By Waldon “The Boxing Don” White – In my opinion and in all fairness to Ricky Hatton, the sweet science of boxing is just that… science. There is a formula to winning a fight which trainers instill in they’re fighters over the course of training camp. Last night, what we the boxing public witnessed was the execution of a plan based upon study of an opponents vulnerabilities and flaws in his particular style of boxing. Many pundits and journalist have immediately made the calls for the retirement of Hatton (45 wins, 2 losses, 32 knockouts) who has only lost to the two pound for pound best fighters in the entire world..
Ricky Hatton should have suffered this spectacular knockout quite a while ago however, the fighters that faced him were never able execute their fight plans to the fullest taking advantage of obvious flaws in Hattons defense and style. Ricky Hatton’s swarming straight forward style has only shown variation and change while fighting Paul Malignaggi (26 wins, 2 losses, 5 knockouts) whose style was tailor made for practicing newly learned defensive techniques taught by Floyd Mayweather Sr in a seemingly safe fashion. Due to the fact that Malignaggi is not a pressure fighter and works better from a counter punching position this gave Hatton little reason to fear a stiff jab as he plodded forward with still little to no head movement landing hard shots on his way to a late stoppage. Still despite the real lack of power or pressure from Malignaggi in many boxing circles the marriage of Mayweather Sr. and Hatton in this win seemed like exactly what he needed to regain his status as the #2 or possibly #1 pound for pound fighter in the world.
Here is where I disagree, Juan Manuel Marquez (50 wins, 4 losses, 1 draw with 37 by knockout) is truly the rightful heir to the crown as #2 under Pacquiao as he fought the Pac Man to what many considered should have been a draw or a win for Marquez. Something that I believe is truly evidenced by Mayweather announcing his July date with Marquez on the eve of the Hatton vs. Pacquiao fight. With Floyd retiring as the number one pound for pound in the world and having not lost in the ring, the true “King Emeritus” he would only take on Marquez if he thought the bout was not simply a tune up but a bout with the man who many feel already “Beat the Man”. Mayweather’s ego would demand no less as a lower opponent would enable the winner (or) the loser of the Pac/Hitman fight to warrant a bout with the former King Mayweather on stronger terms. A convincing win over Marquez not only makes the bout with Pacquiao more profitable but if Mayweather can stop Marquez he can parlay Pac Mans quicker defeat of Hatton. Many may say that Hatton was finished after the Mayweather fight, which is the probable angle Mayweather himself will attack any criticism of Pacquiao’s quicker finish of Hatton. Again styles make fights. Marquez to his credit has fought back from knockdowns to win fights and rally against Pac Man which was something Hatton was clearly unable to do. Hatton is indeed a one and a half dimensional fighter who has won many of his fights by brute strength and by truly giving his adoring fans what they want which a heated battle. But this was not enough to overcome Pacquiao’s perfect blending of footwork, plan execution, sharp clean punches and concentration of power. Still, Ricky Hatton at this point is a better fighter than the rest of the alphabet holders at 140 pounds with the exception of in my opinion of Marquez. Many times we tend to criticize fighter by saying after a brutal knock out he or she is shot and should retire. Any fighter can be knocked out in any round by any one with the correctly timed punch at the perfect angle. This is what boxers train to do. They practice placing perfectly timed shots at just the right angle to stop the fighter in front of them day after day hour after hour. As further witnessed by the pre fight shows depicting boxing legend Bernard Hopkins studying tapes of Kelly Pavlik saying he found the flaws in his style to exploit before his dominating win prove… Styles make fights and a well executed plan will lead to success in every fight it’s just a fact. Last night Ricky Hatton abandoned his plan and P4P King Pacquiao followed his to the letter.
Now take into consideration that World Class Trainer Freddy Roach predicted this outcome as he stated that after watching tapes of Hatton he was convinced of an easy win. This coming from one of the most humble and down to earth trainers in the business should tend to give pause. It should have been clear to the general boxing public that Freddy knew something we all didn’t know or cared to acknowledge. He saw the fatal flaw in Ricky Hatton…one not anyone could exploit. Only a fighter that could take a punch, deliver a quicker counter punch, make Hatton fight on his heels and take advantage of his notoriously low left hand.. Obviously, Ricky Hatton hadn’t anticipated being hit so clean, hard or often in this fight as Hatton almost seemed suprised that hsurpriseding hit from various angles. Ricky Hatton also once faced by a quicker and truly stronger opponent with tandem excellency in footwork and timing couldn’t see the most important punches coming his way, the most damaging punches coming his way. These things combined to find Ricky becoming unconscious before his body even touched the ground last night. This was reminicent and sreminiscentar to Roy Jsimilar. being knocked out cold by Antonio Tarver with the perfect punch on a night when everyone thought the great Jones would walk through Tarver. We should give Ricky Hatton compassion and respect for fighting two of the most prolific and talented boxers in our era win lose or draw.
We should be happy that he was able to walk away safely after having had is fatal flaw exposed again by a dangerous opponent. We should salute that fact that only the best of the best have beaten him in the squared circle. Lastly, we should salute that if his medical test come back clean he may be indeed able to entertain us again. I write this article in respect to a great champion in Ricky Hatton and to an even greater Champion in the tactical wizardry of Manny Paquiao the world Pound for Pound Champion.
Hopefully once again hear the chant from his countrymen “Let’s Go Ricky Hatton!!!!”
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