An early take on Mayweather-Hatton

By Mike Samules


An early take on Mayweather-Hatton

Manchester, England knows Ricky Hatton best for his vicious body blows. Outside of his impressive win for Kostya Tsyzu in 2005 most of the boxing public knew very little about the light skinned kid other than he spoke with an accent.

After destroying Jose Luis Castillo in four rounds this past month, Hatton delivered a blow to pound-for-pound Picasso Floyd Mayweather, Jr. not with his hands, but rather his tongue, citing that there was more action in four brutal rounds against Castillo than Mayweather has produced in his entire career – one that spans nearly 10 years with championships at 130lbs, 135lbs, 140lbs, 147lbs and 154lbs.

According to various reports the retired Mayweather is now interested in a clash with Hatton. You can expect Boxingtalk’s lead guru, Greg Leon, to get to the bottom of this very shortly. But for now, assuming the glass is half-full – an oddity in the sport of boxing – let us foresee what might happen quite possibly at the end of the year, if not early 2008 if Mayweather and Hatton did in fact, settle their differences inside the squared circle.

First thing is first. The money would have to be right. Mayweather, coming off a reported 20-25 million dollar payday against Oscar De la Hoya in May would probably expect to get at least 10 million for a fight with Hatton. That is a lot of money but when you consider that Mayweather walked away with more than 8 million for his fight with Carlos Baldomir, one would like to believe that 10 million dollars could easily be afforded to see two of the sports undefeated champions meet.

And if for some reason 10 million isn’t enough for Floyd Mayweather, then perhaps he shouldn’t even think of coming out of retirement.  Because as much as boxing is a business, it’s the fighters, and only the fighters, that keep it a float in a time where the Ultimate Fighting Championship, International Fight League, and Mixed Martial Arts are on every poster in every gym across America.

The next thing to consider is the location. Hatton proved that he could bring an army of fans to support him in knocking off the battle-tested Castillo so it should be no problem getting them to see a fight with the pound-for-pound king.   However, would Floyd Mayweather be willing to fight Hatton across the globe and if not, would the now transcending superstar Hatton, be willing to take another fight in the United States?

The arguments on both sides are simple. Mayweather fans believe that since boxing recognizes Mayweather as the pound-for-pound champion he should be calling the shots. They will also tell you that Hatton is a dirty fighter, even more so at home, and then reference various fights where the Englishman has gone low or applied the ever famous “hold-and-hit” method to beat an opponent. Hatton fans believe that because of Hatton’s all-action style he should be granted a main event fight in his hometown.

The last main hurdle would be the weight. Mayweather has not fought at 140lbs since dethroning Arturo Gatti back in June of ’05 and while he can easily make the weight, I can’t picture him going down to face the smaller champion. Hatton’s only fight at 147 was a controversial win over then champion Louis Callazo, but according to reports Hatton’s people have declared that he would be willing to move up to 147 for a second time to get a piece of Mayweather. So perhaps that problem will solve itself.

   Finally, to the fight …

Let us break down the fighters based on the following criteria: Power, Defense, Speed, Accuracy, and Opposition.


Summary – While Hatton generally lacks one-punch power, his overwhelming aggressiveness, especially to an opponents body, forces even the best offensive machines to focus more on defense than actually mounting an attack. Sustaining that attack for more than a few rounds has proven to be very difficult. His shots have proven to be wide and unorthodox at times, but when they land they do damage. Enough damage to keep him undefeated through almost 50 professional fights.

Floyd Mayweather lacks one punch power. He has not scored a devastating knock out since Justin Jukko, and many would argue that Jukko could have continued but chose not to.  His punches are crisp and clean and very effective, but Mayweather has lost a lot of zip since leaving the Jr. Lightweight division.

Advantage – Hatton


Summary – The ole’ cliché: “A good offense is the best defense” fits perfectly with Hatton. He takes a lot of shots but he makes you work to tag him and he also makes sure that when you land you pay the piper.  He uses head movement from time to time but it is his constant motion and his relentless pressure that opponents succumb to.  Those who have faced Hatton have often spent too much time playing defense; forgetting that while it is a key factor in scoring fights, offense is what wins the wars. With Ricky Hatton you had better expect to be deep down digging trenches of your own.  That’s what he does best. That’s what he will continue to do until someone proves him wrong.

