When it comes to
top class action, the SKY must show no limits…
I heard the glass-chewingly irritating and familiar tone of how WBU Light-Welter
champion Ricky Hatton’s next opponent was durable and how the young Manchester
slugger would do well to stop him, I winced.
Durable, tough to unhinge, I thought; just like a punchbag.
am inclined to agree with Ricky’s promoter Frank Warren in the regard in that
Aldo Rios is indeed durable. The
Argentinean has yet to be stopped in a record of 34-2 that includes two distance
losses in title fights with Stevie Johnston and Artur Grigorian-on paper a
reasonable choice, one might have thought.
The trouble is, Aldo Rios is a Lightweight.
Those two distance defeats came in the lighter division against fighters
not known for power. Beyond that,
the Rios record is littered with the usual suspects of Argentina’s
lighter-weight local circuit, the Faustino Barrios, Vicor Hugo Paz, Ricardo
Silva, Alberto Sicurella, Fabian Tejeda types that grace the record of almost
every rising pro from the foot of Latin America.
Not bad fighters, true, just ones lacking in the sort of inspirational
quality that one would want on the record of a young man challenging for a
so-called ‘World’ title. While
most would argue, and I would agree, that the WBU carries little real weight in
top-class terms, the fact is, Hatton is being paraded as a champion, so, as
such, his opposition should reflect that status.
other problem with Aldo Rios is that in his 34 wins; he has stopped just 6
opponents. Considering the level
that Aldo generally fights at, this is a telling stat in terms of his power.
It will be argued that he makes up for his lack of bite with an awkward
style, a style that gave the smart boxing Steve Johnston a tricky night back in
1999. I don’t believe the paying
public really want to see their exciting young battler matched with a spoiler
though and with the Light-Welterweight division jam-packed with talent right
now, speaking as a fight fan, I just don’t understand why it was necessary to
plunder a lighter division for a smaller opponent with little power for
Hatton’s next defence.
is no negative critique of Ricky, or indeed his promoter, Frank Warren, but I
feel that it is time for a closer inspection of his opposition since rising to
the grade of ‘World’ champion.
139½ Vince Phillips 140 44-7-1
MEN Arena, Manchester, England W UD 12
may have been a former champion but was just 5-4-1 in his previous 10 bouts and
40 years of age, which when added to the fact Phillips plane had only hit UK
tarmac 2 days prior to the bout and the fact he later tested positive for the
banned stimulant ephrudrine, makes one wonder why Hatton wasn’t able to stop
139½ Joe Hutchinson 138¼ 24-3-2
Telewest Arena, Newcastle, England W KO 4
record had been built largely against losers on the Indianapolis club circuit.
His three previous moves up in class had seen distance defeats to Hector
Camacho, Jr., Arturo Gatti and a one round blowout by Teddy Reid.
Hutchinson fell apart from a glancing body blow.
Stephen Smith 31-1-0
MEN Arena, Manchester, England W DQ 2
was down twice and not nearly robust enough to be tangling with Hatton.
Despite a decent record, Smith had already been stopped, albeit
controversially, at Lightweight and with just 14 stoppages was never likely to
be a real threat. Not a terrible
pairing by any means, but certainly not the stuff of World titles; just imagine,
for a moment, Smith being allowed to tackle Julio Cesar Chavez. Enough said?
Eamonn Magee 23-2-0
MEN Arena, Manchester, England W UD 12
is as tough as it gets in Europe right now and had Hatton floored and wobbled
early on before being outworked. A
good match and Magee was in some world rankings, but truthfully, it was a
glorified British title bout.
139½ Mikhail Krivolapov 139½ 32-2-0
MEN Arena, Manchester, England W TKO 9
Russian had given world rated Oktay Urkal a reasonable test in a 12 rounder, but
despite a good statistical record and inflated world ranking, the Russian was
pretty ordinary and Hatton was able to simply walk right through him.
Krivolapov was a good fight for any rising contender with title
aspirations, but hardly the stuff title challengers are made of.
Justin Rowsell 31-1-2
Wembley Conference Centre, London, England W TKO 2
this Australian battler carried an impressive set of statistics.
More tellingly though, he had been exposed when stopped in six by
Lovemore N’Dou and was little more than a tough brawler with so-so power and
average technique. Has not fought
Freddie Pendleton 47-25-5
Manchester, England W KO 2
Freddy had been losing as often as winning for some time, including KO losses in
three of his previous nine. He has not fought since and was more a
record-padding name than a true threat by 2001.
