Prelude To A Battle

By Tom Donelson
Updated: November 24, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia — Simon Block, the head of British boxing, told me a year ago that he was hoping for a Rickey Hatton-Floyd Mayweather fight sooner as oppose to later. He feared that Hatton did not have the skills to match up against Mayweather but hoped that his brawling style could at least give him a chance.

In December, Hatton gets his chance at Mayweather and one big chance to collect the big PPV money. Hatton’s brawling style won him fans in his native Manchester and like his fellow brit Joe Calzaghe; Hatton fills arenas.

Mayweather had trouble selling out his home town for a fight and despite his awesome skills; Mayweather has never yet catch boxing fans imagination. This guy may be the best pound for pound fighter over the past three decades, but he is still underappreciated. Hatton not just filled arenas in England but many of his dedicated fans traveled across the ocean to see their hero.

Mayweather is a surgeon whose quick hands slices through opponents’ defenses. His closet fights was his two fights with Jose Castillo and his last fight with Oscar De Hoya. Most of his fights proved to one sided affairs and as it is often said, speed kills. Hatton depends upon brute strength.

For old fight fans, just think Gene Fullmer vs. Sugar Ray Robinson or Carmen Basilio vs. Robinson. In those fights, the slick boxer faced the strong brute and over a period of four fights, Robinson split his four fights with Basilio and Fullmer but then Robinson was close to 40 and the left hook that stopped Fullmer in their rematch was one of boxing great left hooks.

Hatton grabs, wrestles and occasionally throw punches while wearing out his opponent. Sometimes, his style resembled a welterweight version of former heavyweight champion John Ruiz. Unlike Ruiz, Hatton never seem to irritate fans and his fellow British loved his pluckiness.

There is a blue collar quality to Hatton and that is what warms his fellow British hearts. They viewed him as one of their own. While Mayweather ‘s last victory over De La Hoya gained begrudging respect among boxing fans and pundits,t Hatton is more important to money side of this PPV.

This has been Mayweather curse, he is so good that he makes it look too easy at times. His last fight with De La Hoya set records simply because of De La Hoya star power.

In this fight, it’s Mayweather’s to lose for he has the skills to tame the brawling Hatton. Hatton has a tendency to cut and Mayweather quick hands will find Hatton face enough times. The one chance Hatton has to wear Mayweather out and simply stay on Mayweather chest the entire fight.

He can out- quick or out box but by staying on Mayweather’s chest, he denies Mayweather a chance to fully extend his punches and tired fighters lose their quickness.

Mayweather should win and win easily but for Hatton, this is the one fight he has looked forward. Upset Mayweather and he will build new fans here in the state. His last fight against Castillo was his best since coming to the states.

It will be argued that Castillo showed the wear and tear of his kick ass, coming forward style but Hatton beat a good fighter by first dominating Castillo and taking his heart before ending the fight.

Can he do it against Mayweather?