Boxing


Hatton Stops Malignaggi in the Eleventh

Ricky HattonBy Paul Strauss: Ricky hurt Paulie early and often. He continued his relentless attack throughout the fight. After the tenth round, trainer Buddy McGirt told Paulie he wasn't going to continue letting him take so much punishment, and would stop the fight. Paulie wasn't capable of changing the course of the action, so Buddy threw in the towel. It was only 28 seconds into the eleventh round.

The MGM Grand headline event started off in an entertaining fashion. Ricky literally bounced into the ring in his "Fat Man" suit, doing his version of the Curly Shuffle to lyrics saying, ".....never eats salad, and that's why he's fat". Paulie joined in with a few dance steps of his own. Ring announcer Michael Buffer glanced sideways at the "Fat Man", and had all he could do to keep from bursting out into laughter. Then the robes came off and the fun was over.

Paulie's plan was quickly evident. He wanted to catch Ricky with his own version of the check hook. To neutralize or nullify Ricky's left hook to the body, Paulie would first duck under the left jab or hook to the head, and then step in close, and keep his head low and on the left side of Ricky. It worked for one round, but it also negated his height and reach advantage. Paulie did manage to land one decent right hand that caused a slight bruise under Ricky's left eye.

Ricky's fans started chanting before the fight even started, and continued on once the combat commenced, so Americans started chanting......"USA, USA! However, Paulie quickly silenced them when he made a mistake no technically sound boxer should make. He attempted to throw a lead right uppercut from outside. Ricky beat him to the punch with a beautiful short straight right hand. It was amazing the fight didn't end right there. But, Paulie proved his toughness, and was smart enough to clinch long enough to clear his head.

Paulie went back to his corner with a cut on his nose. McGirt instructed him to double jab. Paulie looked distant, like the advice wasn't sinking in. He also already appeared tired, which seemed to be somewhat of a surprise because Paulie had fought Cotto so well. Most would consider Cotto a harder puncher than Hatton, and Paulie could attest to that coming out of the fight with a fractured orbital bone. But, Ricky is a different and busier bomber. He never lets up, and employs a tough herky-jerky type attack. Paulie found the style very difficult, and he just couldn't land his normally very good jab. Without it, he's almost helpless, because everyone and his uncle knows Paulie doesn't have much of a right hand. Hatton sure knows it, and wasn't worried about it at all.

Since Paulie couldn't land the jab to Ricky's head, McGirt advised him to still double it up, but to throw it to Ricky's chest. That didn't work either. Paulie continued to look for a chance to land the "check hook", which meant he wasn't getting off first. McGirt also told him to stay on the outside and to work his jab. He said, "There's no need to be on the inside."

Floyd Mayweather, Sr. told Ricky, "Don't let him breathe. Keep punching, and put you hand out for (to maintain) punching room. Ricky followed orders, and Paulie didn't. In fact, after the first round Paulie pretty much stopped feinting or firing the good jab. It was evident only briefly, and Ricky's jab was much more powerful. He hurt Paulie several times with it. He would sucker Paulie with what used to be his patented move of feinting with the right, and then stepping to his left and firing the left hook. But, tonight he sent off a nice straight left that would catch Paulie flush.

Paulie had a little better round in the sixth, but Ricky looked relaxed and in control. Harold Lederman's unofficial score card had the fight 5 rounds to 1 for Hatton. The seventh ended with much the same action........a hard straight left from Ricky.

By the eighth round, Buddy McGirt was telling Paulie he needed to use his right more, and Paulie finally did land one, but it meant nothing in the flow of the fight. Ricky was still in control, and once again badly shook Paulie with first a left and then a right uppercut. It was very evident that Paulie was open for more uppercuts, because he was constantly leaning bent-over into Ricky.

Paulie came out for the ninth with bruises under both eyes. Almost immediately he took another hard left from Ricky. Then Ricky proceeded to beat him with more jabs, short rights and uppercuts. Paulie was taking a bad beating.

In the tenth, Paulie once again committed the cardinal sin of throwing a lead right uppercut, and Ricky nailed him with another straight short right. At the end of the tenth, McGirt told Paulie, "You have to punch or I will stop the fight."

Paulie just couldn't do it. Ricky jumped on him from the start of the round, catching him with some hard punches, one of which was a hard body shot. McGirt, standing on the ring apron, waved a towel, and referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the fight.

Paulie was angry. Although he realistically knew he had no chance to knockout Ricky, he felt he could go the distance. He did not want a KO loss on his record. On the other hand it seemed senseless for him to take an unnecessary beating. Ringside announcers Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and Lennox Lewis all felt it was a good stoppage. After all, Ricky had landed 174 more punches, and obviously the harder ones as well.

In the post fight interview, Ricky said that he definitely would like to face the winner of the De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao fight. Paulie was left to bemoan the fight result by saying, "I'm better than getting stopped."

The leading up to the main event showcased James Kirkland versus Brian Vera. All of Kirkland's fights are action packed, as he applies controlled pressure on his opponents, firing off crisp hard combinations. Right from the start it appeared he had Vera where he wanted him, as Vera seemed to stumble back into the ropes, bounce off, and there repeat the process again. He came dangerously close to bouncing right into a big punch right away in the first round. Kirkland was the aggressor, stalking and pressuring Vera. Vera attempted to retaliate with some jabs and several missed rights.

Trainer Ann Wolf told Kirkland to fire straight punches to the body. Vera's corner told him to move to his left, against the left-handed Kirkland. Vera proved his ability to take a punch when he took a hard left from Kirkland. Vera's defensive is weak, and at times he seems hurt and wobbly on his feet, but in reality, he just has poor balance and footwork. He fights hard, though, and threw several hard rights at the southpaw Kirkland. However, they missed, and he paid for it when Kirkland nailed him with a right hook that spun him around. Vera grinned as though he wasn't hurt, and he probably wasn't. His corner man told him, "You're in this fight!"

In the second, Kirkland landed several lefts and rights, but Vera continued to take them, but he appeared even more unsteady, and his stance got even wider. But, he wanted to brawl.

The pace slowed a bit by the fourth, but Vera was still taking punch after punch, and occasionally he would throw and land his own right, which kept him in the fight. He also kept on grinning, but Kirkland was obviously winning the fight.

Kirkland kicked things up again in the fifth, but Vera was still grinning into the sixth. Kirkland exhibited some swelling over the right eye. In the seventh, Kirkland caught Vera with a left to the body and a right hook to the back of the head. Vera was once again off balance, and to make matters worse, it appeared his left foot slipped on the canvas paint. Down he went, but tried to convince the referee it wasn't really a knock down by saying, "I'm not hurt!"

The fight ended in the eighth when Kirkland landed several more punches, including some punishing body shots. Vera backed up and seemed to almost sit on the ropes, and that is when the referee jumped in to call a halt to the fight. It was 1:45 of the eighth round. The final punch totals told much of the story. Kirkland landed approximately 200 more punches than Vera, but Vera is one tough son-of-~#@#*"

Article posted on 23.11.2008



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