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Ricky Hatton says he would have BEATEN Mayweather on the night of Tszyu fight

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By Scott Gilfoid: Ricky Hatton believes he would have beaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the night that he defeated 35-year-old IBF light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu with the right referee that allowed him to fight with his style.

Tszyu never stood a chance against Hatton. The Russian fighter was old, not well versed in the grappling tactics that Hatton used, and he had been dealing with injury problems. Hatton was at his best at 27 going against an aged 35-year-old Tszyu, who’s best years were well behind him by that stage of his career.

Given the circumstances, it was Hatton’s best performance of his career going against an older Tszyu at home in Manchester, England. Everything in Hatton’s favor that night.

It was the perfect storm that Tszyu cruised into that night in fighting Hatton in England, and with him roughing him up like mad.

Mayweather wouldn’t have let Hatton rough him up

The roughhouse tactics that Jeff Horn used against Manny Pacquiao were child’s play compared to the stuff that Hatton was using against Tszyu.

Would those tactics by Hatton have worked against Mayweather? Probably not. There’s no way on earth that Mayweather would have stood there the way Tszyu did and let Hatton use his physical style of fighting against him.

This is what Hatton had going for him against Tszyu

  • Hometown advantage
  • Tszyu being old at 35
  • Roughout tactics by Hatton being used all night
  • Referee not penalizing Hatton for fouling

For the fans that remember the Hatton-Tszyu clash in June 2005, Ricky wrestled and roughed up the past his prime Kostya in Manchester, England. It was ugly to watch contest that involved Hatton sticking his head into the face of Tszyu and doing a lot of holding and hitting. And it was Tszyu fighting as a boxer going up against an MMA guy.

It looked like Hatton was using an ‘anything goes’ type of fighting style in which the Marquess of Queensberry rules went out the window against a fighter that was old, trying to fight under the standard boxing rules.

Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs) had an excellent 15-year professional career in winning two-division world titles, but he was never elite. Let’s face it; Hatton would have lost to Tszyu if there had been a referee that controlled his holding & hitting and wrestling.

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Hatton: I could have beaten anyone that night

The British referee that worked Tszyu-Hatton fight, Dave Parris, used a hands-off approach in letting the battle play out without stepping in to penalize Hatton for his roughhouse tactics.  Had the same referee worked the Mayweather-Hatton fight in 2007, it probably wouldn’t have changed the results.

“I’m not saying I was a better fighter than Floyd. But the right tactics on the right night at the right time? Even the best can be beaten,” Hatton said to The Boxing Show on Sky Sports. “If I fought him [Mayweather] on that night, I think I might have beaten him.”

“Against Kostya Tszyu, with a referee who let the fight flow at a distance and up close, I would have beaten anyone that night including Floyd,” said Hatton.

That referee that worked the Hatton-Tszyu took a laissez fair approach to control the physical play from Hatton. It looked to me like the referee was just standing around without doing anything to police the extracurricular stuff that Hatton was doing against Tszyu.

When you look back at the fight, the real question is how long would have Hatton have lasted before being disqualified by a referee that showed initiative to control his fouling. My guess is three rounds at best.

Was Tszyu aware of what kind of fight that Hatton would use against him? If so, then why didn’t he insist on the contest taking place in a neutral venue instead of in Hatton’s backyard in Manchester? Tszyu had to have known what was in store for him, venturing into Manchester to fight Hatton in front of his own fans.

Should Hatton have been disqualified?

No one would have complained if referee Dave Parris had disqualified Hatton during the Tszyu fight because he went overboard with the grappling, holding and hitting and shoving his head into his face.

That match showed that when one fighter is using roughhouse tactics against a guy that is playing it by the rules, it’s hard to beat them.

Mayweather was too fast on his feet for Hatton, and he was catching him with left hooks the entire fight. Hatton was too primitive with his old fashioned bare-bones style of fighting, and Mayweather was also skilled for him.

We had the 21st-century fighter Mayweather going up against a 20th-century opponent in Hatton, and it was no match. Hatton was doing stuff that you saw from fighters in the 1950s, and it didn’t work against Mayweather with his modern style of fighting.

It’s academic that Hatton got away with a massive amount of roughhouse tactics against Tszyu in 2005, and he should have been penalized repeatedly by the referee. It’s a miracle that Hatton wasn’t disqualified with the stuff he got away with against Tszyu.

Had that same fight taken place in the U.S, Hatton would likely have lost with a referee that was doing his job of policing his fouling.

Two years later, when Hatton fought Mayweather Jr. in December 2007 in Las Vegas, referee Joe Cortez didn’t let Ricky use his wrestling tricks, and he controlled the fight.

Without his ability to wrestle, hold & hit and rough Mayweather up, Hatton was outclassed in losing by a 10th round knockout. It looked like Mayweather carried Hatton to the 10th round because he probably could have

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Cortez did an excellent job of controlling Hatton

Ricky might not be aware of it, but a lot of boxing fans thought he should have been disqualified for the fouling that he used against Tszyu (31-2, 25 KOs). When Hatton fought Mayweather in the United States, referee Joe Cortez couldn’t turn a blind eye and let him get away with his wrestling.

The shot that seemed to do the most damage for Hatton against Tszyu was a low blow, and that typifies the kind of fight he made it against him. When there was the separation between the two, Tszyu was lighting Hatton up and looked like the far better fighter.

Not only would Mayweather have beaten Hatton on the same night that he defeated Tszyu, but you can also argue that Marcos Maidana would have beaten him too. Maidana was just as good at roughing up his opponents as Hatton, but he was a lot stronger and a better puncher.

Hatton could punch a little, but his thing was wrestling his opponent and then hitting them in between his grappling. That style wouldn’t have worked against Maidana because he was a stronger fighter than Hatton, and he would beat him at his own game.

 


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