Ricky Hatton vs. The World
08.06.05 - By Chris Ireland: Heading into Saturday night's Jr. Welterweight title fight between Kostya Tszyu and Ricky Hatton, the champion, Tszyu, was thought to be a nearly unbeatable powerhouse. But in front of 22,000 screaming Manchurians, the undefeated Hatton home-cooked "The Thunder From Down Under" and spoiled the champ's journey behind enemy lines, winning via TKO in the eleventh round. The challenger did was boxing tradition suggests, take the title from the champion. After eleven grueling, back and forth rounds, Tszyu had lost his heart, quitting on his stool..
Article posted on 08.06.2005
With the victory over a superchampion of Tszyu's caliber, the pressure now falls on our new hero, Ricky Hatton, to reign over the division with the same kind of dominance as his predecessor. So who, out of the divisions crowded elite, can Hatton defeat?
Floyd Mayweather: Still undefeated, PBF will be taking on Arturo "Thunder" Gatti in one of the year's most anticipated fights. If Floyd gets by Arturo, the intrigue for a Hatton-Mayweather fight would be at an all-time high. The question is, would Floyd be willing to go into the hostile crowd at MEN, where Frank Warren will most likely try to stage the fight? If this one ever does come off, it will probably mark the end of "The Hitman's" reign. Gatti will provide a tough test for Floyd's chin at 140, and if Mayweather passes with flying colors, then there's no reason to believe he can't hold his own with Hatton. Mayweather has the speed and ring intelligence to outmaneuver the aggressive Hatton and win a decision.
Verdict: Mayweather UD
Arturo Gatti: Gatti, who is currently on a collision course with Floyd Mayweather, was for a long time the fighter that Hatton was compared to the most, and rightfully so. Both fighters share many of the same traits. Both posses wicked left hooks, go hard to the body, and cut easy. And perhaps the most tantalizing similarity for fight fans is the tremendous heart both men have showcased as their trademark. Arturo has said before he'll revert back to his slugging form if need be, and against Hatton, you can bet that's an option "Thunder" would need to explore. If Gatti-Hatton goes down, it's going to be memorable. The feeling here is Hatton has more in the tank than Gatti, and would pull away as the fight progresses.
Verdict: Hatton UD
Vivian Harris: A Harris-Hatton duel was proposed a while back, but Vivian backed out because of money. If he were to be offered the fight again, Harris is sure to be guaranteed more cash. And, if Frank Warren and company do decide to get the champ in the ring with Harris, it could be a big mistake. Harris is a unique blend of size, speed, and skill. The thought here, however, is that despite Harris' many advantages, it would be Hatton, imposing his will and aggression on Harris on the way to a late knockout.
Verdict: Hatton, KO 10
Kostya Tszyu: The former champ has yet to make up his mind about retirement, but until he does, "The Thunder From Down Under" has top be considered a formidable contender. Hatton took the fight to Tszyu Saturday, roughed him up, and took his title. Tszyu was able to keep the fight intriguing, entertaining, and close, but was clearly losing when he pulled a Sonny Liston after the eleventh. Whether Tszyu got old overnight has yet to be determined, but it is probable that Tszyu's old legs can't hold up in the long war Hatton would likely put him through yet again in a rematch, if it were to come off.
Verdict: Hatton, KO 7
Diego Corrales: Corrales has yet to officially make the move up to 140, but has expressed interest in the possibility. A Corrales-Hatton fight has all the makings of an instant classic. When two fighters with the kind of grit and determination that Ricky and Diego posses meet, it's impossible to predict who will get the win. Hatton showcased a marvelous chin against Tszyu, proving he can take an elite punch. If Corrales-Hatton becomes a reality, expect action on the level of Gatti and Ward. As impossible as it is to pick a winner, this corner likes Corrales. After rising from two knockdowns in one round to stop a guy with the chin of Castillo, how can you pick against Diego?
Verdict: Corrales, Close Decision
Hatton's task is a difficult one: Follow the act of one of the most respected champions of the past decade, and defend his title against the best competition boxing has to offer.
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