Saturday, December 8, 2007

mayweather hatton

Floyd Mayweather is a 12-5 favorite to defeat Ricky Hatton in this battle of unbeatens that will take place Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The stakes for this fight go far beyond Mayweather's WBC welterweight title. They include:

1. The pristine nature of their records. Mayweather is 38-0 with 24 knockouts while Hatton is 43-0 with 31 KOs. That means they have a combined record of 81-0 with 55 knockouts, and, as Michael Spinks famously declared before his showdown with Mike Tyson in 1988, "Someone's '0' has got to go."

2. Their place in the pound-for-pound rankings. Mayweather was elevated to the top of most lists following his spectacular knockout of Arturo Gatti and Bernard Hopkins' first defeat to Jermain Taylor, and while a good argument can be made for Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather still reigns supreme. As for Hatton, he occupies a spot in the middle to lower portions of most top 10s, but a victory over the king of the mountain would vault him dramatically upward.

3. Their historical standing. Mayweather has won portions of titles in five weight classes and is currently the Ring welterweight champion while Hatton is a two-division champion (including two reigns at 140) and Ring's junior welterweight titlist. Mayweather could further cement his legacy with a dominant victory over Hatton while a Hatton victory could make the Mancurian an unquestioned superstar on this side of the Atlantic.
Those who argue that Mayweather is boxing's best all-around fighter point to his dominance over his opposition. Few fighters have ever been as statistically superior to his opponents than Mayweather, who rarely loses rounds, much less fights. A recent CompuBox analysis determined that the "Pretty Boy" leads the sport in "plus-minus" rating ― and not by a little. The "plus-minus" is the difference between a fighter's average connect percentage and that of his opponents, and Mayweather's plus-30 (46 percent to 16 percent) is seven percentage points ahead of his closest competition, Juan Diaz, who owns a plus-23.

Mayweather's rating compares favorably to the prime Roy Jones (plus-23) and Pernell Whitaker (plus-16). For the record, Hatton's rating is a plus-five (34 percent to 29 percent), which is tied for 16th with Jones, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Numbers often confirm what each fighter must do in order to give himself the best chance of success. For Mayweather, his plan consists of blunting Hatton's pressure, limit his opponent's offense and use his hand speed to build an insurmountable lead on the scorecards.


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Mayweather's past proves that he can effectively deal with a full-frontal assault. On Nov. 10, 2001, Mayweather defended his WBC super featherweight crown for the final time against Mexican whirlwind Jesus Chavez. Chavez did not allow Mayweather's slickness to deter him as he unleashed an average of 103 punches per round, 66 of which were power punches.

On the positive side, Mayweather was forced to pick up his work rate slightly as he threw 51 punches per round as opposed to his 48 against Genaro Hernandez, Carlos Hernandez, Angel Manfredy and Goyo Vargas. But Chavez was unable to make his 925 punches count as he landed just 182 of them (20 percent) while Mayweather's accurate fists continually caught Chavez coming in, landing 197 of 456 total punches (43 percent) and a searing 51 percent of his power punches (163 of 317).

In his rematch with Jose Luis Castillo, Mayweather used his defensive skills and marksmanship to keep Castillo's offense at bay. The Mexican only managed to throw 50 punches per round and land 11 of them for 23 percent accuracy and connect on 24 percent of his 427 power shots. Meanwhile, Mayweather was effective and efficient as he landed 41 percent of his 33 punches per round overall and 45 percent of his 14 power attempts.

As Mayweather rose in weight, he remained boxing's version of Princeton's slow-down offense in college basketball. In his most recent outing against WBC super welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya this past May 5, Mayweather curbed "The Golden Boy's" output like few fighters ever have. Mayweather limited De La Hoya to 21 percent accuracy overall (122 of 587, an average of 49 punches thrown and 10 landed), 16 percent on his usually vaunted jab (40 of 246) and 24 percent of his power punches (82 of 341).

