Hatton Hangs Tough
Ricky Hatton had a few questions to answer in his first bout
since being knocked out by Floyd Mayweather. Has he slipped since defeating
Kostya Tszyu in 2005? Has the string of clinch filled, sub-par performances
been due to the higher weight class of 147, or because Ricky has now been
facing better fighters?
Some were answered and new questions emerged as Hatton won a
clear but competition decision against Juan Lazcano on May 24.
Hatton came out with guns ablaze in the first round, landing
clean hooks to the body and jabbing well from the outside. Lazcano struggled to
cope with the Hitmans hand speed, and sought unsuccessfully to time his
counters at the end of Hattons flurries.
Rounds two and three saw Hatton double up his left hook to
the body and head, while continuing to pump a stiff, quick jab which destroyed
Lazcanos attempts to find a rhythm. However, the former lightweight titlist
started to find isolated success when he would let his hands go with hooks on
Going into round five, Lazcano had still not won a round.
Hatton continued to be aggressive and started the stanza by bullying Lazcano
into the ropes with quick, leaping left hooks to the head. Lazcanos attempt to
flurry back was ineffective, as Hattons clinching smothered most of the
Lazcano was finally able to sustain an attack in round
eight. Here the challenger hurt Hatton with a solid left hook counter. After
initially holding, Hatton fired back hooks of his own to close out the round.
However, the damage was enough to put Lazcano on the board.
Round nine saw Hatton bounce back behind flashy but
dangerous chin-up-in-the-air leaping hooks. Likely surprised by Hattons sudden
freshness, Lazcano spent most of the round in a shell and trying to block most
of Hattons flurries.
Renewed trouble manifested for Hatton in round ten, as
Lazcano hurt the Manchester
native badly with three successive left hook counters to the head. With his
legs turning to jelly, Hatton immediately grabbed while stumbling into
The hometown ref amazingly called a halt to the action,
ordering Hatton to a neutral corner while he admonished Lazcano for rabbit
punching. The reprieve extended further as the ref then allowed Hattons corner
to retie his shoe.
After nearly a minute of recovery time, Hatton bounced back
strong to end the tenth.
In the championship rounds Hatton simply outclassed Lazcano
with his superior hand speed. Lazcano found his reaction time too slow to avoid
Hatton charges and he became susceptible to right hand leads which Hatton used
to close out the bout.
Final scorecards for the contest were 120-110, 118-110, and
120-108 all for Hatton.
Hatton did well in his comeback bout. There was a lot less
clinching, and he showed flashes of the quick combinations to the body that
made him the talk of the boxing world in 2005.
However, some of the same glaring problems remained. As with
his past bouts, Hatton began to falter down the stretch, becoming sloppier in
the second half of the bout and getting clocked with counters as a result. The
lack of head movement which has plagued him at the higher level is still
Also, Hatton abandoned his jab in the second half of the
bout and relied solely on leaping hooks and straights to get him inside (which
in December resulted in Mayweather introducing him into a turnbuckle).
At this stage, its unlikely that Hatton can do much to
drastically alter his style. And luckily, his next likely opponent (Malignaggi)
doesnt have the power or punching accuracy to make him pay for his
Malignaggi Escapes NDou in Rematch
After receiving with a dubious unanimous decision against Herman
Ngoudjo, Paulie Malignaggi had the task of looking good on the Hatton undercard
to set up a 140 showdown to unify the IBF and Ring linear title.
Unfortunately tough veteran Lovemore NDou (46-10-1, 31 KOs)
had other ideas, and Malignaggi (25-1, 5 KOs) barely escaped with a split decision
win in a bout marred by mauling and Paulies weave dreadlocks.
Seeking to add some pageantry to his entrance and bout,
Malignaggi donned a Rey Mysterio type mask and dreadlock extensions. The weave
proved disastrous in the first round as NDou jarred Malignaggi with two
counter rights off the Brooklynites jab. The hair flopped all over Paulies face,
and likely prevented him from seeing the shots coming.
After getting the extensions tapped, Malignaggi boxed well
in rounds two through four, where his sharp jab kept NDou at bay and forced
the challenger to try and match boxing skills with a naturally quicker
opponent. Here Malignaggi was able to maintain a work rate edge and counter
NDou with left hooks and straight rights whenever the challenger would attempt
to barge forward.
In round five, NDou rediscovered the timing for his overhand
shots. Due to his jab becoming lazy, Malignaggi found himself on the receiving
end of thudding left and right hook counters.
