‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd Mayweather is boxing’s undisputed pound-for-pound top fighter at present but the second best fighter around believes he will defy all predictions and cause an upset against the American tomorrow.
It’s the biggest fight of the year and Britain’s Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton was becoming more confident this week the nearer the WBC welterweight title showdown got.
Both are undefeated but somebody’s ‘0’ must go and it looks like the Mancunian’s. Hatton is 43-0 and faces Mayweather at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Hatton believes he has the formula to win, inspired by the fact that Mexican Jose Luis Castillo, who lost a disputed decision to Mayweather in a WBC lightweight bout in Las Vegas in April, 2002, almost snatched victory.
Hatton, 29, knocked Castillo out in four rounds in his most recent bout, in June. Castillo pressured Mayweather throughout the 12 rounds of their contest and several ringside observers felt he deserved victory.
Hatton believes that the weaknesses Mayweather – who is 38-0 – showed that night play to his strengths, and that everything Castillo did, he can do better. But very few give the Brit a chance against the 30-year-old champion whose last bout was a comprehensive points win over this fight’s promoter, Osca De La Hoya, in May.
Cayman’s boxing fraternity is unanimous on the outcome. Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker is the WBO NABO light-middleweight champion. He said: ‘I don’t see any other winner but Mayweather. Hatton can only win if the ref (Joe Cortez) holds Floyd’s hands behind his back. Hatton’s a good fighter but Mayweather’s got too much skill and speed. His hand-to-eye coordination is exceptional, it’s a God given talent. Hatton is a fine fighter but he has no chance and could be knocked out.’
Stanley Walton is the owner of Jillian’s sports bar and restaurant in George Town where the fight will be shown on plasma TVs. An avid boxing fan, he is confident of a Mayweather victory. ‘Floyd has shown he has great endurance, speed and stamina. Hatton cannot overcome his speed. Yes, Hatton has strength but he’ll have to knock Mayweather out to win. But Floyd has never been even remotely near getting knocked out.’
Nayon ‘Donie’ Anglin feels Mayweather is a certainty too and because of Hatton’s history of getting cut thinks the Hitman is going to lose that way. ‘Mayweather uses a lot of lateral movement and will handle him easily. I think Floyd will open cuts around his eyes and win around the seventh.’
Maurice Hope was the WBC light-middleweight champion in the early Eighties. The Antiguan sees an easy win for Mayweather. ‘I think he’ll win by eighth or ninth round stoppage. Hatton is a good fighter but he suits Mayweather’s style. Floyd doesn’t waste any punches, they’re too precise. The ref will have to intervene. Hatton’s body punching is his only chance but then Mayweather is not going to stand around. I expect Mayweather to retire after winning and go out at the top.’