Meanwhile, Mayweather got a lot of work done with his 40 punches per round as he landed 207 of 481 blows overall (43 percent), 69 of his 240 jabs (29 percent) and 138 of 241 power punches (a scintillating 57 percent). Mayweather topped 60 percent efficiency in his power punches in five rounds and peaked at 78 percent and 82 percent in rounds two and three respectively.

Unlike the De La Hoya fight, Mayweather enters the fight as the bigger man. At 5-foot-8 he stands two inches taller and his 72-inch reach is a full seven inches longer, so he has the physical equipment and know-how to control the flow of the fight. It would also help Mayweather's cause if Hatton repeats the form he showed in his one previous welterweight bout against Luis Collazo on May 13, 2006.

Though he registered a knockdown in the first minute, the slick southpaw Collazo held his own and had Hatton holding on in the final round before losing a close but unanimous decision. In that fight Hatton outlanded Collazo by a slim 259-213 (less than four punches more per round) overall, and landed just five of his 104 attempted jabs. Hatton outlanded Collazo 254-167 in power punches, but aside from the flash knockdown Hatton's punches lacked the heft of his days at 140.

For Hatton to win he must not only follow, but add on to, the blueprint Jose Luis Castillo used to give Mayweather his toughest night as a pro. On April 20, 2002 most observers believed that the defending WBC lightweight champ deserved the nod against Mayweather and the numbers bear that out. The 5-to-1 underdog outlanded "The Pretty Boy" 203-157 in total punches, including a hefty 173-66 edge in connected power punches, many of which targeted the body.

Castillo, who on this night landed more punches against Mayweather than any other opponent tracked by CompuBox, got stronger as the fight went on as he out-connected Mayweather in each of the final eight rounds. Castillo averaged 42 total punches thrown in the round to Mayweather's 37, but the real key was his 46 percent accuracy in power punches.

Hatton has already proven that he can impose his smothering style against a Hall of Fame caliber fighter. On June 4, 2005 in Manchester, Hatton squared off against Kostya Tszyu, who at 35 was chronologically past his best days but was still considered a favorite against the hometown hero.

Though their numbers were remarkably similar (200 of 647 for Hatton overall and 200 of 619 for Tszyu and a 172-162 connect edge for Hatton in power punches) it was Hatton's consistently escalating pressure that proved to be the difference. Fueled by an adoring, singing throng, Hatton belabored Tszyu with withering shots to the body and head as well as energy-sapping roughhousing maneuvers to suck the energy out of the Russian-Australian. An exhausted Tszyu and a compassionate Johnny Lewis chose to halt the contest before the start of the final round.

"The Mad Hatter" couldn't have had a better lead-in to a career-defining fight as he did on June 23 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. There he used a scathing hook to the liver to leave Jose Luis Castillo a pain-wracked wreck after less than four rounds of action. Hatton outlanded Castillo in every round, with his advantage being most pronounced in the power punch category. There, he out-connected Castillo 38-18 in the first two rounds and 76-47 overall. Hatton's work-rate, usually in the low 50s, was at 58 in the first three rounds and he topped 20 connects in each stanza. But it was that final hook that told the world that he was ready for "The Pretty Boy."

Who will remain "Undefeated" after Dec. 8? The career numbers are similar. Mayweather is an 11-year pro while Hatton has 10 years of service.

Mayweather has fought 265 rounds while Hatton amassed 240. Mayweather has four first-round knockouts (none since seventh pro fight) while Hatton has five (none since his ninth fight). Mayweather's longest inactive period was 244 days (from May 2004 to January 2005) while Hatton's was 251 days (May 2006 to January 2007). But their styles couldn't be more different, and that's why this is such an interesting fight.