NDou carried the momentum shift into round six. It now
became noticeable that while Malignaggi had the edge in volume (mostly due to
his jab), NDou was landing the harder, more punishing shots.
Round seven saw the Magic Man attempt to get back in the
fight behind shoeshine flurries. Undeterred, NDou stalked the champion and
once again landed hard right hook counters to secure the round.
As Malignaggis hair again became unraveled in the eighth,
NDou now began to out-jab Malignaggi, The champion seemed reluctant to throw
and spent the majority of the round backpedaling.
Feeling the urgency Malignaggi became aggressive in the
tenth, bullying NDou to the ropes and rediscovering his jab from the earlier
rounds. Here Malignaggi was successful in keeping NDou off balance with
movement and avoiding overhand counters to his flurries.
The championship rounds featured lots of mauling from both
men. Malignaggi kept his edge in punch volume, while NDou caught attention
with his harder but isolated single shots.
Final scorecards read 114-115, 116-112, and 116-113 for
Malignaggi in a split decision win. Afterward, Malignaggi revealed he hurt his
hand in the sixth which completely threw off his game plan.
The win sets up a showdown with Ricky Hatton for the fall,
in which Malignaggi will be a decisive underdog. For all his faults, Hatton is
exceptional in cutting off the ring with his foot speed. Even Floyd Mayweather
was forced to take the fight inside after Hattons speed prevented outside
potshotting in the early rounds. Malignaggi wont have any space to work his
jab, and unlike Mayweather, the Magic Man is woeful on the inside. In those
trenches Hatton will have a field day.
Despite this possibility, Malignaggi has earned his shot by
facing and winning against tough competition. Hopefully Paulie and Ricky will
settle matters by years end.
Aaron Williams Upset on ESPN Friday Night Fights
In a shocking turn of events, formerly undefeated
cruiserweight Aaron Williams (17-1-1,
12 KOs) was stopped by unheralded Jose Luis
Herrera (16-4, 16 KOs) this past Friday.
An obvious showcase bout, Williams sought to do just that by
blitzing Herrara in the first with straights and hooks. Herrera seemed on the
verge of being counted out after being dropped in the corner by a hard right.
Slowly rising, Herrera inadvertently saved himself after his clinching attempt
resulted in both fighters losing their balance and crashing to the canvas.
Afterward, the referee allowed the ringside doctor to examine Herrera which
brought him more time and resulted in the Columbian escaping the round.
In rounds two through four, Williams inexplicably stopped
pressing his attack. Instead, the promising prospect was content to wait on
Herrera while keeping his left hand dangerously low. Wary of getting caught
again, Herrera kept his distance and made sure he didnt give Williams
In the fifth, Herrera crashed home a right hand bomb to
Williams temple. Hurt badly, Williams retreated as Herrera flailed after him.
Another right hand spun Williams into the ropes and scored a knockdown.
Bravely rising after the mandatory eight, Williams still had
not recovered from the first huge right. With Herrera right back on him
swinging for the fences, Williams quickly took a knee without being hit rather
than take another right that would likely have ended matters.
However, the ringside doctor came to the apron to view
Williams. After checking his eyes, the doctor decided Williams was in no
condition to continue, and on his advice the bout was stopped with 1:58 remaining.
The abrupt ending is a disappointing outing for Williams,
who could have made a huge statement in the now wide open cruiserweight
division. With many of the marquee names in the division coming off losses (Bell, Maccarinelli,
Mormeck) or leaving (Haye), this fight marks a missed opportunity for the young
But at 22-years-old, all is not lost – and hopefully
Williams uses this fight as a strong learning experience.
Throwback Fighter of the Week: Aaron Pryor
Arguably the greatest fighter of the light welterweight
division, The Hawk Aaron Pryor ran roughshod over all those who opposed him
in the early 80s.
After turning pro in 1976, Pryor went on to win 26 fights in
a row by knockout. He won his first title against aging legend Antonio Cervantes
His most well known bouts are his two entertaining but
lopsided knockout wins over Alexis Arguello. The first fight was marred in
controversy due to Pryors trainer Panama Lewis giving him a black bottle
before round 14. What was in that bottle was never disclosed, and a urine test
was not done after the bout. Pryor erased all doubts by defeating Arguello
emphatically in the rematch.
Later Pryors career suffered from drug abuse and eye
problems. After two retirements Pryor finally hung up the gloves in 1990 with a
final record 39-1, 35 KOs. Pryor was elected
to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, and now serves as a pastor in