There are far and few between the sports of boxing that have the defensive capabilities of Floyd Mayweather. It’s never just about blocking a punch or ducking a hook with Mayweather. Instead he sets you up and picks you off; he understands what you’re going to throw before you begin to lift your arm and charge on the attack. Floyd is Floyd. No matter what pressure he faces from a fellow fighter or even the public he’s going to go out and box the way he was taught; cautious, yet extremely effective. It continues to work and work with relative ease at that. If Hatton is able to break Mayweather’s defense it’s almost scary to think how much better Mayweather could potentially be if he were forced to let his hands go with rapid combinations. I’m quite certain it would be far from boring.

Advantage – Mayweather


Summary: For a short and stocky guy who sometimes has trouble cutting weight, Ricky Hatton throws devastating bombs with the quickness of a cat. It was never more apparent just how quick Hatton is than in his beat downs of Vince Phillips, Kostya Tszyu, and Jose Luis Castillo. His work ethic combined with his punch out put really gives fight fans a treat without any trick. He won’t be the fastest guy Mayweather has faced but he just may be the best at allowing hi speed to work perfectly with his timing and energy. That could be disastrous for the Pretty Boy.

Mayweather’s hands are fast but that is not what makes him great.  There are plenty of fighters who have had faster hand speed than Floyd. But Mayweather is quick on his feet, quick with his shoulders, quick with his head and so strong mentally that when things aren’t going his way --- the first Castillo fight, rounds 9-12 – he has no problems standing and trading on the inside. The speed of Mayweather is really deceptive. Not only can he box circles around you via the pot shot; but he can stand in the pocket and let his hands go with the same amount of speed and even more impact. With Floyd’s career long hand problems he relies a lot on speed and smarts more than anything else.

Advantage – Mayweather


Summary: Hatton is one of the most inaccurate-accurate punchers I’ve ever seen. Basically he doesn’t need to be spot on with his shots because it doesn’t matter where they land. The bottom line is that his punches are going to hurt you whether he hits you on the bridge of the nose or the side of the elbow.  He’s going to hold you and hit you; push you back into a corner and hit you on every part of your body, legal or not. He’s going to accurately rough house you in a manner than takes you out of your game. Ricky Hatton will force you as a fighter to beat him at what he does best. Think Jesus Chavez vs. Floyd Mayweather only a bigger, meaner and stronger version of the Mexican warrior.

Floyd Mayweather doesn’t waste punches. He won’t bother to hit you on the arms or at the elbow. He’s not going to attempt to hit you low or on the hip. He presents himself like a surgeon. He will let you punch yourself out before he really gets going and that is what makes him so deadly. While other guys are flailing away bombs and landing as well as missing, Floyd is always there to make you pay for your mistakes. And seeing as most fighters make more mistakes than him, business has been good for the last decade.

Advantage – Mayweather


Summary: Ricky Hatton’s two biggest wins to date are Kostya Tszyu and Jose Luis Castillo. Say what you will about their inactivity, age, or past battles, the bottom line is that when everyone counted Hatton out he came through with brilliance.  Throw in Louis Callazo and a veteran to the game such as Vince Phillips and you’ve got a pretty solid ledger for almost 50 fights. Mayweather, however, I believe would be the best prime fighter Hatton has ever faced.

Mayweather’s list, certainly no Sugar Ray Robinson, is still one that will see him into the Hall of Fame. Whether it is his slick work at 130lbs to Jose Luis Castillo twice, along with Carlos Baldomir, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, DeMarcus Corely and Oscar De la Hoya, Mayweather has found a way to get it done. Not everyone he has faced is a lock to be in the hall-of-fame but considering the era he has fought in I would say it’s been a pretty successful and impressive one. Still, I believe that Ricky Hatton would, much in the same case, be the best prime fighter Mayweather has ever fought.

Advantage – Mayweather

Looking at this list at first glance you might think that Floyd Mayweather beats Ricky Hatton much the same way he did the late Diego Corrales. But the pen and paper don’t tell the story, especially in boxing.  The New York Yankees have the most feared line up in baseball history yet they’re struggling to even make the playoffs and haven’t won a world championship since 2000. Numbers never tell the whole story, but it is hard to knock Floyd Mayweather when you look at him based on statistical category.  The thing to remember is Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton is both undefeated, both proven and both very young. That is not a combination that boxing serves up every month.  If the fight does happen the hype will be great, but for once in a blue moon, the fight may actually be greater. Let us keep our fingers crossed.


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