HATTON STOPS TSZYU AFTER 11 ROUNDS

Kostya doesn't come out for last round!

04/06/2005

HATTON STOPS TSZYU AFTER 11 ROUNDS

Ricky Hatton became the new junior welterweight champion of the world when Kostya Tszyu did not come out for the twelfth round of their championship bout in Manchester, England.  Hatton started strongly in the first two rounds, but by the third, Tszyu seemed to have figured out Hatton's rhythm and was able to effectively counterpunch as Hatton tried to storm inside. Tszyu landed low blows in the seventh and ninth rounds. Immediately after the referee warned Tszyu late in the ninth, Hatton retaliated with a vicious low blow of his own that dropped Tszyu to the canvas. Tszyu rested for about a minute, but for the remainder of what had been a very close fight, it seemed the low blow had sapped all his energy and power.  Hatton clearly won the tenth and eleventh rounds, and Tszyu retired rather than face three more minutes of punishment.  Perhaps the most gracious man in the sport, Tszyu made absolutely no excuses, telling the sellout pro-Hatton crowd of 22,000 screaming Mancunians, "I am not saying its the end of my career, maybe yes maybe no. But today I lost to the better fighter."  Hatton, now 39-0, handed Tszyu just the second loss of his distinguished career.  When Tszyu retired after the eleventh round, the official scorecards had Hatton ahead 105-104, 106-103 and 107-102. Watching the Showtime broadcast, this writer also had Hatton ahead 106-103.  "If I can be half the champion Kostya Tszyu was, I'll be doing well," said Hatton, who will now be recognized by the IBF and also by Boxingtalk as the true world champion in the 140-pound weight class. -Scott Shaffer  [NOTE: The Hatton-Tszyu broadcast will be replayed on SHO2 On Tuesday June 7, At 11 PM ET/PT]