Michael Farrow's sports blog

A collection of new and old writings

…on Ricky Hatton’s wasted year

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Ricky "Hitman" Hatton unleashes a body shot to Jose Luis Castillo

A textbook-perfect shovel hook

After defeating Jose Luis Castillo this past weekend, Ricky Hatton is back in the hunt for the big names. The 2005 Fighter of the Year looks to have another high-profile year after a 4th round liver punch knockout of the Mexican former Lightweight champion. After a drab 2006, where it felt like they missed a trick, I can’t help but think that Ricky has been handled badly.

HBO, Ray Hatton and Dennis Hobson lined up two opponents that did not showcase Ricky at all. Luis Collazo was an awfully tough prospect for a guy who really isn’t a welterweight and it almost came off the rails. Rather than talk about how badly Ricky did against Collazo, we should be talking about how well he did considering all the things working against him. However, the perception is that he struggled and should have lost, which harmed his standing with boxing’s notoriously tough fanbase. The second fight, a return to light welterweight against Juan Urango, was a poor fight. Though Hatton clearly won, Urango’s awkwardness made it a tough outing and has fuelled the perception that Hatton cannot handle southpaws. Too much time was spent on getting Ricky’s fighting weight up, only to starve him back down to 10 stones. He’s neither tall enough nor rangy enough to permanently campaign at welterweight.

In saying that, I guess the problem was who was going to fight him and who was there to fight? They found Hatton the most credible welterweight to fight and then they put him in with the only light welterweight guy they could. Same thing now. Due to promotional and personal problems, Ricky won’t be in the ring with Junior Witter or Souleymane M’Baye any time soon. Ricardo Torres is a waste of time and HBO like Paulie Malignaggi because he has just won the IBF Light Welterweight title and is American. To stay at light welterweight, he either needs to fight Malignaggi or find a top lightweight that wants to move up. Alternatively, he has to move up to a weight where is still physically too small.

I cannot see the appetite being there for Hatton to fight Malignaggi. Paulie is one of those fighters who benefits from having a following in a big fighting city and there being more than one world title. “The Magic Man” shouldn’t be near a world title, let alone holding one. He’s slick, he’s fast but his lack of power means that somebody like Hatton would stalk him and eventually overpower him. He’s no more proven than M’Baye, Torres or our own Junior Witter. Of the main champions, he’s third in the line at best.

So I guess, with the sheen back on, he’s next to fight Mayweather. Good luck to the man, he’s gonna need it.

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Written by Michael Farrow

June 28, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Boxing

Tagged with ,

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