My Take On Hatton Controversial, But I'll Stick My Neck Out!

02.06.05 - By Steve Mckenna: IF you believe some of the doom-mongers, Ricky Hatton's going to get blown away when he steps into the ring with IBF world light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu. It maybe the biggest fight Britain has seen since the tragic, but epic, Nigel Benn-Gerald McCllelan clash in 1995 but it's also very one-sided, say some experts.. My patriotism may be getting the better of me, but I cannot agree with this school of thought. Make no mistake, this weekend is a make-or-break one for Hatton's ring career and we'll find out just how good he is. Prior to this, he's gone into every one of his fights as a big favourite.

He's been fed a diet of fringe world-class foes, has-beens and never-will-bes, and you can probably count on both hands the amount of rounds he's lost on the scorecards in his 38-fight career. However, against the Russian-based Aussie Tszyu, he's very much the underdog. If Hatton prevails, he can look forward to multi-million pound pay-days against boxing's elite and will join Benn among Britain's all-time greats.

If he loses, and loses badly, his career may never recover. I see the fight going one of two ways. Tszyu will either cut, bust up and knock out Hatton or he will be outpointed by the man with arguably the best engine in boxing. Tszyu is a superb technician, as well as a ferociously hard puncher. I've got nightmare visions of Hatton being cut early on before feeling the full force of Tszyu's devastating right hand. If that detonates clean on Hatton's chin, the fight will almost certainly be over.

But Tszyu's 35, hasn't boxed many rounds in recent years and won't relish having to put up with Hatton's unbelievable work-rate. Hatton doesn't bang as hard as Tszyu, but he hits more often and with great variety and I feel this can propel him to a memorable points victory. Remember, ten years ago, no-one expected Benn to beat McCllelan. And twenty years ago, few tipped Barry McGuigan one of Hatton's biggest fans to defeat dominant featherweight champion Eusebio Pedroza. But both of them overcame the odds and Hatton can do likewise.

Article posted on 02.06.2005

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