As fight fans know, it’s 15 years since British boxing superstar Ricky Hatton scored the big upset, reached the pinnacle of his career, and became a genuine star all over the world. In Manchester, “Hitman” Hatton, at his peak, stopped Kostya Tszyu to become the main man at 140 pounds, as well as a Pound-for-pound entrant.
Looking back all these years later, Hatton feels his well-documented lifestyle caught up with him by the time he had his massive fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and that the way he was “burning the candle at both ends” proved to be a significant factor in his stoppage defeats – Ricky suffering just three stoppage losses during his pro career.
Hatton, speaking with Sky Sports, says that the performance he turned in to defeat Tszyu would have been enough to have seen him to victory over Mayweather.
“Kerry Kayes and Billy [Graham] always said to me, ‘you’re getting away with it, but one day your lifestyle will catch up with you.’ And I think when it came to them two fights (with Mayweather and later Manny Pacquiao), it had caught up with me,” Hatton said. “But that night against Kostya Tszyu, with a referee that let the action flow when it was in close and let it flow when it was at a distance, I think I’d have beaten anyone, including Floyd. I’m not saying I’m a better fighter than Floyd, but I think if I had the right tactics on the right night, and had been the best I can be, I think on that night I might have beat him.”
As it is, Hatton pushed Mayweather pretty hard, in the first six rounds of their December 2007 meeting in particular, before Mayweather’s accuracy and underrated power proved too much; Floyd getting the stoppage in the 10th round. And of course, Hatton and his army of fans still maintain how referee Joe Cortez aided Mayweather by breaking the two fighters up whenever Hatton was able to work his way inside.
Of course, Mayweather fans will never agree that any version of Hatton would have beaten “Money,” but it is true that Hatton, who ballooned up in weight between fights, was not quite the superb, non-stop fighting machine he had been that June night in 2005. At the very, very least, a fight between the Hatton of June 4, 2005, and Mayweather would have been extremely interesting.