01.12.07 Hatton Vs Mayweather Official LiveFight Preview
By Pete 'Hitman' Bamforth
On December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas two men will step into the ring in front of 16,000 fans, by the time the fight ends one man will walk away with a solitary loss on his record.
Obviously my job is to unscramble some of the many facts and myths about both fighters and give you an even platform to make your own decision on who you think that losing fighter will be, easier said than done!
Id first like to start off by addressing the weight issue that is always being dragged up as soon as anybody mentions the words “Ricky” and “Hatton”, for a change im not going to be talking about Ricky piling on the pounds between fights instead im going to focus on the weight at which the fight will be contested, Welterweight (147lb).
Certain critics of Mr Hatton are quick to point out that Ricky’s last fight at Welterweight (a hard fought decision over Luis Collazo) was a disaster and that those extra 7lb were his downfall, i disagree, lets not forget that Hatton was originally scheduled to fight Juan Lazcano at 140lb but just 6 weeks before the fight Lazcano pulled out due to a broken hand incurred during training, add to that a disrupted camp and bad dietary habits and what you saw was a 160lb sluggish fat kid from Manchester running out of steam against a big Welterweight.
Off of the back of that less than convincing performance many people feel that the fight being made at Welter will work against the Manchester native because that extra 7lb will be the difference between bullying his opponent and being bullied himself, now should Ricky be fighting a Miguel Cotto or a Shane Mosley id probably have to agree however Hatton is fighting Mayweather which is a whole other kettle of fish. You see even though Floyd has been at Welter and above for over two years he isn’t really a natural 147lb’er, come fight night Floyd will be tipping the scales at around 148-9lb where as Ricky will most likely be weighing in at 156lb that’s an 8lb advantage to the Hitman.
For me, the whole argument of weight is a case of people getting caught up in superficial appearance, put simply Ricky is 'the bigger man'. He may be an inch shorter but he is broad backed with strong legs and a deeper chest, “stocky” to put it simply.
Don’t let the Collazo fight cloud your judgement, Ricky walks around as big as 170lb between fights so with the fact that he has had adequate time to prepare and the fact that he is the bigger man structurally I can honestly say that weight may just work in his favour.
Next id like to look at Floyd Mayweather and the fact that so many people believe that to win he has to box off the back foot and use hit and run tactics. Sure he will be doing some back peddling he would be stupid not to put his 7 inch reach advantage to good use but Floyd is a very intelligent fighter and he knows if he runs all night he is in serious danger of losing the fight, why? Because Ricky Hatton can come forward faster than Floyd Mayweather can go backwards. Ricky is one of the best in the world if not the best when it comes to closing down a ring and getting to an opponent so Floyds essence of approach will be lateral movement, watch for Mayweather to be moving cutely from side to side trying to throw Hatton off balance while firing off sharp combinations and straight rights from middle distance. If you want a comparative reference just look at Mayweather Vs Gatti.
Inside fighting is something that American pugilists and armchair critics alike just don’t quite seem to understand, which is a shame because there is real beauty in watching an expert in-fighter like Hatton go to work. Obviously going to work on the inside is one of Hattons main weapons in his extensive arsenal but it is by no means his only tool at which to use on the P4P best fighter in the world.
Many People neglect to mention things like hand speed, exceptional footwork, cute angles, speed and a pit bull ferocity at which there is no stopping. However I have to concede that inside fighting is a Hatton exclusive zone, or is it? At some point during the fight Floyd will have to get to work on the inside purely because even he wont be able to keep the Hitman off for 3 minutes of every round but Mayweather has a stunning defence and while on the inside he drops his elbows to protect the body, tucks his chin up and rolls with the punches then fast as lightning shoots out cutting counters allowing him time to get out and command centre of the ring. So we are aware that Floyd Mayweather has an exceptional defence second to only Winky Wright in today’s game, the point is can Ricky break down that defence long enough to score hurtful left hooks to the body?
If im honest I don’t think he can however that isn’t the point, you see as long as Ricky is on the inside throwing bunches of punches even hitting the arms of Mayweather it will be points scoring and hurtful so if Hatton can keep a fast pace and hit the arms enough maybe, just maybe Ricky can break that guard.
Power and strength are tipping towards Hatton in this fight but lets not just assume that Mayweather is a powder puff puncher with brittle hands, its true he was a hurtful puncher at Super Feather and Lightweight but he also had no trouble stopping Gatti at 140lb at well as Henry Brussles, at 147 he battered Sharmba Mitchell inside 6 rounds, hurt Zab judah and although never dented Oscar De La Hoya or Baldomir they are much bigger and more resilient that Hatton.
Ricky can also be hurt, he was dropped by Eamon Magee, hurt by both Vince Phillips and Luis Collazo but it is very doubtful that Floyd can take out Hatton with one punch, if he were to win by stoppage it would most likely come through a series of well placed hurtful and well timed punches.
Let us also not forget that Floyd Mayweather has never been legitimately dropped, he did touch a glove down against Carlos Hernandez when he broke his hand but against big hitters like Castillo, Baldomir and Oscar he rode the wave and came back. If either of the two men has a knockout chance it has to be Hatton the only trouble I foresee is getting through that awkward defence of Mayweather. Floyd has never been stopped but a left hook to the ribs a la Castillo? We will have to wait and see.
So a winner? Well ive made up my mind already, granted it has changed 3 times and its only 10am, but nevertheless ive made up my mind. For me it comes down to who truly wants this more, just strip away every other aspect of both fighters so you are just left with desire and will and you will be left with one fighter who truly wants this more, and he is your winner.
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