Boxing

My Pick - "A Spoiler" - I'm going with Hatton

04.06.05 - By Christopher Dawson: Tonight we will be watching Ricky Hatton take on Kostya Tszyu for his IBF Junior Welterweight championship belt. Tszyu will be a heavy favorite by the odd's makers and the boxing experts. Most are predicting Hatton to lose, and lose big by knock out or stoppage on cuts. I am going with the under dog on this one, I'm picking Hatton to win.. It may be on points, or he may stop the great Aussie, but I believe that Kostya is ready to be taken and that it's time for a new face to take over the division that Tszyu has ruled for the better part of seven years.

Contrary to what some experts will say, I do not believe that Ricky has been brought a long too slowly, in fact judging by his performances against B level opposition, Ricky has proven that he can be a destructor. If he is just peaking at the exact time that he's been paired off with Tszyu, then Hatton's management team make look like literal geniuses by this time Sunday morning.

I'm not trashing Tszyu in any way. I've always like him, even after he lost to Vince Phillips. I also recognize that pound for pound, he may be the physically strongest fighter on the planet. He's a fitness buff, that likes to pump iron to make his strength even more potent. He has terrifically honed boxing skills steaming from a strong, lengthy amateur career. His left hook is sneaky, and potent. His right cross is deceptively fast and accurate like a laser. There is very well a possibility that I will be proven wrong and Kostya will catch Ricky clean and stop him, or open some cuts. If that happens, then it happens. This is a fight that could end in the favor of either man and still turn out to be fight of the year.

Maybe it could provide Kostya with the trilogy his career has thus far denied him. And so what if Hatton loses. What if he turns out to be a very talented good fighter that wins some and loses some, but only to elite fighters? What's wrong with that? Henry Cooper used to win some and lose some, so did Frank Bruno. Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank too. I'll tell you something else all of those men have in common, they always gave their very all in every fight they ever competed in.

That's my kind of boxer. That's what I like to know, that I can rely on my guy to always show up in shape and ready to lay it all on the line. You can't say that about every fighter. England's pugalistic history is stacked with the type, yet they have been unfairly labeled as a country full of "horizontal heavyweights" and "bleeders." England's fight fans should be proud tonight and cheer for Hatton as loud as their patriotic lungs can. I'm not from England, but I am a Hatton fan and I'm pulling for him in this, the fight of his life.

Ricky's fans, for their part, have every right to be proud of Hatton and his talents. Even if he loses tonight, I'm a Ricky Hatton fan, because he fights the style I feel the most connected with. The workman type, Blue Collar Worker, slugger that works the body, because he knows a good old school body attack can wear down even the most skilled of fighters, and allow a plodder to reign in and win a fight. In the style of Joe Frazier, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Arturo Gatti or Jake Lamotta. My kind of fighter. It also happens to be the ballsiest way to fight a man. Ricky Hatton has heart. Hatton has tons of supporters, I suspect he may have more after this fight is over.

He places enormous pressure on himself to perform to the standard of the people that adore him. Unlike with a fighter such as Manny Pacquio, Ricky is able to use this energy to motivate him, and doesn't fold under the stress of the magnitude of the event. Hatton's a survivor. He tasted the canvas for the first time as a professional against Eamonn Magee. Hatton passed the test that every fighter should have to just before challenging for a world title. He faced adversity and he did not crumble under pressure.

He did not quit or doubt himself. He simply picked himself up, dusted himself off and went about dominating Magee. We always hold a prospect to the same pessimism in boxing. AYeah, he looks good, but has been in against anybody and got tagged? How did he react? We know that Hatton can be knocked down. We also know that Kostya can be knocked down too. Any man can be when hit hard enough with the right technique. It=s how the man reacts to that trauma that makes the boxer.

Youth will be heavily on Hatton's side. It's not only because of Ricky's chronological age, it is also greatly because of Tszyu's lengthy amateur background, and wear and tear over the years. He's only been in 32 professional fights, but he's been a pro for thirteen years. I smell and upset, because I think he can be taken. It's not as though it's unprecedented. Sure he looked great destroying Sharmba Mitchell, last November, but lets not forget the example we were taught by Felix Trinidad and Ronald AWinky@ Wright, only weeks ago. You can look great against the right, hand picked opponent, and then fall to pieces in your very next fight and suddenly look your age.

Trinidad and Kostya had both been on long absences from the sport. Felix because of retirement and Tszyu due to various injuries. Both were being doubted by knowledgeable fight followers because of the layoffs, and both looked great in their comeback fights. There is a possibility that Kostya suddenly looks old and Hatton, coming in to the fight in the best shape of his life, seizes the moment and starts a new age in junior welterweight boxing.

As I've said, I=m not backing down from taking the under dog. I'm with Hatton. I'm picking him to win, or to wear down Kostya and pull out a late round stoppage. Possibly behind on points at the time.

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Article posted on 04.06.2005



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