Why Mayweather Will Prevail

floyd mayweather jr.04.12.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: The last big fight of the year goes down this weekend when undefeated World Boxing Council welterweight champion and pound for pound King, Floyd Mayweather Junior, defends his crown against undefeated British pugilist, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. This clash of undefeated welterweights should prove to be an entertaining encounter with some fireworks along the way. The big question is which boxer’s unblemished record will lose the almighty “zero”?

I think the answer of that question can be summed up in a single word—size!

While Hatton is a brave warrior possessing the type of style which is apt to give Floyd fits, I’m afraid he is just too damned small to have a realistic chance at winning this bout. With the exception of one fight, Hatton has spent his entire career fighting in the 140 pound weight class. The one exception was his contest against Luis Collazo, where Hatton managed to escape with a narrow victory. It is no coincidence that the worst performance of Hatton’s career coincided with the lone time he decided to venture up in weight.

Although Floyd is not an especially big welterweight, he is the more proven commodity north of the light welterweight division. In fact, in his most recent victory, Floyd prevailed against a faded but still formidable Oscar De La Hoya in the 154 pound weight class. Even though Mayweather is only technically two inches taller than his British foe, he looks much bigger when the two are situated side-by-side, and I believe the size difference will ultimately prove too much for “The Hitman” to overcome.

What makes this bout especially interesting is that Hatton happens to posses the exact type style ideally suited for beating Floyd. In order to beat Mayweather, one needs to be able to cut off the ring and apply non-stop pressure. This includes using good work to the body in order to help slow Floyd down in the latter rounds of the fight. Hatton is a sensational pressure fighter who does good body work, but it remains to be seen whether or not he will be successful in cutting off the ring against someone of Mayweather’s caliber.

In an ideal scenario, Hatton hopes to turn this into a phone booth brawl. Whether or not he can do this may largely depend on the third man inside the squared circle, referee Joe Cortez. If Cortez allows Hatton to work his magic on the inside without immediately breaking the fighters every time they clinch, this will work in Hatton’s favor. If, however, Cortez stops the action whenever the two are in close quarters trying to make subtle maneuvers in the art of inside fighting, Hatton will not stand a chance. As it stands, things are going to be difficult enough for Hatton as it is, and if Cortez does not allow Hatton to fight his fight, he is doomed.

I think Lennox Lewis properly pegged this one when he made a warning to his fellow Brit: “Hatton has to rough him up, get Floyd up against the ropes and not give him room.” Furthermore, Lewis has stated that in order for Hatton to win, he must knock Mayweather out within the first four rounds. This is a most daunting task, but I believe the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world is correct—Hatton needs to press the action early, and if he cannot score an early knockout victory, at the very least, he needs to hurt Mayweather in the early stanzas to gain his respect and prevent him from establishing his rhythm.

I suspect Hatton will keep things relatively even during the first half of the fight wherein each fighter will be likely to have his moments. If things are relatively even after six, I am hard-pressed to see Hatton winning, especially if he is unable to hurt Floyd up to that point. This is when Floyd’s size advantage and superior athleticism will really come into play, as I foresee Mayweather dominating the latter half of this fight.

In the end, I have been wrong before when making predictions, and surely, I am bound to be wrong again. Of course, in boxing, anything and everything can happen. Given Mayweather’s history of hand problems, perhaps Ricky will have an even greater chance than I am giving him. I just have a difficult time envisioning a realistic scenario wherein Mayweather does not win this contest. Whatever happens, let us hope for an entertaining encounter. It would be a great way to close out what has been a sensational year of boxing.

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Article posted on 04.12.2007

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