"The Hit Man" must turn up the heat and keep it high throughout the fight. Zab Judah troubled Mayweather in the first four rounds by fighting his fight and not letting Mayweather dictating the terms of battle, and he ended up losing it ― both strategically and emotionally ― because he couldn't sustain it. Hatton needs to get in Mayweather's chest, push him up against the ropes and pound away at every available target, whether it be arms, torso or ribs. His thousands of raucous supporters will do its best to keep Hatton's spirits high ― and perhaps sway the judges to give him the close rounds.

24 KOs) will defend his WBC and Ring Magazine welterweight titles against the son of Manchester, Hatton "The Hitman" Hatton (43-0, 31 KOs).

Two young fighters in their prime. Two undefeated pound-for-pound champions. Two of the most popular fighters in the sport. The best junior welterweight facing the best welterweight. It's no mystery why the fight is generating so much buzz.
The staff members of BoxingScene comes together to voice their opinions, strategies and predictions for the big fight.

Michael Katz: It's more than just my admiration for pub crawlers. Hatton has the style, and quick feet, to give Mayweather his toughest test to date. Indeed, the Englishman does have a chance to win ― and don't let anglophobes tell you differently.

But all I'm afraid Hatton is going to do is bring out the best in Mayweather and Mayweather will win an unexpectedly spectacular fight ― by points, unless Hatton's face gives out late.

Mitch Abramson: I could base my prediction on HBO's "24/7," but then I would have the fight a draw. Neither fighter distinguished himself in the series, nor did the series distinguish itself to viewers.

In the ring, Mayweather should be too elusive, too accurate with his counters, while Hatton gamely follows him around. I would like to see Hatton win. I think it's better for boxing, but Mayweather is still in his prime, and a prime Mayweather should win on cuts by round ten.

Patrick Kehoe: Mayweather Jr. at the height of his powers, sitting as WBC welterweight champion should not lose to Hatton. Focused, powerful and looking to make it a brutal inside war though Hatton may, Mayweather has seen and felt and over come it all before in the ring and that includes pressure and power and speed and injury and the derision of the crowd.

And yet... What if Mayweather has to resort to flicking and fleeing to gain a technical advantage and run toward the finish line? What will he have lost in winning?

After all, Hatton's the smaller guy ― junior welterweight king looking for HBO pay-per-view gold ― statistically speaking, and according to "Pretty Boy" himself, about on the technical level of one of his sparring partners. A taunt it was designed to be; still, could it prove be Mayweather who will feel the pressure to prove his boasts, to engage in meaningful exchanges with Hatton on the inside? Of course, then he moves nearer Hatton's power game. And that's not taking into account Hatton being able to force Mayweather into a prolonged struggle with his own quality.

Can the welterweight champion's ego handle being tagged as Mayrunner, the guy who had to run from little Manchester Hatton? Or does this become Ali-Frazier I in miniature?

Looks like there might be fireworks any way you look at it.

Tim Smith: Mayweather by decision. Speed is the key factor in this fight. Mayweather's got speed to burn, but I'm not sure that Hatton, even leaping forward, has enough quickness to catch Mayweather with enough shots to do any damage

Lem Satterfield: Mayweather by decision, or late-round stoppage on cuts. He could get caught, go down, but he'll get up.

Bob Canobbio/CompuBox: Mayweather by unanimous decision as he rallies to win late rounds.


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TK Stewart: The eloquent Larry Merchant once said, "There ain't a horse that can't be rode or a rider that can't be throwed." And that's something that I choose to remember at times like this when a guy like Mayweather appears to be unbeatable to everyone. But boxing history tells us that just when a guy is perceived to be flying higher than all of the rest, is when he often spirals down in flames. Don't believe me? Ask Joe Frazier or George Foreman or Mike Tyson.

Hatton is a helluva fighter and he has a style that will present Mayweather with some problems. Remember that a "34-year-old, one handed, part-time fighter" (Leonard Ellerbe's words to describe Oscar De La Hoya) pushed the great Mayweather all the way to a split-decision. Hatton is quicker, faster, stronger and is better on his feet than De La Hoya was by the time he fought Mayweather. Mayweather has been fighting a collection of old men and what he calls "C-level" fighters for a while now.

