24.11.07 – By Vivek Wallace: Now that the Mayorga/Vargas brawl-fest is over, so are all the other preliminaries, which sets the stage for Ricky Hatton’s quest to dethrone the sports mythical pound for pound Champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. This year has been arguably the best year the sport of boxing has seen for quite some time. After witnessing a slew of mega-fights that were incredible enough to employ the famous ‘fight-of-the-year’ moniker, fight fans now stand at the cusp of yet another mega fight that in the end could turn out better than all others..
With Puerto Rican sensation Miguel Cotto and Paul Williams cementing their positions among the welterweight divisions elite, we now get a chance to end the year with another performance from the man who calls himself the best among the rest. In May we saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. go up in weight and overcome some very stiff odds. Going into his mega fight with Oscar Dela Hoya, aside from the natural size advantage, Floyd was required to give up not only the larger purse – which was to be expected – but also nearly every psychological advantage known to man. (Weight, ring size, and glove of choice to name a few). Despite these advantages for the Goldenboy, Mayweather Jr. was able to soundly execute his gameplan and leave doubt in few minds that if for no other reason, his pure talent keeps him in the argument of perhaps the best this sport has to offer.
Does this mean he can’t be defeated? Not quite. Does this mean that he’ll have to continue to elevate his game to remain on top? Definitely. And both of those questions will be addressed to new heights as the ‘Prettyboy’ prepares for a fighter that the unknowing find overrated, yet the familiar find very capable. The last time we saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring against a young bull in his prime – (Jose Luis Castillo) – whose application of pressure was as synonymous as an icepack to a swollen eye, the fight ended in what was later termed by many as a ‘gift’ decision. In Ricky Hatton, once again you have a fighter with not only great power, but also the youth to be able to sustain the kind of mounting assault that an aging Dela Hoya’s energy level failed to complete. Or so we think.
As talented as Hatton is, if Mayweather Jr. is able to exploit his size advantage and pick his spots with his natural speed, avoiding the at times looping shots if Hatton, the more Mayweather Jr. connects, the less likely it is that Hatton will stick to his gameplan. One other key scenario to watch in this fight will be the question of how the ref deals with the regular clinching of Hatton. As fond as I am of Hatton’s talents, it was hard not to notice during a couple hours of breaking down his recent fight footage – most notably against Luis Collazo – that Hatton clinched at least once every 8-12 seconds per round, all except two rounds of the fight. If the third man in the ring doesn’t tolerate this, what will the absence of this ‘stamina helper’ do for Hatton?
Whatever the case may be, come December 8th, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will need to bring his best, not only to diffuse the Hatton ‘bombs’, but also to diffuse the many questions about his ability to handle a pressure fighter by fighting fire with fire. Against both Gatti and the late Diego Corrales, Mayweather Jr. showed that when he chooses to, he does have the propensity to ‘let it all hang out’. Despite the whole ‘Dancin with the Stars’ saga and all of the recent press braggadocio, one can rest assured that Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes nothing about Ricky Hatton lightly, and will undoubtedly bring a type of fight to this showdown that will help cement his own legacy. I could be wrong, but one thing for sure, if he does bring the ‘toe-to-toe’ mentality, Hatton won’t back down. So that could only mean one thing….One thing that seems to be synonymous with the world of boxing now days. That being fireworks!
So here we go again fight fans. Only this time around, not only does “THE WORLD AWAIT”, but more importantly, they await “UNDEFEATED”.
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