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Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Boxing--- Now that Ricky Hatton has beaten Kostya Tszyu, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has beaten Arturo Gatti, there has been a lot of talk in the boxing world about a potential showdown for supremacy in boxing's deepest weight class between Hatton and Mayweather. However, I just don't see that fight being as competitive as many people seem to think it would be.
While Hatton did look very impressive in his recent TKO win over long-time junior-welterweight king Kostya Tszyu, I still think Hatton would only be slightly more likely to beat Mayweather than Gatti would be on any given night... which is to say, not very likely.
First of all, is Hatton even willing to fight anyone outside of his hometown setting, ever? We haven't seen him do it yet, and it's hard to imagine Hatton going to someone else's hometown and beating him the way Mayweather did against Gatti, or the way Tszyu attempted to do against Hatton. Hatton can talk about wanting to fight in the US, but in boxing it's not a reality until it actually happens.
Also, while a win over Kostya Tszyu is impressive under any circumstances, the reality of the situation (if anyone wants to say it out loud instead of just thinking it) is that Hatton vs. Tszyu wasn't so much a boxing match as it was a Greco-Roman wrestling match with punching allowed. Throwing punches from the clinch, or while entering or leaving the clinch, is an accepted part of boxing, but it was taken to ridiculous proportions in the Hatton-Tszyu fight.
Punches being thrown while one or more boxers' arms were tied up wasn't just an occasional thing that happened and was tolerated, as it normally is in boxing. It was how the majority of punches in the fight were landed. Seriously, I defy anyone to show me any continuous 60-second period in the Hatton-Tszyu fight where one of the fighters doesn't land an illegal punch from the clinch while one or both of their opponents' arms are tied up. You can't do it, because it was a non-stop occurrence throughout the whole fight.
Still, that's not Ricky Hatton's fault. It's the referee's fault for not doing his job and enforcing the rules of boxing. Also, there's no way to say for sure whether an abundance of clinch-fighting would necessarily favor Hatton or Tszyu, and in any case, one can at least say that the enforcement of the rule (or lack thereof) was applied equally to both fighters. It wasn't like it was only Ricky Hatton doing it, or only Ricky Hatton getting away with it.
It's just a simple fact that boxers are going to throw punches from the clinch, and if the referee doesn't do his job and put a stop to that kind of thing, they're going to keep doing it. If the ref never makes any effort to put a stop to it, it's going to turn into a Greco-Roman situation as it did in the Hatton-Tszyu fight, where literally the majority of the punches in the fight were landed from the clinch.
Don't get me wrong, none of this changes the fact that Ricky Hatton beat Kostya Tszyu. It doesn't take away from the fact that Hatton showed a great chin by absorbing Tszyu's powerful right hands, which many people didn't think he could do. It doesn't take away from the fact that Hatton showed amazing stamina by staying on the offensive for as long as he did.
All it does is establish that the Hatton vs. Tszyu fight was not fought under normal boxing rules, and one has to think that if a Mayweather vs. Hatton fight were to happen, the boxers would actually be forced to fight under the rules of boxing, provided that the same incompetent, semi-conscious referee doesn't get assigned to the fight.
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