Like Joe Calzaghe, Hatton is better than the majority of the American press seems to think.

So, I like Hatton to be more active and land the harder punches and to win the fight by a close decision.

JE Grant: On its face this matchup should thrill boxing fans everywhere. Two talented, undefeated fighters who've won real world championships (as well as a few bogus belts) and two men who have convincingly defeated top fighters in doing so. The central difference is that one of the men, Mayweather, is a mega-talent in almost every facet of the game, while his opponent, Hatton, is a clear notch below him on the ability scale.

Mayweather has a proven chin, radar-like defense, and adequate power as a welterweight. Hatton is a killer at 140 but at 147 his vaunted body punching is simply above-average. Mayweather will likely out-speed, out-maneuver, and generally out-perform Hatton in every department.

No one will walk-over Hatton and he will pressure Mayweather throughout. He is willing to go all out with complete abandon and that gives him a slight chance. Very slight. Expect Mayweather to contently dominate round after round as Hatton is frustrated in his attempted bull rushes.

A truly great fighter beats a truly good fighter. Mayweather by 12-round decision.

David P. Greisman: The strategy rarely calls for attempting to out-box Mayweather. Rather, the idea is to pressure, to pump of the volume, to force "Pretty Boy Mayweather" to get down and dirty.

For Hatton, that might not be the best idea. Then again, against Mayweather, has anyone of late shown there to be a best idea?

Although Mayweather's walk-around weight is much less than that of the Mancunian Mauler, the current pound-for-pound claimant has adjusted well to welterweight, bringing to the table a good mix of speed and strength. He won't weigh the most, but he could look like the bigger man against Hatton, and it would not surprise to see him be better as well.

Not that Hatton won't try. This is the biggest fight of his career, and he's bound to look better at 147 than he did in his previous appearance at that weight, a win against Luis Collazo. Hatton has but one choice ― to make it a fight, forcing himself to adjust to Mayweather's footwork and hand-speed, and exposing his tender skin to Mayweather's sharp punching.

Expect blood. Expect back-and-forth shifts in momentum. And expect most of the rounds to go to Mayweather, with the win coming by way of unanimous decision.

Jake Donovan: My usual reaction to a Mayweather PPV fight is "Mayweather by decision." For this fight, I believe Mayweather will go beyond the status quo, forced to stand his ground after Hatton gives him all sorts of hell early.

The first half of the fight will be competitve. The second half, not so much. Hatton's stamina issues become apparent after Mayweather finds a way to neutralize the "Hook-N-Hold." Mayweather ditches pot-shotting, and slices Hatton apart en route to a cuts stoppage in a fight that will not quite match the hype (it'd have to be Fight of the Year to do that), but nevertheless proves to be entertaining.

Mayweather TKO in 11.

Cliff Rold: Hatton brings two things to the table that give him a good chance: deceptively fast feet and the ability to use his short arms to throw compact shots. Mayweather isn't going to have to look to land on Hatton, but Hatton has shown a solid chin in the past and looks to be in fantastic shape. Combine that with his tenacity and work rate and he's likely to land more against Mayweather than any of his previous foes.

Can Hatton land enough to win is the big question, caveated by the question of whether Mayweather would lose a decision at all given his current economic strength and relative home field advantage. I suspect not, though I give Hatton a great chance.

If not for the epic foolishness I felt in watching my pick of Carlos Baldomir over Mayweather evaporate like a raindrop on the sun, I might be prone to pick the upset. Instead, I'm staying safe and going with Mayweather by narrow, perhaps even controversial majority decision in a fight that has the world screaming rematch. Don't be surprised by a violently argued draw either.

Dave Sholler: It's easy to get caught up in the pizzazz surrounding this fight, but in the end, the bout is about the basics. Hatton is a durable fighter who likes to work on the inside and impose his will on the opposition with thunderous body shots. While he isn't the smoothest technician, Hatton has found success doing the little things, like body work, well.

