Could Tszyu Beat Hatton Now?
By Scott Gilfoid: It’s been four years since Kostya Tszyu (31-2, 25 KO’s) was stopped in the 11th round by Ricky Hatton (45-2, 32 KO’s) in a fight marred by wrestling and fouls in Manchester, England. Since then, Tszyu hasn’t fought anyone. Like Hatton, Tszyu hasn’t officially retired but the longer Tszyu stays away from the ring, the more likely he’ll never fight again.
However, I’m curious whether Tszyu, now 39-years-old, could beat Hatton, 30, at this point in Ricky’s career. This would normally seem like an easy question, because any fighter that’s been out of the ring for as long as Tszyu, would likely be too far passed their prime to be still effective.
I’m not so sure about that now. I think Tszyu might not only be able to beat Hatton at this point, but stop him in the process. In looking at recent photos of Tszyu, he still looks plenty powerful. In fact, Tszyu looks like a little Russian bear and looks quite powerful, although considerably heavier than he was in his last fight four years ago. Comparing Hatton and Tszyu in side by side photos, I can’t help but notice that Tszyu actually looks to be in better shape than Hatton at this point. That’s kind of sad, because you would think that with all the time that Tszyu has been away from the ring that he’d be heavier than Hatton.
But I guess Tszyu has been sticking with a fairly strict diet while away from boxing. But still Tszyu would need to take off at least 30 to 40 pounds of weight if he wanted to get down to light welterweight for a fight against Hatton. Naturally, I realize that Hatton would probably never be interested in fighting Tszyu again because Ricky appears to be content with his career after making a lot of money in his fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
For the sake of argument, I think Tszyu would be more than a handful for Hatton right now. Tszyu is probably every bit as powerful as he was in his prime and even if Tszyu has lost a shade of power in the past four years, he is still a harder puncher than Manny Pacquiao or any other light welterweight in the division in my view.
With Hatton’s chin compromised from his knockout losses to Mayweather and Pacquiao, I have serious doubts about whether Hatton’s chin would stand up to the pounding that Tszyu would be putting on Hatton. This would be a fight in which Hatton would be taking a lot of shots as he comes forward and I think Hatton would be severely tested to try and stay upright with Tszyu firing at full strength with lefts and rights to the face of Hatton.
It goes without saying that the fight would have to be held in a neutral country like the U.S., because if the bout were to be held in England again, Hatton would be able to get away with mugging Tszyu like Hatton did last time, by grabbing and wrestling Tszyu all night long without being warned or penalized by the English referee.
Hatton probably should have been disqualified for all the holding and wrestling he did in that fight, because it was really ugly the way that Hatton was allowed to wrestle and hold Tszyu on the inside without being docked points. If the fight were to be held in the U.S., Hatton would have to be on his best behavior, especially if Tszyu could manage to have Joe Cortez as the referee.
With Cortez working the fight, it would be bout guaranteed where the winner of the fight was the one that was the better puncher of the two, not the better wrestler like in the previous fight. As much as I like Hatton as a fighter, I think the 39-year-old Tszyu knocks Hatton out in three or four rounds, just as long as Hatton’s not permitted to drape himself all over Tszyu wrestling like MMA fighter.
In a boxing match, I see Tszyu easily winning this fight regardless of the time that he’s been away from the ring. At that point, Hatton really would need to retire because he would look bad for him that he was knocked out by a rusty fighter like Tszyu.