Monday, June 25, 2007

Why the Fat Man will rule the world

If you don't like boxing, maybe you should sign off now. This is about Ricky Hatton, who destroyed José Luis Castillo this weekend. I know it's easy to get carried away with these things, but I've thought about it for a few years and I believe he could take over the world. What's in his way? Several things:

I'm starting off with an easy one. Paulie Malignaggi is the new IBF champ and is seen by the HBO paymasters as the up-and-comer, and a mouthy one at that. I reckon Ricky should take him next, otherwise the little upstart will be running off at the mouth for the next couple of years about how he's being avoided. And take the fight to MSG, so Ricky can be a true visiting opponent and pick up a few new fans. 

He's been beaten, but the challenge of Mosley is that he still seems as good as ever and represents a genuine welterweight test. Hatton needs to give himself a few months to grow into welter properly, instead of the 6 weeks he gave himself for Collazo (a fight which Hatton nevertheless WON). Mosley is still considered "p4p", and he seems to want the fight. Do him.

Oscar is the big guy. And I'm not talking fame and riches, but his frame. He is more than four inches taller than Ricky and has won a world title at MW, yet could still make welter without too much trouble. But come on, does he still have the fire to win? Ricky would do a Tyson on him (Oscar playing Trevor "wobbly legs" Berbick). But I guess Oscar remains a gatekeeper of sorts, and a victory over him would alert the non-boxing public to the fact that Ricky is the new deity. And even if beating this win brings no credibility, think of the money!

Ah yes, the much celebrated p4p king. Sure, he's slick as hell and one technical boxer. But has anyone looked at his opponents lately? Oscar, Judah, ex-journeyman Baldomir, Gatti, Mitchell... These guys are ALL past their peak. Mayweather touched down on light-welter for THREE FIGHTS for before looking around him, seeing Hatton and Cotto and reaching for his coat. Leaving aside recent fights, you have his victories against Castillo and Corrales. THESE were his career definers - an unbeaten Corrales and a peak Castillo. Saying that, I had Castillo winning that first fight no problem. Mayweather was a lucky guy. After getting past the rematch, I guess he decided that live opponents are too much trouble.

For me, Cotto is the biggest obstacle. Forget Mayweather, Cotto is the real p4p king (excluding Hatton). Mayweather dances, Cotto goes for the throat. Mayweather is clever and loves money and bling, Cotto is just a 100% fighter and a proud one at that. He's fucking dangerous, as a rejuvenated Zab Judah recently found out. Mayweather wouldn't go near him. Hatton should... after dispensing with all of the above.

Beer and Pies
I'm not joking - Ricky's off-duty lifestyle is probably his biggest enemy. He piles on the pounds between bouts and can often be found down the pub, knocking back the sauce, hoovering pork scratchings and frittering away all his millions on the "Eastenders" fruit machine. I reckon he's got two years left as a top boxer if he carries on like that. No way will he be a Joe Calzaghe, 35 and still at the top. Let alone the amazing Bernard Hopkins (41).

OK, if he does all that, then he can retire.

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