LAS VEGAS-There’s only one Floyd Mayweather and he proved to be superior over England’s Ricky Hatton with a resounding victory by knockout on Saturday.
The fistic debate is over.
In an arena that seemed to be located in the middle of England, not Las Vegas, the WBC welterweight champion Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) used his calm demeanor, speed and accurate punching to stifle the pressure of the valiant Hatton in front more than 16,500 packed fans at the MGM Grand.
Hatton gave it his all but it wasn’t nearly enough.
“He was the better man tonight,” said Hatton (43-1, 31 KOs) who suffered the first loss of his career. “He’s better than I thought he was.”
A lively first round saw Hatton land a left hook that caught Mayweather off stride and forced him to stumble. Both had their moments with Hatton the aggressor. Hatton’s speed seemed to surprise Mayweather especially the jabs and left hooks.
A big right hand in the second round landed flush on the Englishman’s nose but his pressure and quick feet afforded him time to land inside against Mayweather.
“I took my time fighting on the inside and the outside,” said Mayweather, 30, who was the favorite. “I knew he was trying to rough me up.”
Mayweather caught Hatton in the third round with some slicing punches that opened up a cut over the Brit’s right eye, but he rallied with aggressive punches to the head.
“I was not hurt by the body shots until he cut me in the third round,” said Hatton, 29, whose junior welterweight title was not at stake. “He was better than I thought on the inside with his elbows, shoulders and forearms.”
Both fighters were warned repeatedly for roughhouse tactics by the referee. The British fans were outraged that Hatton was not allowed to fight his normal mugging style as referee Cortez repeatedly separated them.
The fourth round began with Hatton trying to keep Mayweather in the corner but a four-punch combination forced Hatton backward.
Hatton cornered Mayweather in the fifth round and pounded on his back, head and ribs. The Las Vegas fighter tried to rally with 30 seconds left but his attack was smothered.
A punch on the back of Mayweather in the seventh round resulted in referee Joe Cortez taking a point away from Hatton to the displeasure of the boisterous British crowd.
From the eighth round on it was all Mayweather snapping right hands and hard jabs that throttled Hatton continuously. Little by little the grit of the Manchester fighter was being whittled more and more.
A perfect left hook by Mayweather in the 10th round caught Hatton flush and down he went against the corner pad and to the mat. He rose before the count of nine but was met by two more left hooks that snapped his head back. Cortez jumped in between the fighters and Hatton slumped to the floor once again. The fight was over.
“He walked right into the shot,” said Mayweather. “I wanted to show the fans I could punch with power.”
Up until the 10th round the judges had Mayweather far ahead on all three cards 89-81 twice and 88-82.
“I didn’t quite stick to my game plan,” said a smiling Hatton. “He was more clever than I thought.”
Mayweather credited Hatton’s effort and does not plan to fight any more.
“He was my greatest competitor,” Mayweather said of Hatton. “I’m not thinking of fighting anybody else.”
WBO junior featherweight titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon (34-1, 30 KOs) pounded out a 12-round victory with a relentless attack over fellow Mexican Eduardo Escobedo (20-3, 14 KOs). Most experts felt Ponce De Leoln would knock out Escobedo but it never panned out.
“I tried to knock out Escobedo but he was too strong and he has great boxing skills,” said Ponce De Leon, 27, who defended his title for the sixth time. “He hit me with some great shots but I thought I won the fight easily.”
Escobedo, whose last loss was by technical knockout three years ago, was felt to be too weak to withstand powerful punches to every legal and illegal part of the boy.
“I stood tough and withstood his shots,” said Escobedo, 23, who trained in Maywood, California for this fight. “He knows I’m a tough guy.”
Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy used the right hand to knockdown Peter Manfredo who was slightly off-balance in the fourth round to distance himself from the former Contender reality TV star. The super middleweight fight went the full 10 rounds and Manfredo had his moments but Lacy’s strength helped him withstand various counter attacks. The judges scored it 95-94, 96-93, 97-92 for Lacy.
Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry (23-5-2, 11 KOs) proved his first win over Wes Ferguson (17-3-1, 5 KOs) was no fluke when he dropped Mayweather’s fighter with a left hook early on the sixth round. Though he recovered from the first knockdown with one second left in the round Cherry beat Ferguson to the punch with a crackling left hook that knocked out Ferguson for good at 2:59 of the round in a lightweight match up. Ironically,
Cherry was introduced first to the crowd though Ferguson had lost the first fight by decision last June in Florida. No matter, Cherry bombed out Ferguson.
Matthew Hatton, the younger brother of the Manchester duo, simply out-boxed the determined Frankie Santos of Puerto Rico in an eight-round welterweight affair. With sharp combination punching and the ability to keep the fight at his preferred distance,
Hatton easily beat Santos who had his moments. But not enough to win more than one round. The judges scored the fight 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Hatton who drew a loud cheer for his win by the pro-British audience.
Brooklyn’s Daniel “The Golden Child” Jacobs blasted out California’s Jose Hurtado (1-2) in 29 seconds with left hook exchange. His hook beat Hurtado’s and down he went for the count that could have reached 50. Hurtado, who fought three days earlier in San Diego, was not getting up in this middleweight meeting. It was Jacob’s pro debut.
Philadelphia junior welter sensation Danny Garcia battered with Jesus Villareal with a six-punch combination that sent the Texan reeling across the ring for a knockdown.
Referee Drakulich stopped the fight at 2:48 of the second round.
Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo (14-1, 9 KOs) banged Miami’s Andres Ledesma (14-7, 9 KOs) with a crisp four-punch combination at 1:29 of the first round of a featherweight bout. Referee Jay Nady counted to eight with Ledesma unable to rise on shaky legs.
New York’s undefeated Jose Rodriguez (12-0-1, 2 KOs) and Maryland’s once-beaten Ishmail Arvin (14-1-1, 6 KOs) fought on even terms for six junior middleweight rounds. The judges ruled it a majority draw 58-56 for Rodriguez and two judges scoring it 57-57 for a draw. Arvin put on the pressure while Rodriguez had the quicker hands.