Boxing

No Fluke As Mayweather Hands The Hitman His First Defeat

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. - December 8th, 2007 - Congratulations to WBC Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., who improved his record to 39-0, 24 KO’s after beating England’s Ricky Hatton (43-1, 31 KO’s) by TKO 10 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night. The house was packed and the majority of those in attendance were Ricky Hatton fans, who hummed and sang throughout the painful under card fights and kept the place lively. Let us not forget, this fight was in the United States, not in England. The hum of the tune, “Blue Moon” served as a backdrop most of the evening..

Who we like or don’t like didn’t matter anymore. Who had the nicer manners and better social values was of no concern. Big cars and diamond studded watches were immaterial. It was time. And the ring was more than ready for some real action after the last four bouts that were as exciting as Jury Duty when you have a Spanish last name. So, let’s get right to it.

The Fight:

Round 1
Hatton started towards Floyd immediately, forcing him back and they danced around the ring a little until Ricky landed the first telling shot, a left to the face. Hatton swarmed Floyd for the first three minutes. Mayweather did a lot of holding but what else could he do? Both guys seemed a bit anxious. Hell, I was anxious just watching. 10-9 Hatton.

Round 2
Hatton quickly pressed into Mayweather and the clinching began again. Referee Joe Cortez kept warning Hatton for little ticky tack things. Hatton’s speed and aggression enabled him to land a few shots as Floyd moved backwards, nothing flush but enough to score as he kept Floyd in a mostly defensive posture. Hatton was dictating the pace and doing most of the punching. Mayweather rendered ineffective from the swarm. 10-9 Hatton.

Round 3
More of the same, with Hatton rushing into Floyd and punching. Mayweather was doing a bit of holding when the ref warned Hatton—for holding. It was getting uglier by the minute. Hatton pressed Floyd into the ropes and was able to best capitalize on those situations and score punches. Suddenly, as they shifted into the center ring, Mayweather landed a flush right hand that opened a cut above Hatton’s right eye. Blood started trickling down but Hatton continued fighting with no regard. Floyd did more damage with that one big punch for all of Hatton’s efforts. 10-9 Mayweather.

Round 4
Hatton went right after Mayweather, got him on the ropes and worked. It turned brawl when Floyd covered up and displayed his brilliant defensive skills, rolled his shoulders and made Ricky miss than landed a nice combination that caught Hatton good. Hatton reset the pressure until Floyd stepped back and cracked him with a clean right straight into his face, followed by a left and another grazing right. Hatton was stunned and leaned into Floyd and held. They brawled on the inside and Mayweather uses his elbows frequently to Hatton’s neck in defense. Cortez kept yelling Hatton’s name. Mayweather landed the better punches as Hatton didn’t move his head well in close and Floyd showed some quality.
10-9 Mayweather.

Round 5
Hatton kept the pressure on. Mayweather finding a home in the corner. Mayweather using his elbows often. Hatton relentlessly mauls Mayweather. Hatton landed some body shots and an uppercut in the corner. Floyd moves to center ring. Hatton pushed up into him, rarely letting Floyd get into position to punch well. Hatton dictating the action again. 10-9 Hatton.

Round 6
Hatton right back on top of Floyd, scoring shots against the ropes as Floyd moved mostly backwards. Mayweather turned his head down as Hatton landed a punch that found the back of Floyd’s neck. The ref stops the action and took a point away from Hatton. Hatton turned and appeared to gesture to the ref with his backside. I wonder if he was asking Cortez if he wanted to skip the foreplay or if he was telling Cortez that Floyd was turning his back to him.
Wild action as they brawled all about the ring, Hatton throwing more and landing more. Not much offense from Mayweather in the sixth. Mayweather hit Hatton behind the head but Cortez says nothing as the bell rings. 9-9 Even.

Round 7
It’s a slug fest in a phone booth as they wrestle and box at the same time. Floyd steps back, punches, misses. Hatton gets on top of him and swarms him with inside work. Floyd scores subtly in the clinches. Mayweather threw some wild shots that missed in the final ten seconds. 10-9 Hatton.

Round 8
Mayweather tried to establish a distance and box but Hatton comes in too close to void that effort. Hatton takes a straight
right that had to hurt. Mayweather more aggressive at that point and though Hatton went back to brawling in close with Floyd on the ropes, he was not landing anything with any pop. Mayweather gets Hatton in the corner and tees off. Hatton got to be hurt. Hatton comes back and reverses positions and lands a few grazing shots, nothing clean. 10-9 Mayweather.

The ref goes to Hatton’s corner asking if he’s all right. Billy Graham and Hatton both assure him that he’s fine.

Round 9
Mayweather more aggressive, pressed Hatton, and then Hatton turned the table they went back and forth, punching, ducking, and going round in a circle. Mayweather scored good shots; Ricky landed less than flush shots. Floyd out boxes Hatton from outside. Hatton slower and definitely hurt a bit. Mayweather used his jab in spots and scored some more. Straight rights were his most effective weapon in the ninth. 10-9 Mayweather.

