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Hatton's seven best - and worst

By Ben Dirs

Ricky Hatton returns to the scene of his first defeat as a professional boxer when he takes on Paulie Malignaggi at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday.

BBC Sport looks back at the Hitman's best - and worst - bouts as he prepares for what could be a make-or-break fight.

Jonathan Thaxton London, 21/10/1999 - Hatton won by decision

Jonathan Thaxton
Those only familiar with the post-Kostya Tszyu phase of Ricky Hatton's career might be surprised to learn he was engaging in savage brawls long before a world title shot came calling.

Hatton had been virtually untroubled before his clash with Norwich tough guy Thaxton for the British light-welterweight crown, but soon found himself in serious trouble, badly cut within 15 seconds of the opening round.

606: DEBATE
Hatton's cuts man Mick Williamson managed to partially stem the flow and he weathered the early storm - but Thaxton refused to yield.

With both men covered in blood in the later rounds, the referee could quite easily have pulled either man out, but Hatton made it through to take the decision.

Eamonn Magee Manchester, 1/06/2002 - Hatton won by unanimous decision

Eammon Magee (left) loses to Ricky Hatton
Magee had Hatton on the canvas but the tenacious Hitman stuck it out to win
Belfast's Magee was every bit as gnarled as Thaxton and reportedly had his trainer thrash him in the stomach with sticks as part of his training regime.

In the opening round, Magee landed with a chopping right to the head which had Hatton down for the first time in his professional career.

Hatton was quickly on his feet, but Magee landed with another right in round two which left Hatton dazed before opening up a cut on the Hitman's cheek in the fourth.

However, Hatton, as is his way, continued surging forward and ended up winning a unanimous points decision to retain his lightly regarded WBU belt.

Ben Tackie Manchester, 13/17/2003 - Hatton won by unanimous decision

Ben Tackie
Just as some observers were beginning to question whether Hatton had the technical proficiency to challenge for a genuine world title, he came up with perhaps his most polished performance yet.

Ghanaian Tackie had been mixing in top-flight circles for the previous few years, losing on points to undisputed light-welterweight king Tszyu in 2002 and in an IBF eliminator against Sharmba Mitchell a year later.

Hatton, however, boxed him from range, landing consistently with jabs and beating him to the punch.

The Briton won almost every round on the judges' scorecards, leading some to believe he was already ready for a shot at the big time.

Kostya Tszyu Manchester, 04/06/2005 - Hatton won by 11th-round stoppage

Ricky Hatton is victorious against Kostya Tszyu (far left)
Hatton took a huge step-up when he conquered Tszyu (far left)
Russian-Australian Tszyu had held versions of the 140lb world title for 10 years and was still in the upper echelons of most pound-for-pound lists when Hatton stepped up to challenge him.

The 35-year-old Tszyu had the better of the early rounds, countering Hatton with his jab and overhand rights, and appeared to be ahead at the halfway stage.

But Hatton, like a human mulching machine, chewed up Tszyu's attacks and bullied his opponent more and more as the fight wore on, wrestling him on the inside and sapping his energy.

A battered and bruised Tszyu was unable to come out for the 12th and final round - and Hatton had robbed him of his undisputed light-welterweight crown.

Luis Collazo Boston, 13/05/2006 - Hatton won by unanimous decision

Luis Collazo
Following one defence of his IBF light-welterweight belt, Hatton stepped up to 147lb for a crack at WBA title-holder Luis Collazo.

A tricky southpaw who Hatton seemed to have little chance of looking good against, Collazo was a strange choice of opponent for his first major fight on American soil.

Hatton floored the New Yorker in the opening seconds of the fight but after dominating the early stages, Collazo's greater strength began to tell.

Collazo came within a whisker of a knockdown in the final round and many thought Hatton was lucky to win a unanimous decision and become a two-weight world champion.

Floyd Mayweather Las Vegas, 08/12/2007 - Mayweather won by 10th-round stoppage

Floyd Mayweather knocks down Ricky Hatton
Mayweather inflicted Hatton's first ever defeat and then retired
Hatton stepped back down to light-welterweight for his next two fights after beating Collazo, winning ugly against Colombia's Juan Urango before knocking out Mexico's Jose Luis Castillo in four.

But Hatton could not resist a match-up with four-weight world champion and reigning WBC welterweight king Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.

Thousands of Brits made the trip to watch their beloved Hatton at the MGM Grand, with many believing their man would pull off an upset.

But Mayweather, perhaps the finest boxer of the last 10 years, took Hatton to school, soaking up some typically bullish early attacks before cutting down the Englishman in the 10th and inflicting his first defeat as a pro.

Juan Lazcano Manchester, 24/05/2008 - Hatton won by unanimous decision

Juan Lazcano
Hatton moved back down to his favoured light-welterweight for his next fight, against unheralded Mexican Juan Lazcano at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Hatton wore an inflatable "fat suit" for his ring entrance - a nod to those who had been questioning his food and alcohol intake in the lead-up to the fight - and came out firing in the opening rounds.

However, having failed to subdue Lazcano in the first half of the fight, Hatton began to wilt in the later rounds in front of 55,000 screaming fans, a post-World War II British record.

Lazcano wobbled Hatton in rounds eight and 10 and although Hatton won almost every round on the judges' scorecards, there were worrying signs of wear and tear.

see also
Hatton beyond help - Malignaggi
10 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Mayweather Sr will train Hatton
03 Sep 08 |  Boxing
Malignaggi test next for Hatton
29 May 08 |  Boxing
Hatton's powers on the wane
26 May 08 |  Boxing


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