Hatton's opponent, Mayweather Jr., is by far the most complete athlete in the sport. His patented shoulder movements make hitting him nearly impossible and his lightning quick combinations complement his underrated offensive prowess.

To keep things short and sweet, Hatton needs to do work on the body to be successful against Mayweather. He needs to pummel the Pretty Boy's core in hopes that he drops his hands and exposes his million-dollar smile. Unfortunately, the task is easier said than done. Come fight night, Mayweather will keep Hatton at the end of his jab and land bombs when the Brit tries to move in for body shots. It should be more appealing than Mayweather-De La Hoya, but in the end, the king keeps his throne.

Money Mayweather by unanimous decision.

Paul Gallegos: As much as I hate to bet against Mayweather and the track meet, I feel that Hatton will be on his game and somehow catch Mayweather with powerful body shots to slow him down.

Hatton via stoppage in nine.

"JC" Casarez: Expect Hatton to fight every second of every round while making it rough on the inside for Mayweather. This will be very similar to the first Castillo fight with the difference being Hatton's quick feet and his relentless pressure. Mayweather will have his share of moments but I feel the judges will look at El Hatton's activity as the deciding factor in the close rounds giving Hatton the win.

Hatton by split-decision.

Alphonso Costello: Hatton's punch and clutch will put John Ruiz's jab and grab style to shame. He will slow Mayweather Jr. down by making him waltz instead of doing the running man. Nevertheless, Mayweather tangos his way to victory thanks to the help of his Argentine sparring partner Carlos Baldomir.

Ronnie Nathanielsz: Hatton is another brave Brit but he's going to find out that he needs much more than a fighting heart ― although that helps ― to beat such a classy fighter as Mayweather.

Mayweather is the complete package ― he's got quickness, tremendous defensive skills and, believe me, he may want to cement his place as No. 1 in the pound-for-pound list and let his hands go. If that happens it will be lights out for Hatton.

It should be an exciting fight while it lasts and a great way to end a great year in boxing.

Larry Tornambe: Mayweather has never seen the kind of pressure Hatton will bring to the ring on Saturday. Hatton will not be able to land anything cleanly to earn an edge in the fight. Mayweather's hand speed will get him out of certain trouble and lead him to a decision win.

John Hively Mayweather by decision in a close fight. This could be Mayweather's toughest fight since the first Castillo battle. I think Hatton has a good shot at this if he can apply the pressure continuously and throw the left hooks to the head after throwing his right, preferably straight rights.

When opponents have thrown the straight right, on occasion, Mayweather has tilted his head to the right, resting his right cheek on his right shoulder, hands too low to protect his face and jaw. When he's done this, he's been wide open for the left hook.

In the overall scheme of things, however, Mayweather has too many skills for Hatton, but we may be able to see how rugged he really is. Will he fade under Hatton's pressure? Maybe, but by then his lead will most likely, but not necessarily, be insurmountable. Hatton has a good shot at winning.

Don Colgan: Mayweather is too fast, too talented and has too many weapons in his arsenal. Mayweather will outclass Hatton from the opening bell. He will outpunch him 2-1 in a bout that will resemble Mayweather-Gatti, except that Hatton is a far more formidable foe and will land from time to time.

An eighth-round TKO win for Mayweather over a brave, battered Hatton, who won't go down yet will absorb a thorough battering.

Dave Wilcox: This might be one of the most one-sided superfights in recent memory. I love Hatton's mentality and toughness, but he is overmatched in this bout. Come to think of it, that seems to be the case for most Mayweather opponents. Good ol' Hatton will do his best but in the end, his face will be a bloody mess. It should be target practice in this one for Pretty boy.

Hatton will have his moments early on to excite his large fan base but he won't be able to keep pace with Mayweather's speed and crisp punching. This one will end on cuts by round 11.

