Tszyu vs. Hatton: An early analysis

30.03.05 - By Darrell La Montre: When Kostya “Thunder from Down Under” Tszyu (31-1 25 ko’s) squares off against Ricky “Hitman” Hatton on June 5th at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England fistic fireworks will be on display. Don’t be fooled by Hatton’s corpulent appearance when recently interviewed on Showtime Champion Boxing, come fight time he will be in tip top shape and ready to rumble. Tszyu, of course will be as well, and if you couple that with their aggressive, exciting style of fighting we are in for quite an interesting fight.

It will be interesting to see how Tszyu (a pressure fighter himself) deals with the suffocating pressure that Hatton will apply at times. Also, it will be interesting to see how well Tszyu is able to take the body punches that Hatton will be administering throughout the fight. It will be crucial for Ricky to land some good, hard body shots early on Tszyu in order to zap some energy from him, and take some starch off his punches. Tszyu himself is an excellent body puncher, and it will be equally interesting to see how well Hatton is able to absorb the body attack that Kostya will administer on him.

Hatton is more of a volume puncher than Tszyu, but Tszyu is the harder puncher of the two. Defensively, neither one of them are an elusive target. Hatton was dropped back in ’02 by a fighter named Eamonn Magee in the first round. It’s possible that he may have been dry and/or initially bothered by Magee’s southpaw stance. The good thing is that he was able to get right back up and win a unanimous decision. Tszyu had been dropped by Hugo Pineda, Vince Phillips, and twice by Diosbelys Hurtado. With the exception of his only defeat against Phillips, Tszyu was able to get up off the canvas and stop his opponent.

Both fighters appear to have a good amount of heart and toughness. Even though Hatton is the younger fighter, he is much more susceptible to getting cut than Tszyu. I would not be surprised at all if this fight gets stopped on a cut, with Hatton losing on a TKO. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, though. Both fighters also appear to have good recuperative powers. After being hurt and even after being dropped, they were able to recover very quickly.

An early prediction on this fight is that Hatton will start off using more movement than usual. He has enormous respect for Tszyu’s ability and punching power. A good fight for Hatton to watch would be Morrison/Foreman. Morrison who himself was a huge puncher, was the younger, quicker fighter. Foreman had one way of fighting ---straight ahead and swinging from every conceivable angle. Morrison used lateral movement throughout the fight, and did not really attempt to knock Foreman out. He basically threw quick, sharp punches and was able to avoid getting hurt himself by not standing toe-to-tow with Big George. I expect Hatton to employ a similar strategy. This is not to say that Hatton will be running or dancing around the ring, but I expect him to fight an intelligent fight. I expect him to mix pressure with movement. If he doesn’t, he will almost certainly run into a big shot and get knocked out, or stopped potentially on a cut.

Now that I think about it, with 20,000+ hometown fans screaming for him, and with his natural proclivity towards brawling, I see Hatton brawling more than boxing, and this will be what will leave him open for one of Tszyu’s potent right hands. Tszyu will fight the only way he know how – straight ahead with perfect balance, and timing, throwing straight, hard punches down the middle. If Hatton fights smart, he has a shot at pulling off the upset. If he fights stupid, he gets knocked out. Smart or dumb, long or short, cut or not cut, this fight will be a good one.

Article posted on 30.03.2005

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