This Saturday night live from Boston in a fight broadcast on HBO, Ricky “Hitman” Hatton moves up in weight to challenge Luis Collazo for his WBA welterweight title. Since his destruction of Kostya Tszyu and Carlos Maussa in 2005, expectations have been running high for Hatton, and for good reason, but Collazo’s no slouch, far from it, and Ricky will have to do what he does best – overwhelm his opponent with relentless high-volume punching – which is exactly what he’s coming to America for. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Hatton vs. Collazo.
You have to wonder why Ricky Hatton would bother with the welterweight division. He is so effective and comfortable at 140 that it's a mystery as to why he'd move up seven pounds to a place where he may be physically overmatched. He'll be giving up seven inches in reach and three inches in height to Collazo, who, if he's smart, will box and utilize his natural advantages. Hatton's squat build doesn't appear to translate very well to the new division, and it's more difficult for brawlers who depend on strength and determination – and not speed – to pack on the pounds and fight naturally bigger men. Hatton is a special fighter, so he should get by a Collazo. But, given his physical disadvantages, it sure won't be easy. Hatton by split decision.
Ricky Hatton has passed every test that has been put in front of him. That’s how he got to be 40-0 with 30 knockouts. Fighting a slick southpaw and natural welterweight on his home turf is just one more test that the Englishman is going to pass. Hatton’s vast experience includes a strong 2004, in which he knocked out Ray Oliveira and Michael Stewart, two fighters who had never previously been stopped, and an even stronger 2005, in which he knocked out Kostya Tszyu for the IBF title and Carlos Maussa for the WBA title. Even at a higher weight, his relentless pressure and volume punching will be too much for Luis Collazo, who was stopped in his only loss and owns just twelve knockouts in 26 wins. Hatton overwhelms the WBA welterweight titlist for a middle round stoppage.
Ricky Hatton has KOed much better fighters than Collazo. The Hitman convinced an all-time great like Kostya Tzyu to stay on his stool. Besides, Hatton won 30 of his 40 fights by KO and is still undefeated. He is also used to be the star of a major event, as he sold-out MEN Arena in Manchester many times and that’s a 20,000 seats building. On the other hand, Collazo has beaten only two major opponents (Jose Antonio Rivera and Miguel Angel Gonzalez) and is not used to the big time. I don’t think that he is more motivated because Hatton wants badly to make an impression on the U.S. scene and that’s enough to motivate anybody. Hatton by KO.
Luca De Franco
Like a lot of people, I picked Kosyta Tszyu over Hatton and took a severe verbal beating from a handful of blokes from “over there” when Hatton won. I'm not going to set myself up for that kind of abuse again. Even though he's moving up a weight class and he's fighting over here, I can't see him losing to Collazo. Hatton wins by TKO in the eighth round.
Hatton is in for a very rough night against smooth southpaw with fast hands. An upset is certainly not out of the question. It's probably the way to bet, but I have a feeling Hatton will have home court advantage on HBO and squeak out a decision.
Hatton is the prohibitive favorite to not only win but to win by a knockout. Seeking some major pay-per-view outings, Hatton understands he has to win and win impressively if he's going to establish a 'presence' within the North American sporting industry. That's why he let go of his title belt and has lined up Collazo; presentation and packaging are critical at this juncture for Hatton. Hatton can be cut and he's let his weight soar at times in the last three years, and yet all the incentive he's ever dreamed about stands before the English bomber. If that isn't enough for Hatton to train hard and wreak havoc on Collazo, well, then the Tszyu fight was just the young lion gorging the old lion and not a suggestion of anything like greatness.
A year ago we picked Kostya Tszyu to beat Hatton, but Ricky's going to have to show a lot of slippage before we'll ever bet against him again. The ease with which Jose Rivera handled Terra Garcia last weekend is literally the only thing that gives one pause here, since when they fought a year ago Rivera couldn't put a dent in Collazo, but it's almost impossible to go against Hatton in this one. The promoters appear to be looking at half a house in the new Garden, and at lease half of those figure to be Brits, so it's going to be more of a home game for Ricky than for Collazo. Throw in what he's got on the horizon and it's actually a much more meaningful fight for the putative challenger than for the champion – not that this title is particularly meaningful anyway. And forget the fact that Hatton is moving up in weight. The 7-pound divisional jump gives him a chance to come in closer to his walking-around weight. Even when he had to make 140 he was usually 152 or so by fight time, which is just about what he'll be on Saturday night. Collazo will be game while he lasts, but Hatton will be too much for him. We like the Brit by a mid-round stoppage.
Squeaking by a drained Jose Antonio Rivera and beating a shopworn Miguel Angel Gonalez is enough to make Collazo the WBA welterweight champ. But it doesn't make him a world beater…and only one of those is gonna best Manchester's finest. In fact, the pitbull Hatton may be that much stronger at 147, his fragile skin (now hydrated) less susceptible to cuts. The southpaw Collazo is a cutie and, on paper, looks to frustrate Hatton. By the middle rounds – say the 6th – is when the Brooklynite will wish he was facing The Hitman on paper and not in 3-D. That's when he gets stopped.
Say what you want about Ricky Hatton, the fact remains he's 40-0 and in the last two years has proved he's more than legitimate. I'm not yet convinced by Luis Collazo however. Hatton's in a different league and this difference of class will show midway though the fight. Hatton via KO in round eight.
Moving up against a fairly dangerous opponent like Collazo is pretty brave for Hatton. But it seems to me that he still has enough momentum in his favor to outpoint Collazo over 12 tough rounds.
Hatton’s coming here to wow America – not to win. Collazo fits the profile: good skills, no slouch – a champ…credible. But to most, he’s an opponent to kick off Ricky’s bandwagon I’ve not seen Collazo, but word is: He’s got an educated jab, good legs and some stones. He’ll need all of them – and some pop – to keep from being run over. The fly in the ointment: He’s a southpaw. Eamonn Magee, another portsider, had Ricky doing staggers in the first round with a straight left a few years ago…”Exposed” flashed to mind. But he survived with the W. That’s then. This is now. But you can bet Team
Collazo has eyestrain watching that video. Seeing it is one thing, doing it another. If Collazo’s gritty, as I understand, he may last six. Bring on “Blue Moon”; I’m tired of “Rocky.”
I don't know much about Collazo. One thing I do know however, is that with the exception of his last two title fights, his last ten opponents before that presented an embarrassing combined record of, get ready… 90-91-8 (who cares how many KO's). Meanwhile, the relentless Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton has not been in with an opponent with anywhere close to a .500 record since 1999. That doesn't even matter though. What does matter is that Ricky Hatton is a psychotic maniac in the ring and he will plow through whatever… or whoever is put in front of him. The only opponent I honestly believe can defeat Hatton right now is “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather. I do think it would be a great fight, one in which “Pretty Boy” would not come out so pretty. Hatton would give him trouble through the first six rounds, trouble that he's never been in before, but using his untouchable ring wisdom, Mayweather would figure out the puzzle that is Ricky Hatton. But until that happens, let's focus on the fight at hand. Collazo is not known as a big puncher, but even if he was… it wouldn't matter. Hatton isn't afraid of getting hit considering he isn't the most pleasant looking one in the bunch. I think he's looked in the mirror enough times to know why he isn't called “Pretty Boy.” Hatton wins this one in brutal fashion, TKO in 7.
Collazo does not have the pop to keep the relentless Hitman off his arse. An upset is not in the making. Ricky is on the verge of the big, big time. He's not going to muck it up by looking past Luis. Hatton TKO4.