IBF Light Welter Champion Ricky Hatton is counting down the hours until he meets WBA Champion Carlos Maussa in the ring and "The Hitman" won't have to wait long wait for the chance to add the Colombian's title to his trophy cabinet. The two square off next Saturday on a Fight Academy promotion from the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield, England and when the smoke clears, half of the division's major title belts will be unified. Will it be Hatton, conqueror of the greatly feared and respected Kostya Tszyu, who prevails? Or will Maussa, the resilient underdog who flattened Vivian Harris this past June, pull off another major upset?
While many are leaning heavily towards a Hatton victory, the Manchester hardman for one isn't taking his adversary lightly. "I think this is going to be a hard fight," said the twenty seven year old Englishman. "I remember sitting down in Atlantic City to watch Maussa's fight with Vivian Harris and as Michael Buffer was making the introductions, Maussa was just moving about in his corner.
Looking at him, I thought he moved like a bit of a novice. So, I expected that Vivian was probably going to go through this fella and as it turned out, I think that's what Vivian Harris thought, too. But Maussa is persistent, heavy-handed and with a good workrate; he throws a lot of punches and just sickens opponents. Harris hit him with some really hefty shots but Maussa just took 'em and took 'em and then he came back and knocked Harris out. Broke his heart, really."
Maussa certainly has an impressive record, having stopped eighteen of twenty victims but has lost two bouts during his career, one of which was to the division's WBO Champion Miguel Cotto. Maussa's fight with Cotto is of great interest to Hatton, as the IBF titlist also hopes to face the superb Puerto Rican fighter and the exciting Mancunian
has studied a tape of the contest accordingly. "In the Cotto fight, Miguel picked Maussa off and had his successes, scoring a little bit of a flash knockdown," recalled Hatton. "Cotto caught him square on, but Maussa jumped straight back up and I don't think he was hurt. Cotto did stop Maussa in nine rounds, but he stopped him basically on facial damage. I'm a big Miguel Cotto fan, I respect him a great deal but he never looked like he was going to knock Maussa out, in fact all the way through, Maussa was the one making the fight, Cotto was just boxing on the back foot. Miguel was picking him off and landing good shots, but he didn't seem to be movin' Maussa."
Moving Maussa is something that Hatton is confident he can do but the well spoken British "Whirlwind of Bad Intent" won't be found trash talking his opponent. As during the build up to his challenge of Kostya Tszyu last June, Hatton professes nothing but respect for his adversary, preferring to put off the hostilities until he can assault his rival in the ring with an unrelenting barrage of leather. "Maussa is very, very good," said Hatton. "He's not the prettiest of sights but he turns his negatives into a positive. What you see is what you get with him but that's what makes Maussa a difficult task, it's his awkwardness and his ungainliness.
"I think not only is his opponent not quite sure what he's going to do next, but I think Maussa fights sometimes as he's not sure what he's going to do next. That's down as a plus as it makes him awkward and difficult to read. There's a method to his madness but to be honest, I'm much more of an all around fighter than Maussa is. I've got a lot more in my armory and this is a fight that I'm very, very confident that I will come through."
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