Whatever the knockers may say, boxing can still provide events that capture the public’s imagination and appeal to the casual, as well as the die hard fans like myself.
When Manchester’s Ricky Hatton did a demolition job on the Mexican José Luis Castillo in four rounds at the Thomas & Mack Arena, Las Vegas, in June, a good 10,000 British fans were in attendance to cheer him on. There may not be as many at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on December 3rd when the Hitman steps into the ring to square up to the American Floyd Mayweather, rated as the best boxer on the planet, as tickets are hard to come by, due to the fact that the clash on the two unbeaten fighters has also captured the imagination of the American public.
- Hatton could earn more than £10 million for this welterweight title fight, for I believe it will be a pay-per-view blockbuster that could surprise everyone.
Ricky’s performance against Castillo was second to none, finishing the fight off with a great body shot, but Floyd Mayweather is a different kettle of fish entirely. Nearly 11 years into a professional career that has seen the man from Grand Rapido USA win all of his 38 fights, 16 for world championships. Mayweather, who is in his prime at 30 is as good as it gets in the sport today, and there is very little serious dispute about him being hailed as the world’s number one boxer, pound for pound. However, he has never come close to achieving the popularity of the likes of Oscar De la Hoya despite his superior ability. The reason has everything to do with Mayweather’s limitations as a human being. His game has no holes, but this image is in constant need of repair after the trash talking, the woman beating, and other scrapes outside the ring. But when Pretty Boy genius is on display it’s best to watch in wonder. Such is his talent that the reigning welterweight champion has won title belts at five different weights from super featherweight to light middleweight, taking on all comers, champions and top contenders alike. In pure boxing terms, that’s just about as perfect as a modern career could get.
His last few weeks of training will be spent in Las Vegas and will involve much road work which will be hard going on the heart. As always Mayweather will lower his chin and approach the gruelling task with a fiercely intense vigour. There’s no doubt that when he enters the ring to face Ricky Hatton he will be in outstanding shape and condition, which is not what you would expect from a man whose activities and misdemeanours outside the ring have suggested at times that he doesn’t take his profession seriously, but whatever Mayweather gets up to outside the office, it certainly doesn’t encroach on his job. Being born into the Mayweather family of fighters has produced a sweet scientist of the highest order and ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd knows his history. After all, his father Floyd Snr, once boxed ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard. His uncle and trainer Roger won world title at super featherweight and light welterweight, while uncle Jeff fought De la Hoya when the golden boy was on the way up. But Floyd Jnr is by far the best of the bunch. Personally I believe Mayweather to be the best text book boxer in the world over the past 20 years. A seemingly legitimate great, which for now, at last, elevates him above Hatton, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and any other welterweight you care to name.
I don’t believe that Mayweather will find the fight as easy as most experts think
Most people involved in the fight game rate Hatton’s chances as slim, stating that Mayweather will take Ricky apart off the back foot as he presses forward to fight. I see Ricky starting at 1,000 miles an hour, closing Mayweather down and out working him, dragging him into a fight, with Mayweather not hitting hard enough to keep the Hitman off, as Ricky wins the fight with his aggression. Then I wake up from my dream, raise my head and slap my face, and put my head back on the pillow and start the dream process all over again.
In reality, I don’t believe that Mayweather will find the fight as easy as most experts think, for however brilliant ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd is he has one flaw and that is his notoriously brittle hands, which could be a contributory factor, as his punching power doesn’t have quite the authority that it did when he was champion in the lighter weight divisions. He doesn’t have that one punch knock-out power for the heavier classes, yet his KO ratio is still impressive, as in recent times he has stopped opponents with flurries rather than putting them down for 10 counts with a single shot.
I’ve been a fan of Ricky’s since the early days of his career when he was boxing six round contests, and having met him on a number of occasions, I like him as a person as much as I admire him as a fighter. Size and brilliant boxing ability might beat Ricky in this one but, being patriotic, I’m going for Ricky to pull it off with his stamina and British bulldog spirit, to make my dream come true.
Halfway through writing this column I received a message over the phone from Ricky to thank all his fans in Tenerife, his favourite holiday resort, for their support over the years.
As the Hatton family recently purchased property in the south of the island, he expects to be over here shortly after the fight, and hopes to arrive as ‘the champion’ of champions!