Saturday, December 08, 2007

:boxing: The Battle of the Unbeatens:: Mayweather vs. Hatton

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Ricky Hatton have about three things in common: one, they are, as the title points out, undefeated; two, both are fighting in the same ring tonight for the same title; and three, both are boxers. Outside of that, they are "pretty" different. Mayweather is arguably the faster and more gifted of the two and the most technically-sound, whereas Hatton is the stronger and more tenacious fellow.

If there is one thing Mayweather hates, it's being in a real fight. He's at his best when in control but doesn't quite shine when the other fighter is in his face banging away. The "Pretty Boy" is also a slow starter and, well, he has hardly been in the ring with opponents that can actually challenge him (and hence, he's rarely been in a real fight in a while). Hatton, as sloppy as he can be at times, can hang through some brutal beatings and has definitely had the rougher road (and thus, he has been in some real fights). The "Hitman" can certainly hit and does possess the sort of barrage ethic that can wear down on even the best fighters. It also helps to clinch when possible to tire them out (right Tszyu and other victims?). So, Hatton will break down Mayweather and make the "Pretty Boy" ugly. Am I right?

Heck no! Mayweather may be a virtually untouched virgin in the ring lately, but don't think for a second that Hatton and his roughhousing ways will crush him so easily. He's undefeated for a reason, and despite how overrated I consider him to be, the lauds he receives are not that far from the truth. His impressive hand speed alone will give Hatton, who probably hates fast opponents even more than Mayweather with real fights, a lot of trouble. He is also far more dangerous in the latter rounds, as his ability latch onto his opponent's gameplan and make them eat it is ever present in force. Conditioning may or may not play a role in this match, though mental preparedness may play a sizable one in the latter half (PFB overconfidence? Hatton's determination/level-headedness?). Hatton may be a very good brawler and possesses enough tools to give Mayweather a hard time, but the pressure necessary will need to be constant and played smart in order to pull out a victory, as this match-up is practically tailor-made for PBF to showcase his prowess. Prediction: Mayweather, UD or Majority Decision (if too overconfident or uncomfortable with pressure: Hatton KO (any round) or Split Majority Decision)


Outcome: Mayweather, TKO 10 (it doesn't surprise me that Mayweather knocked him out, but it does surprise me that it actually happened (hopefully that makes sense...). I thought that Hatton would weather the storm all the way through, but it seems, by reports, he could not (I'm sure that taunting in the later rounds didn't help him). This loss does more damage than a decision lost, as the options are not totally wide, being a risky fight to many boxers. Mosley, Margarito, and even Cotto could work, but it all rests on how well he recovers both physically and mentally. As for Mayweather, the TKO victory increases his legend in spades and makes the Cotto "dream fight" (read: "dream PBF showcase") all the more enticing. The smart move on his part would be to take the match-up, but will he play hard to get yet again? Maybe not after fighting a similar foe in Hatton. By taking out a bigger fish like the Puerto Rican, he would have virtually no other challengers to his claim at the top (not to mention the immense payday it could be). Of course, there's always "There's No Place Like Home" Calzaghe... (yeah, sure...)

Onto the Cotto Stakes...

[NOTE: Originally posted at said date and updated after fight. Reposted with correct heading after omitting ":boxing:" in title. >< ]

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