Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Ricky Fatton

I am an unabashed fan of Ricky Hatton. No question about it. In the ring he is a dynamo. I love the constant pressure and constant action. I love the brawling style. Sure it might cause him to lose some fights to more technically sound boxers. For example his only career loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in December 2007 (although he is addressing that by bringing Floyd Sr. into his camp). That being said, his exciting style turns the dial. I love to watch him fight. I love to watch the dude go to war.

However, if Hatton in the ring is Dr. Jekyll, than out of the ring he morphs into Mr. Hyde- or more appropriately…his nickname….Ricky Fatton.

Between fights, the 5’6” fighter who usually fights at the junior welterweight (140 pound limit), balloons up to as much as 175-180 pounds! He does this by adhering to a strict daily regime of sausage and peas washed down by a few dozen pints of Guinness. He often has to spend much of his pre-fight training camps wearing sweat gear and cutting massive amounts of weight. In many instances making weight is a major concern even come fight week.

Now Hatton is far too professional and has far too much money to lose not to make weight for his May 2 fight with Pacquio, however I am worried about his prospects for this fight and going forward.

Coming off the upset win over De La Hoya, Pacquio might be the best fighter in the world right now. To beat him you have to be on top of your game, in tip top shape, and prepared to go to war for 12 rounds. Cutting that much weight in a short period of time can definitely take a toll on your body. He’s been doing it for years, but if Ricky is fighting the scales coming into the fight, who is to say his body won’t be too drained to have anything left for Manny? At the very least it could be a distraction that could disrupt other pre-fight preparations.

And what about going forward? I want to see Hatton fight for years, but the fighters who have had the longest and most successful careers have done the opposite of Hatton between fights. They’ve trained nearly all year round in order to stay in shape, and near their fighting weight. Look at a guy like Bernard Hopkins. I’m not a huge fan, but I have to admire the way he has been obsessive about his training. He’s managed to stay relevant in boxing well into his 40’s. Even Hopkins, who fought most of his career at 160 pounds, always had the height and size to move up in weight as he did later on. At a diminutive 5’6”, Hatton is best suited at the 140 pound limit. Even a move to 147 would put him in the ring with welterweights like the Antonio Margarito’s and Paul Williams of the world-- fighters with size and length that he can’t compete with. He needs to stay at 140 to be a world class fighter, and putting on 40+ pounds in between fights is not helping this.

No matter what your opinion of Ricky Hatton is in the ring, one thing is not up for debate: Boxing needs him. In a time where boxing is losing fans to other forms of combat fighting, like MMA and cage fighting, and even some championship fights don’t even sell out, Hatton is a major draw. In fact he is probably the biggest draw in boxing. How many other fighters could bring 30,000 British fans with him to Vegas? (go ahead and let a rousing rendition of “Hatton Wonderland” fill your subconscious)? 30,000 fans came to Vegas, yet only five or six thousand actually had tickets to get inside the arena. That’s the drawing power of Hatton.

Here’s to hoping Ricky Hatton has lost the fat suit, is in camp, and is serious about preparing for his May 2nd showdown with Pacquio. Win, lose, or draw lets also hope he’s planning on a long career after that as well.

Boxing would be better for having him around for a while.

you can also view this article at: http://diamondboxing.com/newsstory.php


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