Mayweather versus Hatton: Brain versus Brawn?
Neil Goodman, photo by Rob DeLorenzo/GBP - The build up is now done and dusted; we are now (or should be) well aware of the respective strengths of the protagonists involved. The two combatants are chalk and cheese; one is brash and flash; whilst the other is down the pub, playing darts with his mates..
Article posted on 08.12.2007
Both fighters have built impressive winning runs; but someone’s ‘0’ must go!!
I am going to be completely impartial now; this fight is truly massive!! Regardless of nationalities, records and reputations; what other fight has captured the attention of the world like this one? In the last ten years, I can not think of one, in fact make that twenty!
There are several factors to this fight may prove to be decisive to the outcome; and these are as follows:
One crucial question is; is Hatton coming into the ring a fully fledged Welterweight? If Ricky comes to table as a blown up light-welterweight; well, he is in trouble. Unfortunately, to date, we have only seen Hatton effective as a 10 stone fighter; when stepping 7lbs he, in all honesty, got found out. I do accept, to a degree, that Hatton was ill prepared when facing Collazo. But, is the task of squaring off against Mayweather any different?
The Hatton camp believes they have sized up Floyd; and that he is a small welterweight. I have to say, both my visual and statistical interpretation of Mayweather do not back up this hypothesis.
The additional time that the Hatton camp have been afforded to prepare for this fight, they say, means they have been able to build up Ricky in a more scientific manor. Whilst Hatton does appear a different beast this time out, and with prior lessons learned; the first two or three rounds will be very telling in determining whether Ricky can function as a fully fledged Welterweight.
Style wise Hatton and Mayweather are poles are apart. Hatton is the box-fighter; but as he had stepped up in class this has developed more into a pressure fighter type of style. Relatively short as light-welterweight, he also has comparatively short arms; so he does a majority of his best work on the way into range and then really looks to let fly once he get into his opponents chest. Body punching is clearly a Hatton forte and he will be looking to bury his hooks and uppercuts into Mayweathers torso at every given opportunity.
Turning our attentions to Floyd; we see a fighter with all the skills and smarts in the world. He truly does have the whole package; but it would be fair to say that in recent fights he has not put his whole arsenal on display.
Mayweather has dazzling speed of hand and foot; he can throw every punch in the book (with either hand) and he also a defensive master to boot. Early in his career, in the lighter weight divisions, Floyd was more of an attacking force; but against the bigger men he has been happier to out-skill and out point his opponents.
The war of words and mind games has been raging between the two protagonists, long before the contracts were signed. Then once the two went on a promotional tour together things started to get really heated.
Floyd, maybe genuinely, believes that Hatton is not in his class. For Hatton, actions speak louder than words and he believes all Mayweathers hype and bluster is just a smoke screen.
Whilst Floyd has tried to hog the microphone; Ricky has quietly gone about his business and I think this has started ruffle the pound for pound champions feathers. Perhaps Floyd is having trouble getting to grips with the fact that Hatton really and truly believes he can win this fight.
When the two squared off against one another for the final time, pre-fight, Mayweather it would appear cracked for a split second and pushed Hatton. Hatton, usually a happy go-lucky sort, made a throat slitting gesture; it is fair to say this has become very personal!
There are potentially numerous other factors, which may a bearing on the outcome of the fight; in no particular order, they are:
The referee: will Joe Cortez allow Hatton to bore in and stay on the inside? This could have a massive bearing on how Hatton goes about trying to wrestle the initiative away from Mayweather.
Cuts: Ricky has been a bleeder and Mayweathers speed and slashing combinations could be a nightmare for Hattons fragile eye tissue.
Mayweathers Hands: Are they as fragile as some have been speculating? To be honest, in the past, Floyd has not had to punch hard to win all his fights. This said pitter patter punches are unlikely to discourage a rather fired up little Manc.
Fitness: both fighters appear to be in tip-top condition; but will Hattons hunger give him an edge. He does appear to have gone the extra mile in the build up to this fight and he has showed an ability to out-work all his previous foes.
So to a conclusion; who will win? Whose ‘0’ will go?
The form book dictates that Floyd will win the fight; probably by 4 or 5 rounds; he after all has shown the consistency and propensity to beat top class operates. I am of course talking about the likes of De La Hoya, Castillo and Corrales.
There is though a good chance that Hatton brings to the table something new. He will not be discouraged, he will not take a backward step and his body assaults fit into the savage category.
Both camps make such good cases, for their respective fighters. Whilst the Team Mayweather mock Hattons wide hooks; Hatton has mimicked Floyds legendary pad work and states ‘I hope he hits me like that’.
So decision time; I have procrastinated for long enough! I can see Mayweather winning a close points decision and I also envisage him having to dig deeper than he has ever had to do before; underlining his greatest once and for all.
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