Boxing

Mayweather vs. Hatton: Someone’s O Must Go-The Prediction

floyd mayweather jr.30.11.07 - By Ted Sares: Here is how I see it playing out. Ricky will be in for a long and frustrating night unless he can pressure and back up Pretty Boy Floyd, 38-0. PBF will likely frustrate him with in-and-out and lateral movement, avoiding Hatton‘s numbing bombs to the body. Unlike Jose Luis Castillo, Mayweather will be far more elusive. And unlike De La Hoya (and his vaunted left hook), Hatton lacks the wherewithal to trap and stop Mayweather in his tracks, though his brutal left hook to the body remains his signature weapon.

Like Mayweather, Hatton, 43-0, is undefeated. Unlike Mayweather, he fights in an all-action, incoming boxing style. Yes, Floyd Mayweather Junior is a purist’s delight and Ricky Hatton is a purist’s nightmare, albeit an entertaining one. The two respective styles are in stark contrast.

Mayweather

I am not a great fan of Mayweather (for any number of reasons not the least of which is his unwillingness to engage in heated exchanges) But I also know that such reticence is factored into his fight plans and it is difficult to argue with strategic success. I also have a problem with his noxious habit of flaunting money, particularly when so many retired fighters are struggling to make a go of it, but trash talk and feigned nasty behavior are all part of the build up designed to increase the PPV receipts. Bottom line: I’ll be rooting for Hatton.

That said, Mayweather blends tremendous athleticism with “old school techniques,” likely resulting in his uncanny ability to use shoulders rolls to shrug off blows, deflect punches with his arms, and counter with deadly and crisp accuracy. He does it so well and so subtly, he is seldom given proper credit for it and just might be too good for his own good. His use of feints, parrying, upward jabbing, giving angles, crossover defense, strategic lateral movement, and deflecting punches is all part of the mix. So is his mastery of defense, slipping punches, and fighting off the jab. His stamina is always top notch and his chin is durable. He stays in shape year around and never seems to have trouble making weight. And like Hatton, once the bell rings, he is all business. In short, his skill set is complete.

Hatton

The Hitman does have one quality that Mayweather seems to lack; namely, a vicious determination and focused tenacity inside the ring. One definition of “throwback“ is that it manifests a violent and malefic dimension (one that reflects a boxer’s propensity to engage in a ferocious slugfest). If so, Hatton is surely a throwback type. Indeed, his astute trainer Billy Graham says: "Ricky's always telling jokes, but in the ring he's cold, merciless and an awful man." (BBC Sport, November 27, 2005).

While PBF’ win over De La Hoya was less than stirring, Hatton’s win over Urango (which featured some late-round holding) was not all that exciting either. But it was his prior close win against Louis Collazo that weighs heavily in my analysis. When he was rocked in the last round, he was badly hurt, and it suggested that at least in that weight class, he might be biting off more than he can chew. Hell, that was the goodbye look he had on his face, one that I have never seen PBF wear. The Hitman did make up for it, however, when he took out Castillo with one ripping shot to the body, but Castillo weighed 140 and Collazo weighed 147 and Mayweather will weigh what Collazo weighed. And keep in mind that PBF fought De La Hoya as a light middleweight. To me, that’s compelling.

I will never, ever underestimate Hatton’s heart if the going get rough. I have yet to see that quality tested in Mayweather, but that clearly is not meant as a criticism.

The Prediction

The contrasting styles here suggest an encounter between a Matador and a Bull. While PBF may not be able to showcase his full skill-set in this bout, I see him winning the fight by UD. As well, Ricky’s propensity to cut and swell could result in a late-round stoppage. However, if Ricky can somehow hurt and then trap Floyd on the ropes or in a corner, we might well see something else.

I sure hope I am wrong, but this time around, I don’t look for a Blue Moon in the evening sky over Manchester.

Article posted on 01.12.2007



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