Mayweather by TKO.

Dan Creighton: Mayweather in a big 10th-round knockout.

James Blears: Mayweather enjoys a six-inch-plus reach advantage over Hatton, which will only be significant if Hatton keeps his distance instead of charging in. Rocky Marciano had the shortest reach of any heavyweight champion including Tommy Burns. But his fabulous physical conditioning enabled him to soak up everything Jersey Joe threw at him, until he was able to land his bomb in the unlucky 13th.

With Hatton, it won't be one blockbuster punch. Rather the unrelenting blister of blows he inflicts upon Mayweather throughout what must evolve into a war, rather than a master class of quicksilver boxing.

Mayweather looked pretty forlorn in the closing rounds of his first bruising encounter with Jose Luis Castillo. He also looked quite close to being overwhelmed in the opening rounds by De La Hoya before the golden glitter turned to tarnish, and wore off those aging legs of De La Hoya.

There's no smoke without fire. Rumors have been surfacing about Mayweather's hands. Sure they're brittle, but it's more than that. There's something untoward, and up with them right now. Although Mayweather previously punched through considerable pain to dismantle a game and brave Diego Corrales, his mitts are in considerably worse shape today. At a guess I'd say it's serious tendon or metacarpal problems.

This could be a significant factor as the fight wears on.

Hatton is bursting with power and confidence and he's at his peak. I feel Mayweather is slightly veering towards a downward slope, although he still retains much more than just touches or brush strokes of artistic genius.

Hatton has to work as he's never worked before and avoid getting tagged by razor sharp precision blows as he comes in. He simply mustn't take three punches to get off one of his own.

Mayweather is great. But he's not invincible, and he's beginning to feel the aches and pains passed on by Father Time which poses the greatest threat to his wonderful array of Jove like talents.

I'm convinced Hatton is going to fight Mayweather to a virtual standstill and win a unanimous points victory. But he's going to have to pay quite a price, which will probably involve plenty of lumps, bumps and at least one nasty cut, which will have to be handled astutely.

Carlos Irusta: Mayweather, by points. He's to smart, too fast, more clever and tactical. Hatton is always looking to slug it out, but in his last few bouts, he showed some kind of declination in his rhythm, and Mayweather is too elusive for him.

Amy Green: Not being a fan of Hatton, my prediction is at best, predictable. He hasn't impressed me against Urango, Castillo or Colazzo. And his opponents prior to them are pretty unknown and of uncertain quality, versus Mayweather's.

Mayweather will be able to outsmart and escape Hatton's bursts of ferocity and keep his pound-for-pound title intact at the end of the evening, and Hatton will serve as further proof that the Rolling Stones are still the greatest thing to come from England to the United States.

Ernest Gabion: I am going with the upset of the year and maybe the last few. I really think style-wise Hatton is the type of fighter that could give Mayweather all the issues he can handle. Hatton is quick of foot and hand, is relentless, and shows no intimidation or fear when faced with Mayweather.

For the physical marvel Mayweather is, he hasn't shown the same prowess at 147 he has displayed from 130 to 140. He is a bit slower, far less active, and somewhat less mobile. Hatton has shown he can be the same fighter no matter who they put in front of him and I think this is no different. It's going to be up to Mayweather to adjust to what Hatton is doing not vice versa and I think that is where we will see Mayweather's "0" go.

I like Hatton by unanimous decision.

Sammy Rozenberg: Mayweather by a comfortable decision.

Joe Harrison: Hatton's making a big mistake in facing today's best pound-for-pound boxer, Mayweather. It will be a real battle, with Hatton's high pressure style of boxing making it a difficult evening for Mayweather. On the other hand, Hatton did not look quite as effective when he fought at the welterweight limit against Luis Collazo. Put him in the ring with someone like Mayweather at the welterweight limit, and Hatton's chances of victory are slim to none.

