Boxing


'Call Em Out Fridays': Ricky Hatton - Is Time Running Out On The Manchester Madman?

Ricky HattonBy Vivek Wallace: U.S. soil remains a major feeding ground for the international boxing scene, and two weeks after hosting Joe Calzaghe, another British phenom is scheduled to take the U.S. by storm as Ricky Hatton gets set to take center stage. From the very beginning of his career, Hatton has been viewed as a fighter whose fiery passion and plow ahead style ignites a crowd like few others. Trouble is, recent twist in his career have left some wondering whether this little hot-air balloon needs to cool off before it indeed fizzles out. As we attempt to analyze Mr. Hatton full circle, like any other 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment, we'll take a look at all perspectives to keep things fair and balanced. The 'Supportive' perspective, the 'Critics' perspective, and in the end, a more 'Neutral Objecting' perspective to tie all the loose ends. On the eve of his first U.S. showdown since his one and only humbling defeat, we shine the spotlight on the 'Hitman'.....

Ricky Hatton - (Supportive Perspective): For the past eleven years, Ricky Hatton has been one of the brightest stars on the British boxing scene, tearing through opponents and delivering the type of excitement that many view to be unparalleled in any realm of sports. For the first few years of his career Hatton swarmed his opponents with his devouring style, leaving little room for skeptics to doubt his ability, however, the twenty-first fight of his career would be the first gut-check that he would encounter. Coming into the fight, no one expected his opponent - Jonathan Thaxton - to do much damage, but quite to the contrary, within the opening round of the fight Hatton was badly cut, leaving many to ponder whether or not the fight should have even been stopped at the time. Having no choice but to bite down and dig in, Hatton was able to eventually show the fight fans that he could not only per severe in adversity, but do it decisively, as he would go on to take a points victory for the then vacant BBBofC British Lightweight Championship strap. After that hard fought victory, Hatton would continue his winning ways, despite adversity encountered against Eeamon Maghee - (Hatton's first career knockdown) - among other challenges. In June of 2005, Hatton was able to climb what was previously thought to be his steepest mountain of them all when he took on and defeated Australian born Kotsya Tszyu, pounding him in a hard fought showdown that finally ended when Tszyu failed to respond to the bell going into the 12th and final round. After the Tszyu victory, Hatton would earn one more victory in 2005 before bringing in a new year that would start a phase in his career that hasn't been so pretty for him. This phase also happens to be the originating point where the critics began to chime in with their perspective of him.........

Ricky Hatton - (Critics Perspective): In 2006, Ricky Hatton opened up his official welterweight campaign at 147lbs, taking on a fighter who appeared under the radar, but was clearly above the rim - Brooklynite Luis Collazo. At the time, Collazo came in sporting a 26-1 record and for those who knew of him, he was widely considered as one of the slickest, most talented southpaws in the game. Hatton came into the fight thinking he could go along with his typical business-as-usual script, but he would learn early in the fight that the rumors of Collazo were as true as advertised. Collazo's slick ability and amazing counter-punching style would ultimately end up to be too much for Hatton, and for the first time ever in his career, despite the victory, questions suddenly began to surround the 'Manchester Madman'. Among the many questions that began to surface, the major ones dealt primarily with his ability to handle a skilled boxer who came equipped with not only the ability to make him miss, but subsequently make him pay as well. The poor outing seemed to affect Hatton's confidence more than anything. In his next fight, Hatton put on an ugly performance against his hard-hitting Colombian opponent, Juan Urango, then followed that subpar victory with one of his most deceptive victories to date, which was his victory over Jose Luis Castillo. Some felt that his victory over Castillo bared the remnants of trickery, but hit or miss, it would set the stage for Hatton's most troubling moment of his career. This troubling moment came when Hatton squared off against the sports pound-for-pound champ, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Collazo had proven that Hatton could be troubled by skilled fighters, and his ugly showing against Urango proved that he could be troubled by powerful fighters, but at this point, Hatton would finally learn what could transpire when he actually faced an opponent who could put together both components. In the most humbling moment of his career thus far, Hatton would be thoroughly outclassed by Mayweather, breathing more life into the sudden questions that left many of his supporters wondering if he was indeed a hoax as it relates to his ability to win on the grand stage.

Ricky Hatton - (Neutral Objective): When it comes to Hatton, the truth of the matter is, Hatton isn't quite as good or quite as bad as one might hear, depending on who's holding the conversation. Hatton's career has taken on a 'pendulum' type effect in the sense that no matter who you talk to, he's either a solid opponent, or a very shaken one waiting to fall once again. I think when you really break down the Rickster, what you see is a fighter who's true potential remains an arrested development based on a few major contributing factors. For one, physically, his size limitations make it very difficult for him as few fighters on the welterweight level can succeed in a 5'7" frame with a 65 inch reach. Secondly, his physical limitations are even more pronounced by the fact that his out-of-ring discipline is amongst the poorest in the sport. When you're only 5'7" and you know you're not gonna fare too well north of 140lbs, one would think that he'd be disciplined enough to avoid having to dedicate complete training camps to losing weight rather than learning skills. Fundamentally, Hatton's arsenal lacks what it takes to compete with a truly skilled opponent who can avoid his shots and fight at a high rate for 12 rounds. It appeared that the guidance of Mayweather Sr. would help steer him into more discipline and better ring fundamentals but Hatton's latest comments about him putting down the booze where he flat out told Mayeweather Sr. that "it ain't gonna happen", that pretty much says it all. He doesn't care about his career, and that same humbling loss that made him admit to "crying everyday like a woman" apparently wasn't enough. Underneath the booze and pretzels I'd like to say there's talent and ambition, but his whole gonna-do-things-my-way attitude will never allow him to prosper any more in this sport. My advice to Hatton, "put the beers down or put your gloves up"! There are two choices and as the song says...."It's your option, pick like Malone and Stockton".

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 21.11.2008



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