The great build up ended up with a very good fight as ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd Mayweather stopped Ricky ‘The Hit Man’ Hatton in round ten at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather remains unbeaten, unblemished and the best in the World inside the squared circle at 39-0 (25 KO’s). Hatton 43-1 (31 KO’s) suffered the first loss of his career but gave a very good account of himself. In fact, Ricky fought as well and as hard as he could, the other guy is just from a totally different area code, and maybe a totally different pugilistic planet.
Although Hatton was very aggressive from the get go, there was no question in my mind as to who was going to win this fight. I had predicted an 11th round KO by Mayweather before the fight, but I knew by round six that it probably was not going to go that far as I could see that Floyd had mastered Ricky’s aggressive style and that it was just a matter of time before he would be able to time that “check left hook” as he calls it.
From early on Floyd was landing some scintillating left hooks but Hatton was difficult to time with his tremendous aggression rushing in. Floyd, seeing this, started to break Hatton down with shots to the body and started utilizing his right hand very precisely. He actually hurt Hatton with a body shot during the fight. Hatton to his credit continued to do everything he could to not only hang in there, but to try and win, all the way till the end. But it would not be enough against the best in the world.
Floyd started really setting down on his shots and finally timed a picturesque left hook that flattened Hatton in round ten. To his credit Hatton got up only to be cracked with another and that was it. That first hook was almost as pretty as the one Sugar Ray Robinson knocked out Gene Fulmer cold with in the 5th round of their second fight in 1957 in Chicago. …Almost as pretty.
Before we get back to the fighters and their futures let me comment a bit about the event, first off another great job by the MGM Grand and my buddy, Scott Ghertner. Not to mention all the PR staff for both camps lead by Kelly Swanson and Debbie Caplan. And of course the great job by HBO with their lead up to the fight. It was very exciting with all the Brits in attendance singing, “There’s only one Ricky Hatton” and with Tom Jones singing their anthem “God Save The Queen.” Then came the low point as the British fans continued to make noise disrespectfully during the American National Anthem performed by Tyrese Gibson. Now I know that many were making noise because of their view on the big screens in the arena showing Floyd warming up back in the dressing room. Still no excuse.
Then came Floyd’s electric ring entrance to the tune of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”. Entering the ring ahead of Floyd, carrying three of his world title belts, were his fellow “Dancing with the Stars” principles Helio Castroneves, Mark Cuban, and ‘Mr. Las Vegas’, Wayne Newton. One might say this was a big upgrade from the last time we saw his Floyd coming into the ring with rapper 50-Cent. As I said in an earlier column, I think the whole “Dancing with the Stars” thing did Floyd a lot of good personally and with the way he will now be perceived by many. It is already starting to show.
As for the future for both of these fighters, well let’s start out with Mayweather, who once again is hinting at retirement. Not a chance, not yet way too much mucho dinero out there for this young man who loves the green stuff. He also has yet another very important 0 to go. There is another guy with a big name, big reputation, big following and an unbeaten record. He is Miguel Cotto from Puerto Rico. He should be next but it will take some time to make the match, I bet it happens sometime later next year, here in Vegas or perhaps in New York in Cotto’s now adopted home away from home.
For Hatton, if he can, he should go back to 140 pounds, but I don’t know if his body will cooperate at this point. He also should settle things with his British rival Junior Witter. They have a tremendous disdain for one another and they should meet someday soon. It would be a good matchup. Ricky is not going to have a long career do to his style and well chronicled indulgent lifestyle between fights. He still has a few big fights left in him I believe, but no matter what else he ever does, he has already accomplished so much more than one might have expected from the little fat kid from Manchester!
I like him a lot as he and his camp have become good pals of IN THIS CORNER, and we all wish him all the best and thank him for giving us all he promised and all he could against another very good friend of my show ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd Mayweather who is clearly and truly the best fighter on this planet.
What a great year in Boxing this has been. We’ll look back at the year that was and give out some ITC Awards before we hit 2008. Gotta put my pugilistic thinking cap on for that upcoming column, stay tuned.