Round 10
Hatton rushed in, Floyd starting to better time his shots. Hatton’s fans chanting the entire fight, regardless of the tide. Floyd caught Hatton with a perfect left hook that sent him face forward into the ring post for a double punch in effect. He went down, took a count, got up on shaky legs and Floyd went after him. A left hook followed by a straight right staggered Hatton who was starting to fall as Cortez grabbed Mayweather, Hatton fell back. Cortez quickly waved it off and went down on his knee over Hatton to keep him down. The time was 1:35 into the tenth.

It was over. Floyd Mayweather Jr. wins by TKO in ten.

*

Hatton got up with an assist from the ringside doctor. His face, a combination of blood, shock and disappointment. Floyd Mayweather graciously approached Hatton, hugged him, kissed him and showed sincere respect to the man from Manchester who just lost his first fight. Hatton looked surprised and at a loss for mutual niceties. His face was a picture of disbelief at the outcome of the fight and the surprising humility of his victorious opponent.

During the post fight interview, Floyd was even more gracious, saying that Hatton was still a Champion and that he looks forward to seeing him fight again. He said Hatton is one of the toughest competitors he ever faced and it sounded very honest. It was one of Floyd’s proudest moments and I congratulate him for a winning performance and classy way he opted to end the night.

“What a fluke!” Ricky Hatton said in his opening remark to HBO’s Larry Merchant during his end of the post fight interview. Ricky was asked about his future and his fans chanted encouraging sounds until Hatton indicated that yes, he would fight again. The house erupted with cheers.

Though Ricky Hatton lost this fight, he gave a good account of himself. It was a close fight that could have gone either way. Floyd was landing the cleaner punches and eventually, you pay the Piper. After Floyd started landing more consistently in the late rounds, Hatton remained too offensive minded to see that roundhouse left hook coming. Those are the most dangerous punches.

* *

The under cards consisted of four fights that were pure crap, unworthy of being on a PPV card. At least Edner Cherry (23-5-2, 11 KO’s) was kind enough to knock out Wes Ferguson (17-3-1, 5 KO’s) in six.

Jr. Featherweights Ponce De Leon (34-1, 30 KO’s) fought a long, sleepy boxing match against Eduardo Esobedo (20-3, 14 KO’s) and took all twelve rounds to win a pretty lopsided Decision.

Super Middleweight Jeff Lacy (23-1, 17 KO’s) eked out an uninspiring decision win over Peter Manfredo (28-5, 13 KO’s), who basically gave Lacy the fight. Lacy put Manfredo on the canvas in the fourth with a right hand that Manfredo didn’t see coming.

Prior to the knockdown, Manfredo had this fight in the bag. He was beating Lacy to the punch in the early rounds and showing better technical skills, but he did so little on offense it was no wonder Lacy was able to get the decision. Manfredo could’ve easily won this fight. Whenever he threw punches, he usually landed them and he was clearly the faster man with the better reflexes than Jeff Lazy. Manfredo’s going to cry when he watches the tape of that fight. Peter Manfredo, Saturday night on the biggest stage in boxing was the story of a man who showed no will to win.

So it looks like Jeff Lacy had more desire to win if nothing else. Lacy never impressed me even before he lost his hyped up status and confidence after Joe Calzaghe put the smack down on his image. He calls himself, “Left Hook Lacy” but he rarely used or landed his left hook.

Vargas vs. Mayorga would have been an excellent under card for the Mayweather Hatton fight but instead was a PPV on its own. This is a clear example of how PPV is hurting boxing. Vargas Mayorga was more a curiosity than a legitimate title fight. Whatever happened to the merit system? Why not show fighters who have begun to capture our imagination instead of wash outs and inert fighters of little consequence?

Lacy lacks mental discipline and has a body builder type frame, which is not ideal for boxing which requires more in the way of agility than muscle mass. Lacy looks the part but is very one dimensional. If it weren’t for super careful match making, we probably would never have heard of him.

As for Manfredo, I don’t understand why he wants to be a boxer if he doesn’t want to fight. He let so many knockout opportunities go by it was frustrating to watch. Manfredo is a nice, likable kid and I hope he made enough money to consider a new career, hopefully one that excites him and makes his life fulfilling. Outside one of the weakest divisions in boxing, he doesn’t have much of a future. It looks like “The Contender” was his fifteen minutes. There’s no milk left in that cow.

Why should Joe Calzaghe’s leftovers be part of a PPV card? How about a couple of unbeaten up and comers or maybe some very deserving rematches like Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vasquez on the under card? Make PPV special; show us new, exciting fighters instead of an insult to our intelligence and a dent in our wallets.

* * *

Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 09.12.2007



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