The biggest boxing match of the year is tonight, as Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton square off for the WBC welterweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Both fighters are undefeated, Mayweather at 38-0 and Hatton at 43-0. Mayweather is the fastest and probably the best fighter of his generation, but is more respected than loved by fight fans. The product of a family history tangled and violent enough for Greek drama, Mayweather sometimes seems to play the role of a pro wrestling villain. He is, however, a master in the ring.
Hatton is a cheerful, beer-swilling native of Manchester. His brawling style has long made him popular, but it was a big win over Kostya Tszyu that catapulted him into the sport’s top rank. Hatton rarely throws a jab; he burrows in and unleashes hooks with both hands. Thousands of Englishmen have made their way to Las Vegas for the fight. The brief video below gives a sense of the hype surrounding the bout.
The boxers weighed in yesterday and staged the usual altercation:
Hatton is a sentimental favorite, but the betting odds have been running around two to one in Mayweather’s favor. They should be longer. Hatton is a natural junior welterweight, and it defies logic to think that anyone can move up in class and beat Mayweather, who will enjoy a seven-inch reach advantage. Still, the fight promises to be exciting, and most observers think Hatton has the proverbial puncher’s chance, notwithstanding his smaller size.
PAUL adds: Hatton is a pal of former Everton, and current Manchester United, star Wayne Rooney, who comes from a family of boxers.
JOHN adds: And Hatton comes from a family of soccer players; both his father and grandfather played for one of the Manchester teams.
UPDATE/POST-MORTEM: It was a good fight but not a great one. Hatton forced the action through six rounds, making Mayweather fight in close, often against the ropes. Hatton’s speed enabled him to get inside without taking a lot of punishment. Still, he wasn’t inflicting much either, and Mayweather’s right hand leads were landing often. By the seventh, Hatton was starting to wear down. Mayweather dominated from the eighth round on, and knocked Hatton out in the tenth. The bottom line, as I wrote last night, is that no one is going to move up a weight class and beat Mayweather.
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