Lennox Lewis, McGuigan and Honeyghan Offer Opinions On Mayweather-Hatton

03.12.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Former heavyweight champion and current HBO boxing commentator Lennox Lewis recently chimed in with his thoughts on the upcoming showdown between Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather. “Ricky’s got to go in there like a madmen,” he told BBC Sport. “He must go for an early win. Hatton has to rough him up against the ropes and not give him room. Maybe he can do it..

Lewis, who earlier picked a Mayweather victory because of his boxing skills, is becoming representative of many within the boxing community who are starting to see what was once viewed as almost a walkover for Mayweather as a much tougher bout than originally anticipated. Jose Luis Castillo, who fought and lost to both fighters, remarked after being knocked out by Hatton in the fourth round of their fight that Mayweather would easily defeat the “Hitman." However, since then he has added his voice into the mix of those who feel that Hatton’s aggressive style and whirlwind punching may cause Mayweather problems.

“Hatton is a very strong, proud fighter,” he says. “He can win.”

Lewis, who will not be working the HBO telecast, admits to whom he will be rooting for. “I’d love to see Ricky do it,” he says. “It would be a real accomplishment and put him up there with the great all time fighters. But to win he must impose his will.”

Former WBA featherweight champion and boxing commentator Barry McGuigan also feels that Hatton can pull off the upset but is concerned about referee Joe Cortez. Cortez has been known to quickly break fighters apart during clinches and penalize infractions early in bouts. McGuigan feels this could add to Hatton’s problems.

“I just hope referee Cortez lets him (Hatton) fight on the inside,” the hall of fame fighter told the BBC. “I’m real worried Mayweather will use the referee and pick pocket the fight.”

Another former champion, and one whose greatest moment in the ring has recently been brought up in regards to Ricky’s chances against Mayweather is Lloyd Honeyghan. In 1986 Honeyghan was a huge underdog against then boxing wunderkind Donald Curry. After Curry had defeated Milton McCrory in December of 1985 to become the first undisputed welterweight champion since Sugar Ray Leonard, Ring Magazine had even paired him with Marvin Hagler, who was coming off his defeat of Thomas Hearns, as the co-number-one pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Honeyghan was given almost no chance of pulling off what became the upset of the decade. After six torturous rounds in front of a sparse and weirdly sedate crowd in Atlantic City Honeyghan did just that. He feels Ricky is in the same position as he was and has a great chance of bringing the welterweight title back to Britain.

“Ricky will find the blueprint in the way I beat Curry,” he says. “I didn’t just go in and chuck punches. It’s got to be educated pressure with lots of lateral movement. If Ricky watches my fight against Curry he’ll see me constantly going forward but (also) moving, moving, moving. I’ve seen Ricky fight like that before. Mayweather’s definitely beatable. It’s a hard fight to say who’s going to win. I do worry about whether his (Hatton’s) corner knows enough to help him adapt to Mayweather’s style of fighting.”

Meanwhile Mayweather is both unconcerned and a bit amused at Oscar De Lay Hoya predicting a Hatton victory.

“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he offered recently from his training camp. “He’s supposed to say that, he’s Ricky Hatton’s promoter. It’s just like if he was my promoter, he’s going to say I’m going to win. Even if he didn’t want to say that, it’s what he’s supposed to say. You always want your fighter to win.”

Floyd then adds, with a smile, “Oscar said he was going to win on May 5th (when he fought Mayweather). Just because he said it, did he win? So, that’s your answer right there.”

Article posted on 03.12.2007

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