Mayweather Hatton: “Where are you Watching the Fight?” Ricky could be on the verge of global stardom

07.12.07 - By Christopher Roche, - If Ricky Hatton defeats Floyd Mayweather, Jr., he will become one of the most famous athletes in the entire world. I do not base that statement on scientific polling or statistics, but rather, on the fact that a large amount of non-boxing fans have asked me “Where are you watching the fight?” Over the last few weeks, I felt as if I were transported back into the 1980’s when Leonard vs. Hagler or Tyson vs. Spinks was on everyone’s mind. Leonard and Tyson were the victors in those bouts, and they were undoubtedly two of the world’s most recognizable faces in the world for many years.

Now it could be Ricky Hatton’s turn.

It has been a long time since boxing has enjoyed such mainstream glory, and De La Hoya vs. Mayweather began the revival. However, that fight somewhat fizzled out because it pitted a fighter with stamina issues who is past his prime against a fighter who likes to pot shot, cover up and run. Most non-boxing fans were bored with what they saw.

Mayweather vs. Hatton promises to be different.

Hatton does not have stamina issues, and he is solidly in his prime. While Mayweather will likely use the same strategy that he employed against De La Hoya, it will not work as well against Hatton. Mayweather, for all of his great attributes, is not a huge puncher, nor does he throw in high volume. Those factors will allow Hatton to close the gap and wing his body shots. Mayweather will be forced to engage and counter, but one pot shot at a time will not be enough to fend off the hard-charging Hatton. Mayweather will be forced to throw combinations, and when he opens up, the fight will get very interesting, and Hatton will have a chance to win and achieve global superstardom.

Hatton is already a European legend. The fact that thousands of fans are traveling from Manchester to Las Vegas is testament to his star quality, and if he beats the pound for pound king, then his celebrity will exponentially explode.

The same reasons that Hatton is loved in Manchester will translate the world over. Hatton is a regular guy. He is humble, rugged and real. The fans relate to him as one of their own. Hatton is the Dale Earnhardt of boxing, but do not forget that Dale Earnhardt toiled for years as a regional hero before he became a superstar.

If millions of spectators witness an upset tomorrow night, then word of mouth fueled through the internet and television will make Hatton, a veteran of 44 wins, an overnight crossover star. Before Hatton goes on to be the next global boxing star, however, he must overcome the toughest challenge of his career.

Mayweather, for all of his success, has never spawned much of a following, and he flopped in his latest attempt at appealing to the mainstream on “Dancing with the Stars”. Mayweather is a fighter for the aficionados. He will never command the undying loyalty from the people that Hatton does, and thus his upside as a superstar outside of boxing is limited. However, star power does not win fights, and Mayweather will have his “A” game ready from the first bell until the last.

And until that first bell rings, I will continue to answer the question: “Where are you watching the fight?”

Article posted on 08.12.2007

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