Fighting significant downturn, Hatton tries to punch up resume
LAS VEGAS - The last time Ricky Hatton crossed the pond to fight in this boxing capital he was joined by thousands of his countrymen who were still singing his praises even as Floyd Mayweather Jr. was knocking him senseless.
That was just a year ago, but a lot has changed as Hatton returns to the site of his only defeat to try to resurrect his career and regain his stature as one of the top fighters in a 140-pound fight against Paulie Malignaggi (25-1, 5 KOs).
The economy has soured and the dollars aren't so cheap anymore for the British, meaning most of the boisterous fans who packed the MGM Grand Arena for Hatton's showdown with Mayweather will be doing their singing from home. The good news is the ones who do make it shouldn't have trouble finding tickets for a fight that hasn't generated a lot of buzz. With both fighters having suffered losses in their biggest fights and both coming off lackluster performances, it's hard to make a case that tonight's bout will be career-defining for either.
Hatton (44-1, 31 KOs) has the most to lose in the scheduled 12-round bout; indeed, some British writers have suggested that he would be better off retiring than engaging in the brawls that have marked most of his fights. He was stopped in the 10th round by Mayweather last December, then was rocked several times by Juan Lazcano in a fight he won by unanimous decision in May in Manchester, England.
Hatton turned to Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr., to train him after that fight in hopes that he could pick up some defensive skills to go along with a bully style.
"I've not changed my style but Floyd has just adapted and polished it in a few areas," Hatton said. "A lot of people say Father Time is maybe catching up to me, but they'll be writing a different script after this fight."