When it comes to boxing, anything can happen, and it is possible for Hatton to pull off the upset. Yes, it is possible, but it will not happen. Expect Hatton to show a lot of heart, but he will be overwhelmed by Mayweather's superior skills.

Mayweather by decision.

Patrick Conner: Mayweather by unanimous decision.

Jaime Estrada: Mayweather by decision. I think he is the more complete fighter.

Bradley Yeh: There are a few assumptions I have made in order to predict this fight; I have assumed that at least the Hatton who fought Tyszu will show up, as anything less probably will not do. I have also assumed that the Mayweather who fought De La Hoya and Gatti or Corrales will also show up. With that foundation laid Mayweather still has advantages all over the place in terms of speed, arm length, evasiveness, possibly (speed/technique assisted) power, corner ability at marquee level, state of mind when the going gets tough (ability to stick to a game plan), experience with quality welterweights, experience with champions in their prime, and the list goes on.

Hatton often launches from a distance, and this will give Mayweather opportunities other Hatton opponents haven't properly capitalized upon yet. Hatton is more clever with his fight plans than some are giving him credit for, and his ability to consistently and powerfully attack from angles created either with foot work or arm placements has paid dividends almost every time he is presented with an opponent he can hit. Mayweather will not be quite so accommodating.

If you believe that the Mayweather who handled the welterweight/light middleweight De La Hoya quite easily will not beat Hatton ― who is still really a light welterweight ― then Hatton is your man, but only by KO in my book. Otherwise, unless you like unconventional betting risks, you must go for the superior athleticism and accomplishments of Mayweather who will almost certainly capitalize on the fact that, for all his strengths, Hatton's game plan is still quite predictable.

While I envy Mayweather's skills and accomplishments, I think it would be great for boxing for Hatton to win, but I am not sure that he will.

Ron Gallegos: Tough fight to gauge: I've been following the shows on the fight and it's difficult to underestimate Hatton. He's a gritty kid who still lives and plays among "his people" at the local pub, the grocery, etc. His manager is from the grit level as well and he seems to have instilled the never-die attitude in Hatton. The kid has no quit in him.

The real question of the fight is whether Mayweather has lost anything. Is he mentally dismissing or "overlooking" Hatton? If so, that would be a mistake. From the training shots of Mayweather, he still appears to be in top condition. So if he's mentally there, his condition will again be top-notch and that's more than enough for anyone in his weight class.

I look for Mayweather to box and frustrate Hatton for the first five rounds, and then he will begin to tattoo him with some power shots that will sway any judges still on the fence in his favor. He should win decisively in a unanimous decision. No knockout here.

Rick Reeno: I don't see anything to make me go with Hatton in this fight. At the same time, the fight will be much tougher than Mayweather thinks. I've always felt Hatton was the kind of fighter who matched up very well for Mayweather's style. I've noticed a pattern with fighters who manage to frustrate and give Mayweather problems. All of them, except Jose Luis Castillo, had one weapon in common: a good jab. Corley, Judah and De La Hoya gave Mayweather fits by using a crisp jab to set up their punches. Hatton's has a mediocre jab, and he won't be able to use it against a fighter like Mayweather, who sports a 72 to 65 edge in reach.

Mayweather, like Roy Jones, has a nasty habit of backing himself into the ropes and allowing his opponent to expend energy by unloading punches. The utilization of that strategy nearly cost him the fight against De La Hoya. Regardless of what Mayweather says, I have a feeling he's going to use the same strategy often and by doing so, the fight will be much closer on the scorecards. Sooner or later, like Roy Jones, this strategy will catch up to him, but not against Hatton.

Mayweather by unanimous decision.

Guest predictions sent to

Iceman John Scully: I know a lot of people have been bringing up all the ways Hatton can and will win this fight. Many have talked about his relentless pressure, his awesome body punching and his will to win to go along with his dogged determination as factors in why they will pick him to defeat Mayweather.

