Glad you didn’t take it seriously.

First, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the loyal Ricky Hatton fans out there for the kind, snappy emails I‘ve received over the past few days after I suggested that Hatton was out of his league against Kostya Tszyu.

I haven’t had this kind of feedback since kindergarten when I claimed Santa Claus was a fraud and the Easter Bunny was not really a rabbit.

For the most part, the messages were well-written, welcomed and rated PG, though there were a few vicious emails from people who couldn’t spell Hatton but knew how to spell s–t head. I had to keep my family away from my computer screen so they wouldn’t pick up any bad words.

Second, I’d like to congratulate Hatton for his win. My hat goes off to the guy. He moves into the top of the heap in the 140-pound division. I didn’t think he had a chance, not because he couldn’t fight, but because he was fighting Kostya Tszyu. Then, when Tszyu didn’t come out for the 12th round, I quickly closed the curtains, bolted the front door and cursed him. I figured roaming bands of Ricky Hatton worshippers were probably forming out on my front yard for a lynching even as I turned the TV off.

Third, I’d like to congratulate all you boxing gurus who apparently know more about the sport than I do. How do I know that? Because you picked Hatton, and when he won, you didn’t waste any time getting back to me, telling me I should choose another line of work. Thanks. I appreciate it. I’m already checking the want ads.

Here’s what some of you had to say:

“Had Ricky Hatton actually lost, your article would have still been pretty despicable,” wrote Christian from the United Kingdom. “To be so dismissive of any professional athlete in that manner is, dare I say it, unprofessional . . . I hope the under-researched lunacy of your ill-conceived predictions haunts you for some time.”

“Well, well,” wrote Neal, also from England. “Humble pie anyone? I’m English through and through, and nothing gives me more joy than reading an article loaded with one man’s blinkered views about boxing.”

“For a boxing journalist, you have a very closed mind,” wrote Damian, another Englishman. “Didn’t it occur to you at all that Hatton was able to beat Kostya Tszyu? Or like the rest of the American press crew, have you just never seen Hatton fight before? I suppose he hasn’t fought in the states yet, and you Americans can be so insular sometimes, that you may be forgiven for only having just found out about him. Whatever the actual reason is, you should hang up your keyboard right now.”

Those were the friendlier emails I received.

Here’s a side note. Friday afternoon before the fight, I attended the Jeff Lacy – Robin Reid press conference announcing their upcoming fight on Aug. 6. Reid, from Cheshire, England, is a former world super middleweight champ. I asked him who he was picking in Saturday‘s fight.

“I don’t think it will even be close,” Reid told me, adding that just because he was from England didn’t mean he was going to pick the English guy. “Kostya Tszyu will win by knockout in the middle rounds. He‘s too big a puncher.”

Maybe Reid should hang up his gloves.

Finally, I’d like to remind you that I never picked on Hatton’s character or made fun of his family or called him an idiot.
 
So how come I feel like I took a worse beating than he did?