Malignaggi Concerned About Hatton's Wrestling, Hopes Referee Bayless Will Not Allow Excess Holding

by James Slater - Though he is convinced he is a more talented fighter than Ricky Hatton and that he will emerge the victor this coming Saturday night in Las Vegas, Paulie Malignaggi has admitted he is somewhat concerned about "The Hitman's" propensity to wrestle and hold in fights. The fast-talking New Yorker wants nothing more than a fair fight on Saturday, and he doesn't want Hatton being shown any favouritism in the form of the Manchester man being allowed to get away with his clinching and spoiling..

Talking with Sky Sports recently, "The Magic Man," said the fans want to see action, and that they don't get it when a fighter is insistent on holding at every opportunity.

"Listen, there's no problems with inside fighting unless there's Ricky Hatton involved," Malignaggi said. "Nobody complains that a referee is breaking fighters except when he's fighting. Referees want to see action just as much as fans want to see it. They never stop the action. If you're wrestling, then you've got to be broken up. They say if one hand's free you're allowed to work. If you're the one being held you can't work and you have to be freed up."

As concerned as he is, Malignaggi is happy with Kenny Bayless being given the assignment of referee.

"I think Kenny is a good referee," Malignaggi went on. "I watched Cotto-Margarito and he refereed that fight and it was an inside fight almost the whole way. But when there was clinching, Kenny instantly said, 'Break.' When they were throwing punches inside he let it go on as he should have done, why would he break that up? When there's holding though, Kenny shouldn't think twice about breaking it up on Saturday night."

Malignaggi is right when he says fans want to see action, and we all hope Saturday's fight is no ugly affair. However, Paulie is convinced Hatton has been allowed to get away with too much spoiling in the past. Malignaggi goes even further and claims his opponent has no defensive ability, hence the wrestling tactics.

"He'll throw a combination and then grab you so you can't answer back," Malignaggi said of Hatton's style. "He has no defensive ability so what he does is try to win the round by landing his punch and then grabbing you before you can answer back. People say, 'Oh, Ricky, he keeps getting broken up,' but that's because he's holding. Sometimes there's a little bit of double standard when Hatton fights.

"With Castillo it was a free for all. [His fight with] Kostya Tszyu was definitely a free for all. With Floyd it was a little bit of back and forth but obviously Ricky does like his wrestling, maybe he feels like he has a career in MMA after he's done boxing."

For Hatton's part, he says his inside fighting is an art he has perfected, and that there is nothing wrong with it. Ricky was very upset with the way Joe Cortez refereed his losing fight with Mayweather. Which fighter will come out smiling on Saturday? We will soon see.

Article posted on 21.11.2008

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