Boxing

Ricky Hatton Shuts Up His Critics, Looks As Good As Ever In Stopping Malignaggi

Ricky Hattonby James Slater - To all the so-called boxing experts who were calling Ricky Hatton a spent fighter who was only a fight or two away from retirement, "The Hitman" gave a smack in the eye last night. In punishing Paulie Malignaggi in Las Vegas, Hatton looked great. Hatton promised beforehand he would look a different, vastly improved fighter under new trainer Floyd Maweather Senior, and he was as good as his word.

In taking "The Magic Man" apart over the course of ten and-a-bit rounds, Hatton forced Maliganggi's trainer, "Buddy" McGirt, to throw in the towel at 48-seconds of the 11th round. The Manchester man's showing, in becoming the first ever man to stop the New Yorker, was so good it prompted both UK commentator Ian Darke and US promoter Lou DiBella to call his performance his best since the great win over Kostya Tszyu..

Looking a million miles away from the fighter who struggled to find his form against Juan Lazcano back in May, the 30-year-old light-welterweight king was sharp, his punches were both hard and accurate and there was nothing wrong with Ricky's stamina. Okay, it is easier going in there with a guy who is doing nothing but back-pedalling and attempting nothing much more than to last the course, as was, quite surprisingly, the case with Malignaggi last night at The MGM Grand. And at no time did "The Magic Man" either force Hatton to have to dig deep or to rely on his chin in taking a good shot. As such, some will likely say the fight told us precious little with regards to what Hatton has left at top level.

But nothing can be taken away from how Ricky did everything right against the guy he was in with. It's not his fault Maliganggi was so disappointingly poor and is no puncher. Hatton was expected to, if not lose, then struggle mightily against the slick-moving speedster. Now, however, it seems only Floyd Mayweather Junior is capable of making Hatton look bad. The question is, now that "Money" has retired, is there any other fighter out there capable of stopping the "new and improved" Hatton? As long as he stays at 140-pounds, Hatton would, based on last night's form, have too much for any of his rival world champions.

However, it does look as though Hatton will move up to take on the welterweights - Oscar De La Hoya in particular. Ricky said as much post-fight, saying the big mega-fights are at 147, and as such he will go up once more. This could, and probably will be, bad news for him.

At the moment, though Ricky Hatton has once again solidified his position as the world's number one at light-welterweight. He is FAR from done yet!

Article posted on 24.11.2008



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