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Hatton vs. De La Hoya In 2009 – Even Better Than Pacquiao-Oscar

Oscar De La Hoya Ricky HattonBy Nate Anderson: Next year we may be seeing the best fight in quite some time, perhaps the best in years, when Ricky Hatton faces Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya in a fight that will almost definitely break box office records for PPV. Although nothing is set in stone at this time, both fighters have expressed interest in making the potential fight happen. The only problem with the fight taking place is whether or not Hatton and De La Hoya will be successful in their upcoming bouts. Hatton faces Paulie Malignaggi, whereas De La Hoya takes on Manny Pacquiao, neither of which is an easy opponent. However, both Hatton and De La Hoya are expected to win by most betting experts in the sport.

Hatton, 29, the shorter fighter at 5’7″, would obviously come in as the underdog against the bigger, stronger 5’11” De La Hoya. However, Hatton has the style to defeat De La Hoya, by pressuring him constantly and forcing him to fight in at close range like Floyd Mayweather Jr. did against De La Hoya in their bout in May 2007. Although De La Hoya did a lot better against Mayweather than Hatton did, losing by a 12-round split decision compared to Hatton’s 10th round stoppage loss, he still proved vulnerable to Mayweather at close range where he was able to hit De La Hoya was numerous fast flurries to take control over the fight in the second half of the bout.

De La Hoya’s pride got too much of him in his fight with Mayweather Jr., causing him to try and slug it out with him at close range in the second part of the bout rather than using his jab, left hook and movement to safely control the fight from the outside. De La Hoya probably could have won the Mayweather Jr. fight if he had fought smart, and resisted the urge to slug it out with him, but he let his emotions carry him into a fight that he wasn’t suited for, allowing the quicker handed Mayweather to take over the fight. I think Mayweather set him up for this type of fight by angering him with trash talking in the long run up to the fight. Indeed, De La Hoya who isn’t much of a talker, often took a lot of barbs from Mayweather at the numerous press conferences before the fight.

So by the time the two finally met on May 5th, 2007, De La Hoya was ready to take Mayweather’s head off. I doubt that Hatton, a thoughtful, good natured lad, could get under De La Hoya’s skin in the same way that Mayweather did, because he’s not that type of person. However, I don’t think it will matter any. De La Hoya will want to trade shots with him in the same manner that he did against other shorter fighters in the past, like Arturo Gatti and Shane Mosley. In both cases, De La Hoya gave up his height and reach and allowed himself to get involved in a war. It ultimately cost him bout fights against Mosley, but didn’t affect him in the case of Gatti, also 5’7″ like Hatton, who De La Hoya easily stopped in the 5th round in March 2001.

This was a prime version of De La Hoya, though, and he was just way too good for Gatti to deal with. But Hatton is a level above Gatti, a better inside fighter by far and with much tougher skin than him. Hatton is also quite a bit younger than De La Hoya, six years the younger and still fighting at the top of his game. De La Hoya, for his part, is on the steep decline, and has been probably for a good five to six years. Even still, De La Hoya would probably make easy work of Hatton if he decided to keep the fight on the outside, but as I’ve said already, he won’t.

De La Hoya will start out using his jab for a few rounds, but then sooner or later, start trying to throw short flurries on the inside. When that happens, you can expect Hatton to start pounding him hard to the body and head, bruising De La Hoya’s older, soft skin and opening up a cut or two around his eyes. Given that he’s facing a smaller fighter, De La Hoya will probably continue to try and beat Hatton at his own game by trading on the inside, and will suffer badly because of it.

Ultimately, I think Hatton will eventually pound out a close decision. He probably won’t stop De La Hoya, because he’ll not have him standing directly in front of him enough to take him out. However, if De La Hoya does elect to stand directly in front of Hatton for the entire bout, I can easily see Hatton scoring a knockout over the aging De La Hoya.

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