And while I believe Hatton is a warrior and a very determined individual who always comes to fight and is probably much more skilled than most give him credit for I also believe Mayweather is one of those guys, like a Ray Leonard, who has all the tools and gifts at his disposal.

I have actually trained in the gym out in Las Vegas when Mayweather was also training, and while I am sure Hatton works hard in the gym I would find it hard to believe he trains any harder than Mayweather.

I also think Mayweather, like Ali and Leonard before him, is a guy who has the image of a boxer and a personality first, but like those two guys did countless times, I think when the going gets tough Mayweather will respond like a champion. If Hatton thinks he is just going to bully Mayweather with no resistance coming back at him then I think he will be terribly mistaken.

I also think the majority of people that count all the ways Hatton will win this fight also happen to be people who do not personally like Mayweather and their opinions are more wishful thinking than anything.

As much as I think Mayweather is very, very immature in his repeated bragging about how much money he has on HBO's "24/7," as much as I think his friend Leonard Ellerbe talks way too much trash about world-class fighters for a guy who never fought for a living before, and as much as I think Mayweather probably will not be remembered ― for a variety of reasons ― as a true and revered legend of the game so many years after his final fight like Leonard and Ali are now, I do think he is far and away the elite of today and everything in this equation points to his winning Saturday in very convincing performance.

Putting it another way, the night before James Toney and Roy Jones fought out in Las Vegas back in 1994, Jones' lawyer asked me for my honest opinion and I told him this: "James Toney is a very good, maybe even a great fighter, but all the things that make him great will never come into play stylistically against a Roy Jones." Substitute the names Mayweather and Hatton and you have my same prognosis for Saturday.

Las Vegas is under a British invasion as thousands of UK boxing fans have traveled to the city to support Ricky Hatton (43-0, 31KOs) as he challenges WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (38-0, 24KOs) at the MGM Grand on Saturday night.

Prior to both fighters taking the scales, UK fighters John Murray, Jimmy Campbell, Dean Harrison, Lee Meager and Martin Gethin were announced to the crowd by Michael Buffer as they briefly took to the stage. Hundreds of Hatton fans were chanting for Hatton during the entire proceeding.

Buffer told the crowd the amount of money being wagered on Ricky Hatton is the largest in British boxing history. Shane Mosley was then announced to the stage with Juan Manuel Marquez and Bernard Hopkins. The UK fans, obviously fans of Joe Calzaghe, showered the boos on Hopkins. When Oscar De La Hoya was announced, the UK crowd gave him a very big reception and chants of "Oscar" rang out.

Enzo Maccarinelli and Joe Calzaghe then went to the stage to a huge ovation from the crowd. Calzaghe and Hopkins seemed uneasy next to each other, and the two fighters would immediatly showboat to the crowd while trying to upstage one another. The crowd, obviously, gave Hopkins hell with chants of "your next" while Calzaghe raised his arms. Moments later the UK crowd began a loud chant of "Hopkins is a p*ssy." The chant got to the veteran as he tried to get in Calzaghe's face. The fighters began to exchange words as Hopkins was pulled back by the other fighters and staffers on stage. Marco Antonio Barrera got a decent pop when announced to the crowd.

Both fighters were then announced to the crowd, Hatton receiving a monster crowd reaction, while Mayweather received mostly boos. Mayweather took the scales, weighing 147-pounds on the nose. Hatton would come on and weigh-in two-pounds

For Mayweather to win, he must do what he has always done ― slow the tempo, use his defense to induce frustration and land enough eye-catching punches to win rounds and perhaps tear open Hatton's sensitive scar tissue around the eyes. The fact that they will be welterweights wearing 10-ounce gloves as opposed to 140-pounders wearing eight-ouncers will bode well for Mayweather because of the extra padding that will protect his brittle hands while softening the impact of Hatton's punches.

The guess here is that Mayweather will pick and stick his way to a close, but unanimous decision.


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