Mayweather KO10 Ricky Hatton Revisited

By Marc Livitz on December 8, 2017
Mayweather KO10 Ricky Hatton Revisited
The loyal Hatton fans continued their singing even when their hero lay flat on the mat.

Ricky had a few moments early, yet as time wore on, Hatton wore out. Floyd was as he always was…simply too good…

Ten years ago today, two marquee names within the boxing world met in a clash of unbeaten champions in Las Vegas. On December 8, 2007, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. accepted the challenge thrown at him by Ricky Hatton six months earlier and invited him to his own home turf for a crack at the WBC welterweight title. That previous June, Hatton captured the vacant IBF super lightweight championship by way of a fourth round stoppage of Jose Luis Castillo courtesy of a thunderous body shot. When asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman if he had anything to say to Mayweather in regards to a possible welterweight showdown, he gladly obliged the largely pro-British at the Thomas and Mack Center in Vegas. “I think you saw you more action in these four rounds than you’ve seen value for money in Floyd’s whole career. I’ll just leave it at that,” said the then unbeaten native of Manchester, Lancashire, U.K.

In a move which would have been incredibly welcomed perhaps two years later against another well known boxing commodity for a hotly anticipated bout, Floyd took the bait and signed off on a showdown with “Hitman” Hatton. The date for ‘Undefeated,’ as it was billed, was slated for December 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Over the years, lines of division have been drawn even deeper in terms of Mayweather’s popularity. Such opinions still resonate to this day and some writers within the boxing community still don’t believe that the 40-year-old, pound-for-pound king is truly retired, once and for all. The words fall somewhere between criticism and plain nitpicking when dealt as proof that his respective opponents put the proverbial posteriors in the seats and not himself. In May of 2007, Floyd took part in a contest which broke all existing records in terms of a live gate and pay-per-view buys when he edged Oscar De La Hoya by split decision. Face value for a ticket ranged from $150 all the way up to $2000 and although the bout “officially” sold out in a number of hours, there were still scattered seats to be found all the way up to fight night, provided one was willing to pay dearly for it.

There was no such luck when the tickets for Floyd’s showdown with Hatton were offered to the public. Not long after they were made available, the MGM Grand’s ticketing website posted a notice of SOLD OUT next to the event’s picture. The vast majority, if not nearly all of the tickets were gone before anyone could buy them. The casino held much of them for the high roller variety of gamblers and so many more were put on consignment, when the same tickets are visible on multiple third party website inventories.

Of course, there was also the case of Hatton Promotions and the rabid fan base in England who wanted to hop across the pond and attend the contest. Many of them were able to snag ticket and hotel packages before taking the double-digit hours-long trip to Sin City. When fight night finally arrived, as this writer can personally attest, the atmosphere was beyond electrifying. Before those in attendance even made their way into the arena, the MGM casino was awash with bits and pieces of the over 30,000 British fans who had descended upon Las Vegas. The cavernous gambling hall echoed from wall to wall, “There’s only one….Ricky Hatton! One….Ricky Hatton! Walking along, singing his song, walking in a Hatton wonderland.”

If we go back now and look at a video of the HBO pay-per-view telecast from that night, it’s still amusing to see Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley having to effectively shout into their microphones during their customary pre-fight segment. The chanting continued through the night’s undercard as well. Legendary Welshman Tom Jones sang ‘God Save the Queen’ and the arena, likely 95% pro-Hatton, followed along. Surprisingly, many of the same people booed the national anthem of the United States shortly thereafter. Hatton boasted a record of 43 wins without a loss, while Mayweather’s was 39 wins in as many contests. Ricky walked to the ring with his usual music, the classic tune “Blue Moon,” sang by various artists over the years. Hatton’s version, however, was the one which blasts through the loudspeakers at the home grounds of his beloved Manchester City Football Club. Floyd, by contrast chose “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen.

Of course, the bout itself was another story. Ricky had a few moments early, yet as time wore on, Hatton wore out. Floyd was as he always was…simply too good. Many took issue with referee Joe Cortez, whom they felt interfered with the contest a bit too much for their respective tastes. It didn’t matter. Mayweather figured Hatton out within a few rounds and proceeded to score a knockout midway through the tenth.

The initial death knell was a classic “check left” hook delivered by Floyd when the relentless Ricky charged at him. The punch caught the Mancunian flush on the chin and he proceeded to fly headfirst into the padded ringpost. He’d make his way to his feet, yet a barrage of punches from his Las Vegas opponent would send him to the canvas for a second time, after which Cortez waved the contest to a close. The ever loyal Hatton fans continued their singing even when their hero lay flat on the mat.

The rest as they say is history. Floyd never lost a bout in his professional career. Ricky, who was a fan favorite in the pubs and bars of Manchester, wasn’t so lucky. He would undoubtedly work hard in the gym in preparation for his contests, much of which went towards burning off the excess weight he’d put on between bouts. The nasty habit of piling on the poundage earned him the name of “Ricky Fatton.” Sadly, one of the hardest working entities in the British Isles would ultimately be his liver. He’d make a comeback of sorts until he was viciously knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in two rounds in May of 2009. He fought once more after that. Just over five years ago, his career was brought to a final end by Vyacheslav Senchenko in the ninth round of a contest he was likely winning until, you guessed it. A liver shot took him out for good.

Ten years. Hard to believe.

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