Mayweather VS Hatton: The Moment Of Truth

floyd mayweather jr.By Vivek Wallace: After months and months of talk, the day of reckoning is finally upon us.

All of the workouts, all of the bravado, all of the commentary, and now, all of a sudden, the main characters in this epic drama are firmly entrenched at center stage.

I can remember being a kid, witnessing the euphoria surrounding the world of Pro Wrestling as 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper was set to face off against Hulk Hogan in the sports first ever 'Wrestlemania'. Few events had ever amassed that type of cult following in the history of sports..

Right on cue, in a recent interview, Roddy Piper stated that a point of contention between he and the 'Hulkamania' to this very day is the question of exactly who was the 'true' draw for the sports biggest mega event at the time? Did the fans tune in to see wrestlings first real iconic figure - Hulk Hogan - or did they fork over the pay-per-view bucks to watch the 'Hulkster' crush the man we all loved to hate - Roddy Piper?

Ironically, one of boxings biggest sporting events is set to tread those same waters.

As talented as the young Floyd Mayweather is, few like him, and most want to see him destroyed, while Hatton, a fan fave extraodinaire, has enjoyed the recent surge in an already deep fan base.

When the smoke clears, none of this may mean much because only two men will fight in the ring. To get a quick 'take' on what the fighters need to do to keep their "O", we take an in-depth look at fight plans and keys to victory for both men.

RICKY HATTON's FIGHT PLAN/KEYS TO VICTORY: If this fight plan seems very similar to the Cotto fight plan I wrote up going into his fight with Mosley, it's because the fights are similar in many ways for obvious reasons. You have a natural 'stalk-til-they-can't-walk' styled pressure fighter against a natural speedster. Only this time around, the speedster is in his prime and has what is viewed as an above average defense. Ricky Hatton will need to follow his mantra by applying unrelenting pressure, and smothering Floyd Mayweather Jr. from every angle. Hatton gets far less recognition than he deserves as an intelligent fighter who knows how to cut off angles and force a fighter to step right into his many traps. One thing that will be HIGHLY important for Ricky Hatton in this fight is to find a home somewhere on the mug of Mayweather to keep his jab firmly planted. Pressure and/or the jab, is two sure-fire ways to nullify an obvious speed advantage for Floyd. Ricky Hatton will also need to figure out a way to tame his aggression when Floyd begins to connect. "Iron" Mike Tyson once said "everyone has a plan until they get hit". This couldn't be any further from the truth as most of us question how Hatton - an already intense fighter - will be able to calm himself if Mayweather begins connecting at a high rate. If frustration sets in, it will mean two things for Hatton. Either an adrenaline surge that culminates in his best moment ever in the ring, or a loss of energy, fueled by missed shots of desperation that would pave the way for his most humbling experience in the ring.

Hatton will need to pick his spots, and land his shots, while keeping Floyd near the ropes at all times. If Floyd keeps Hatton out of his normal game plan and doesn't allow him to trap him along the ropes , things could unravel fast. Oscar Dela Hoya recently said that after watching Hatton spar, he left "Shellshocked at how fast and explosive Hatton's movements are". If Hatton enters the ring as sharp and isn't somehow overtaken by the presence of such a huge spectacle, this could be the type of storm that the 'Prettyboy' may not know quite how to weather. Look for strong aggression and tons of traps from Hatton, with his patented ferocity in high gear.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER's FIGHT PLAN/KEYS TO VICTORY: Trying to dissect this man comes down to a literal act of hairsplitting in the sense that the margin of error is so small when trying to defeat him. Few in the sports have a ring IQ as high as Floyd's and this was evidenced by a statement from another source in the sport who's knowledge is endless. Hall of Fame trainer, the great Emanuel Steward, recently stated that the young Mayweather is so good that he's exactly the opposite of what most people think he really is. He continued in saying, "If anything, Floyd's defense is overrated, and his offense is highly underrated". This was an amazing statement because although Floyd has enough defense to make a fighter often miss, it's the subtle things he does on offense that typically makes the difference in the end. Few have ever really noticed or mentioned it, but despite the fact that Floyd rarely goes with a sustained body attack against his opponent, what he does do consistently throughout his fights is sink a moderate paced jab directly to the pit of the stomach of his opponent. It appears to television viewers that it's just a way to score an easy point, but past opponents have been very vocal about the way it leaves them sucking wind in a very 'asthmatic' way as the fight wears on. This is a danger to a man {Hatton} that some already feel has had stamina issues going down the stretch in fights, and this could very well be a key to victory if Floyd is able to use his cat-like speed and connect with it at will.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. will need to follow the blueprint his elder Mayweather's laid, by being quick in reflexes, yet slow and methodical in execution. He will not be able to defeat a pressure fighter in his prime like Hatton by pot-shotting, but will instead need to use combinations to keep the plodding fighter off balance. With or without success connecting, I expect Floyd to keep a very cautious gameplan throughout the fight. If this is indeed his farewell fight, he may decide to step it up a notch and give the fans another reason to consider him among the sports all-time elite. Either way, expect a very 'game' Mayweather who will try to execute his plan flawlessly. To quote HBO's Larry Merchant, "Floyd's stick-and-move style doesn't always move me, but it does win fights".

PREDICTION: I'm putting my money and my mouth on Floyd Hatton. I know, I know, kinda crazy, but the reality is, this is either mans fight to be had. One man is in a dead pursuit of a life-lasting legacy in a very 'dog-chasing-his-own-tail' fashion, while the other man has the talent, skill, and power to conquer and devour.

The only obvious winner in this fight is the fans because no matter what, these are the kind of moments that embody pure nirvana. Soak it up while it last, because there may never be another year in boxing like the one about to end.

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Article posted on 08.12.2007

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