Did We Miss The Best Of Ricky Hatton?

Ricky HattonBy James Barlow: When I heard the news that Ricky Hatton had signed to fight Juan Lazcano in Manchester I originally though that Hatton has chose a good fighter to box first on his comeback trail. But now having had chance to think about things and hearing Hatton state in recent interviews that he is now ‘in the home stretch of his career’ and only plans to be boxing for another 2 years max it has left me wondering have we missed the best of Ricky Hatton. Back on the 4th of June in 2005, I watched Hatton beat the great Kostya Tszyu forcing him to quit on his stool at the end of the 11th round.

As a big Hatton fan I thought this was it, Hatton had arrived in the big time. The American audiences could now not ignore him; he had beaten the linear champ and would get the big name fights he disserved. Prior to this fight I had watched Ricky’s demolish the aging Mike Stewart and Ray Oliviera and was convinced Hatton could take it to the next level and felt in beating Tszyu he had done just that. The light welterweight division was buzzing with Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Vivian Harris all champions and looking like class acts.

On top of that floating around in the back ground the likes of Paulie Malignaggi, Junior Witter, Arturo Gatti and Sharba Mitchell and up at welterweight Zab Judah, Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron all looked like they would make exiting opposition for hot property Hatton. Vivian Harris just after this got slightly exposed loosing his title to the very poor Carlos Maussa and Hatton signed to fight Maussa next. Maussa had lost 2 of his previous 5 bouts one against Miguel Cotto and the other against a poor Aturo Morua (who himself prior to fighting Maussa had lost 3 of his last 6).

Hatton destroyed Maussa in convincing fashion and in adding the W.B.A title seen his stock rise even further. However it was around this time that things started to go wrong. Although Maussa was a champion he was a poor one at that and since fighting Hatton has not won a single fight. Hatton then signed to fight Luis Callazo and struggled to win a fight that many though he had lost. Many boxing fans recognized that Hatton was not at his best at welterweight and accepted he should moved back down. This was about the same time Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather moved up!

Back down at light welterweight the best fight team Hatton come up with was Juan Urango the I.B.F title holder but not really a champion as he picked up a vacant belt. Hatton picked up a points victory but did not exactly set the town alight. Next up was something Hatton could finally get his teeth into Mexican great Jose Luis Castillo. Castillo had recently struggled badly against Herman Ngoudjo but was still a big name. A near perfect body shot from Hatton dispatched of Castillo and was enough to convince Mayweather he should give Manchester’s favorite son a shot.

Hatton could not refuse a crack at Mayweather and fair play to him for trying but Mayweather at welterweight was always going to be too much. And this brings us to the present day and the upcoming Lazcano match up. With Ricky claiming after the Mayweather fight he would only be fighting for another two years the prospect of the Lazcano fight does not fill me with excitement. If Ricky is true to his word we may only see him in the ring after Lazcano another 2 or 3 times. This leaves me wondering have we really seen the best of Ricky Hatton? For me the only real names on his record are Tszyu, Castillo and Mayweather who beat him.

Callazo is a good fighter but will not be remembered as great. The prospects that lay ahead of him after the Tszyu fight were great but bar Mayweather, Hatton’s management do not seem to have delivered. I hope that they and Ricky get there acts together and signs to fight some serious fighters. I would hope to see him in there with at least Malignaggi and Witter before he retires. Come on Ricky we know you can do it!

Article posted on 22.03.2008

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