Boxing

The Hitman Shocks the World

06.06.05 - By Michael Amakor: WBU Light Welterweight Champion Ricky “The Hitman”Hatton yesterday beat long time defending champion Kostya “Thunder from Down Under” Tszyu to become the new IBF Light Welterweight Champion on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 22,000 frenzied patriotic fans at the M.E.N. Arena, Manchester across the pond in England..

There is an unwritten rule in boxing about comebacks, boxers are usually advised to first take on a couple of tune-ups against journey men before fighting the lions of the division, Kostya ignored this rule and walked through Sharmba Mitchell in such dramatic fashion stopping him in the third round after a twenty two month injury induced layoff that we all forgot about the rule and hailed him as the next great boxing genius.

One has to wonder about Mitchell’s pedigree after the Kostya shutdown because he had about four or five fights that should have kept him sharp and primed to beat down a Kostya who had been chilling way in sunny side Australia.

Fuelled by that performance and his press clippings Kostya accepted the dangerous assignment of defending his title against the Hitman after a long layoff with a sparse few easy rounds under his belt over the past four years.

This time he paid the price and like Mike Tyson and Felix Trinidad before him he was totally unprepared to handle the frenzied pace set by the 27 year old Hitman who out hustled and out boxed him down the stretch before extracting total capitulation in the form of Tyszu quitting on his stool before the beginning of the twelfth round.

Kostya walked into an arena filled with the boos from the atypical British crowd, and if he thought that was the hardest part he had more coming as the Hitman meant business. From the opening bell Hatton fired the first shot coming forward hooking, jabbing and keeping the fight as close as could by forcing clinches that tied Tsyzu up. The Hitman then proceeded to unveil an arsenal of rough house tactics that he employed throughout the fight from trapping Tsyzu head under his armpit during clinches to rabbit punching while spinning off clinches. Kostya lost the first two rounds as he strained against the Hitman trying to understand the implacable force facing him.

Between rounds three through six Kostya tried to regain some of the ring generalship he had once commanded in previous fights, he seemed to be getting his bearing as he desperately tried to counter the Hitman with Thunder from Down Under straight right hands and body shots that did little to faze or slow down the Hitman’s assault. The Hitman simply absorbed
all his shots and retaliated with even wilder lunging jabs of his own throwing Kostya constantly off his rhythm and making it extremely difficult to score the rounds - one was inclined to score these rounds a draw.

Kostya seemed to briefly took control of the fight from round seven through eight as he began to be more accurate with his punches, even landing a digging body shot right on the belt line that had the Hitman on the canvas for a few seconds with the referee ruling no knockdown. Hatton responding to Tsyzu resurgence with pure uncoordinated aggression wrestling and pressuring
the older man every chance he got. He so frustrated Kostya who responded by pushing him down into the ropes near the end of the eight round.

By the Ninth round, Tsyzu began to slow down and Hatton regained control of the fight and became even more aggressive exploding from all angles with wild punches of every variety relentlessly pushing forward with digging body shots and grappling Tsyzu into the ropes, the round came to a head as Tsyzu unleashed a low blow in the heat of battle dropping Hatton to the canvas.

The referee once again did not take a point and the fight continued with the Hitman immediately retaliating with a deliberate and vicious low blow of his own dropping Kostya to the canvas. No points were taken for this deliberate low blow and Kostya was given time to recover, as is typical of most fighters he did not use the whole five minutes, which might have been a mistake as he got staggered against the ropes near the end of the tenth round. Tsyzu employed all the tricks in the book to avoid being stopped.

Hatton absolutely dominated the tenth and eleventh rounds, and suddenly the fight came to a sudden halt as Kostya's cornerman stepped in and halted the bout.

In examining the fight a few things come to mind, one, the referee seemed to be on the Hitman’s side as he allowed the rough house tactics to go on unabated instead of separating the fighters during the numerous clinches, I also noticed that he usually broke up the clinches after a wink from the Hitman whenever Kostya seemed to be getting the upper hand during forced
clinches. Another curiosity is that Kostya seemed to lack the fire or desire to want to really hurt the Hitman, because he got in several rabbit punches that would have ended the fight in his favor if he had really thrown them with more conviction – one could say he was 35 years old, perhaps something suspicious was going on in there.. no, that cannot happen in boxing of the 21st century.

Thirdly, no points were taking for the two knockdowns in Kostya favor during the fight and no points were deducted for the intentional and vicious low blow unleashed by Hatton in retaliation for past punches wrongly perceived by all as low blows. If a knockdown had been declared in Kostya favor in the seventh round he would have drawn some inspiration to fight back
more valiantly. In the championship rounds if a point had been deducted for the vicious low blow unleashed by the Hitman, Tsyzu would have dug deep down and withered the storm to coast to a decision in the hopes of perhaps getting a decision because the fight was quite close. Nothing happened and the former champion became even more drained of his will to continue in a battle with all the forces against him.

When pressed at ringside about a rematch Tsyzu was not too anxious about it claiming rightfully so that he would think about it. Now, at thirty five years old and after several ring wars behind him but with hall of fame inductions almost guaranteed he may decide to call it quits and spend the rest of his days sunning out in Australia.

For Hatton, the sky is the limit as he is now the number one man in his division, the torch has finally been transferred to a new generation, and the future even gets rosier for him as he does not have to journey stateside to do battle. It makes more sense both financially and otherwise for all contenders like Mayweather, Freitas, Gatti and a host of other pretenders to journey to his turf to be feasted upon – Going by this performance The Hitman should eat them all up.

Watch Out.

Article posted on 06.06.2005



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