Boxing: Hatton must jump credibility queue

It has taken Ricky Hatton more than six years to reach the first real hurdle of his career and tonight, in front of 16,000 people at the MEN Arena in Manchester, he risks everything.

Hatton, 25, is officially the best ticket-seller in British boxing history with an unbeaten record of 33 fights, including 25 stoppages, and 11 successful World Boxing Union light-welterweight wins under his belt, but tonight he meets Ben Tackie, of Ghana, in an extremely difficult fight.

Tackie is world class, fine at the weight, not too old and he has not been stopped, which makes him close to unique as a challenger in Great Britain.

It will be a tremendous test and if Hatton can win he will jump the credibility queue and launch himself head first into an American market that remains unconvinced by British fighters. If Tackie wins, there will be a chorus of cynics claiming that once again an over-protected domestic fighter has predictably fallen short. Hatton is more than an ordinary domestic fighter and tonight he will have to prove that.

"I realise that everything I have achieved so far will go out of the window if I'm beaten but I have been calling for a test for a long time and nobody is happier than me that I finally have a very hard fight,'' Hatton said.

Tackie has lost four times during his nine-year career but every loss has been against a reigning world champion or former world champion and the quartet that managed to defeat him are truly impressive. Tackie survived the distance with all four and that puts extra pressure on Hatton.

If the fight follows the predictable pattern of Hatton's previous encounters against quality fighters, and there have been a few of them, then he will box far more cautiously, and he will need to do so because Tackie will simply not stop coming forward. Hatton can win but it will be difficult, extremely hard and an enormous shock if it does not go 12 rounds.

At the same time that Hatton and Tackie meet in Manchester, Runcorn's Robin Reid, who trains in Manchester and lives in Bolton, will try and win the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super-middleweight title in Nuremberg, Germany, when he fights Sven Ottke.

More than six years ago, Reid won the World Boxing Council title in Milan when he stopped Vincenzo Nardiello to silence nearly 18,000 Milanese fans. He has to pull off an even bigger shock in front of an even bigger crowd as 20,000 are expected for Ottke's latest defence. The German is a truly ugly fighter to watch, but he is technically brilliant and remains, at 36, unbeaten after 32 fights. But surprisingly he has only stopped six opponents and lacks punching power.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Co-Ordinator - FF&E

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Carer / Support Worker plus Bank Support

£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...

Recruitment Genius: Office Furniture Installer / Driver

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Furniture Installer /...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - North West - OTE £40k

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor