As far as British Invasions go, HBO was hoping for a Beatles type performance and reception. For Ricky Hatton, it was more of a Dave Clark Five-level performance.
The Hitman started off with a bang, knocking down Luis Collazo in the first round, and the suits and Hatton’s promoters had to be in a state of rampant glee.
He was Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starkey all in one, a dynamic package of diminutive destructiveness, as advertised. But then the opponent regained his legs and his wits, and acted like the spoiler some of the New Yorkers in the know said he was.
By the middle of the fight, the suits and the promoters had to be choosing their scapegoats in their minds as Hatton looked ordinary at times, befuddled at other moments, and barely at all the hyper-energetic dynamo who ground down Kostya Tszyu in 2005.
I don’t profess to be a mind reader, but don’t you suppose those suits had to be plotting the dismissal of some matchmaker or another as the fight progressed?
A freakin’ lefty…
Who the hell chose a freakin’ lefty to be Ricky Hatton’s foil in his formal introduction to the United States’ faction of fight fans?
The suits’ heads must have been in a tizzy as Hatton looked like his legs didn’t agree with the extra poundage he was carrying, as he never got the angles on Collazo as he had in all 40 of his wins. As he repeatedly got grabby like Jawny Ruiz in close. As he rarely jabbed his way in. As he neglected to comprehend that Collazo’s head movement was above average, and the switch to a body-oriented attack was called for.
And their heads, I’m quite certain, didn’t stop spinning until the luck of the Irish, in the personages of judges O’Neill, Gerstell and Driscoll, was made public. 115-112, 115-112, 114-113, were the scores that gave Ricky Hatton his fourth win on American soil. But those scores will not be enough to convince American fight fans who hadn’t before tuned in to see the dervish in action that Hatton is a logical choice to glove up against Mayweather, or Oscar, or even Miguel Cotto. Arturo Gatti, on the other hand, still seems like a good bet.
Gatti isn’t a prohibitive underdog in that fight now, as he would have been had Hatton steamrolled Collazo and the press went to work hyping Hatton as more popular, and with a better left hook, than Jesus.
But against someone without the southpaw stance, and less energy than the Brooklyn welterweight Collazo, Hatton should be just fine, and the momentum of his taking of these shores should proceed as planned.
—The HBO A-Team must be given credit, as none of them were dutiful passengers on the corporate bandwagon hype. Merchant, Lampley and
Merchant all considered the possibility that a ring in Boston wouldn’t be Ellis Island for Hatton.
—That Hatton wouldn’t be in his typical milieu was quickly apparent, as the decibel level in the New Garden wasn’t in the same ballpark as the Manchester Arena. On TV, anyway, it seemed like a dead crowd. Where were all the Manchester flag wavers? Is the economy bad over there?
—Have you ever seen Michael Buffer get salty as he did with that schmuck who stepped in front of him as he was lauding Floyd Patterson? He gave that dude a hearty shove…
—“Only In America” is Don King’s motto. The high-haired dealmaker was in fine form vocally all through the bout. “Americans don’t quit! They fight to the end,” he bellowed before the ten-clang salute to Patterson started. And King was right, wasn’t he? Collazo, save for that first round hiccup and some excess whining to referee John Zablocki, gave a better-than-expected performance.
—Speaking of Zablocki, if I’m not mistaken, I believe he pays the bills working as a prison guard in New England, and his command of the participants and peripheral personnel in the main event was rock solid.
He earned a positive shoutout from Lampley, in this, his second title bout job. Many more should be forthcoming…