian held a world title, was a guy Ricky knew he could defeat and was a "name" who had credibility courtesy of his shock win over Harris. So of course Hatton took the fight, knocking Mauser out with a peach of a left hand to collect world title number two in the process. Still Hatton wanted more.

With the desire to be a two-weight champion, Ricky stepped up to welterweight and faced Luis Collazo. Two things made the fight harder for "The Hitman" than most felt it would be going in, however. Firstly, Collazo is a lot better than Hatton thought and secondly, Hatton put the weight on the wrong way. Bulking up to the extent that he was almost a middleweight on fight night, Hatton was sluggish in the ring and looked below his best. He gritted his teeth and beat a talented southpaw, collecting world title belt number three at the same time. No, he never looked great doing it, but Hatton was now holder of a championship in a second weight division. He had a bad night against Collazo, but aren't all fighters entitled to at least one such performance in their career? Ricky learned from the fight and will not make the same mistakes regarding the weight issue as he gets ready for his super fight in December.

Already, but to the hardest of critics, Hatton had done enough to get respect. His win over Juan Urango came at a time when he was suffering from a bad cold, therefore his laboured, yet clear, win was nothing to judge him by. His next fight, against teak-tough Mexican Jose Luis Castillo, was. Again doing something hardly anyone felt he would going in, Hatton made short work of the normally durable Castillo, getting rid of him in less than four rounds and breaking a selection of the Mexican's ribs while doing the job. Surely now everyone would agree with Hatton's own claims of being afforded inclusion in the sport's pound-for-pound list? Guess again. Still Hatton's detractors remained. And still they are vocal advocates of his unworthiness to be in boxing's elite club - a club currently overseen by the man he is going to be swapping blows with in Las Vegas two-and-a-bit weeks before Christmas.

Why are there so many fans and experts out there questioning Hatton's credibility as a serious rival for Mayweather? Where is Hatton's respect? Something is very wrong with how people judge boxers these days when an unbeaten fighter with all of the following is not recognised as a fine talent: - a) a proven 43-0 (31) record; b) world titles at two different weights; c) victories over two men who are almost certain to one day be enshrined at Canastota; d) proven ability at taking it as well as giving it, and e) a very real urge to fight the best available opposition at all times. All of the things just listed apply to Ricky Hatton. So why the negativity towards his fight with Mayweather?

Why are so many "experts" deafening in their opinion of Hatton's all too nonexistent chances? Who would they prefer Mayweather to be fighting? There are other superb fighters in or around the 147 pound neighbourhood, clearly. But Hatton has at least earned the right to get this fight - one he has dreamed of for years - hasn't he? One thing is a hundred percent sure, Hatton will give it everything he has come fight time, as he always does. If that quality, one in a number that Hatton possesses, doesn't earn a fighter respect then what else can he offer?

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, obviously, but surely the Hatton haters are way out of order in their incessant knocking of him. How foolish will they all look if Hatton scores the upset on December 8th? Who will respect them and their ability to give credible predictions on the sport they so profess to be well versed in if they are proven so utterly wrong by a fighter they seemingly hold in such contempt?

In the final analysis, both Ricky Hatton and his chances against Floyd Mayweather must be respected. You can put money on the fact that if the undeniably superbly gifted fighter who calls himself Pretty Boy doesn't respect Hatton now, he will after the fight is over with. The fans and experts should afford Hatton that courtesy right now. He has more than earned it.

Article posted on 22.10.2007

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