John Bailey 19-7-2
Manchester, England W TKO 5
‘Mighty Midget’ was nothing more than a tough tank town circuit pro and it
was little short of a disgrace that the brave import was brought in to fight for
a world title. Since losing to
Hatton, Bailey is 1-3 with 2 stoppage defeats.
Jason Rowland 25-1-0
Manchester, England W KO 4
was a talented former British champion with a reputation for fragility.
Even so, he hurt Hatton with a body shot before being bludgeoned to the
canvas. That Rowland had at one
point been deemed a suitable foe for Zab Judah (before pulling out with an
injury) doesn’t make this a special win.
On paper a good match but the result entirely predictable. Rowland
retired recently after never having another fight.
Tony Pep 42-7-1
Wembley, London, England W TKO 4
title winning effort came against the experienced Pep in a gift-style vacant
title fight. The experienced
Canadian was a useful fighter but one who had spent the majority of his career
down at Super-Feather and by this point, way passed his best. He fought just one more time, a loss to a 13-3-0 fighter for
the Canadian Lightweight title.
gives me no pleasure to dissect a fighters record, especially a good guy like
Ricky Hatton, but the bear fact is that if Hatton is to be taken seriously as a
World Champion, he needs to step up in class and do it soon.
those of you Stateside that have yet to see Hatton, he is an exciting slugger
with a penchant for all out attack, fun to watch and a precocious body puncher.
Though I feel he is often guilty of smothering his attacks in his eagerness to
hunt down his opposition, Hatton is good at closing the distance and would
present a handful to the divisions best. Personally,
I don’t feel he is quite good enough to ever-beat Kostya Tsyzu or Zab Judah,
but I would have a lot of pleasure watching him try.
As a traditionalist, I would rather see Hatton go down in a blaze of
glory at top class than have another ten fights with men of the standing of Aldo
is a shrewd promoter and Ricky Hatton a good ticket seller.
Warren wants to protect his investment and from a business standpoint,
that makes sense. My problem is
that I watch boxing to see competitive and exciting match-ups, not to see people
get richer from a nicely marketed product.
I want to hear when Ricky Hatton’s opponents are mentioned are words like
dangerous, explosive, unbeaten, hungry; a threat.
The words I hear far too often are tough, experienced, never been stopped
or that old chestnut, durable.
Hatton is a nice guy and a good fighter, but with the fast burnout factor faced
by men of his style, we need to see him tested and in against the division’s
top flight sooner rather than later.
a more positive note, SKY, who are sometimes criticised for the rarity of the
top class international action that they cover, really served up a tasty treat
on Saturday night when screening the terrific Jesus Chavez-Sirimongkol
Singmmanasak WBC Super-Featherweight title bout.
This really was boxing from the very top draw. The bout featured a superb
blend of styles with the aggressive and compact box fighter Chavez against the
skilful, stiff counter-punching of the Thai.
was never a dull moment, never mind a dull round as the two fought a clinch-free
classic that was as easy on the eye as any bout I have ever seen.
did that little more in most of the rounds but it was never easy and as if the
fight hadn’t been good enough there was high drama in the tenth as Chavez was
clearly hurt from a right after having the champion in trouble with a great left
hook moments earlier. Chavez’s
adopted home town crowd in Austin, Texas, must have had their hearts in mouths
as the Thai battler went all-out and pinned the champion against the ropes
during fierce in-fighting in the last round.
How great it was to see those two proud warriors from such different
cultures fall in to an instant embrace of mutual respect seconds after the final
bell. This bout is my candidate for fight of the year so far and it
makes the hair on the back of my neck stand-up to have the pleasure to write
those that don’t know, Chavez took a unanimous decision and is now the WBC
champion in a bout that all the elements that true world title fights are made
of; a gritty, talented champion against a deserving and dangerous contender, in
a bout of fluctuating fortunes, heart, skill and bravery of the highest order.
Jesus Chavez and Sirimongkol Singmmanasak, I salute you.
just goes to prove that SKY can bring top draw action without the expensive
Lewis, Jones or De La Hoya pay-per-view options or the too frequent lower-level
domestic stuff parading as ‘World’ title fare.
where it is due, well done to SKY for screening a cracking fight.
Now, let’s keep it coming…