Boxing: Maussa the barrier to Hatton £3m pay day
Saturday 26 November 2005
More than two months of frustration will end at about 10.15 tonight when Ricky Hatton does exactly what he does best as the first bell sounds for his 40th professional fight.
Hatton split with his promoter and one-time friend Frank Warren in early September and tonight's fight at the Sheffield Arena against Carlos Maussa, the current World Boxing Association light-welterweight champion, has been the subject of legal arguments in London and New York for 10 weeks. Seldom has a planned fight attracted so much publicity for all the wrong reasons - most of it being a distraction for Hatton - and still taken place.
Hatton will defend his International Boxing Federation light-welterweight title tonight and challenge for Maussa's bauble in the type of encounter that is increasingly rare, both in Britain and on the international scene. Both boxers have a lot to lose in defeat, but, thankfully, the flipside and glory in victory have made the unification encounter a reality, even if the lawyers tried their best to stop it happening.
Maussa is a strange fighter, with a style that defies definition and a pedigree in the ring that lacks depth, but back in June he beat the highly regarded Vivian Harris to win his WBA title. Maussa was a late, late replacement on that night and possibly caught Harris, usually such a slick and careful operator, by surprise.
Hatton has described Maussa's ugly and ungainly style as a "nightmare", but also acknowledges that the Colombian is heavy-handed and much more difficult to fight than he looks. Maussa would probably have been called "awkward" in the old days and that seems a fair description.
In the Harris fight, Maussa performed most of boxing's conventional moves incorrectly, yet still managed to dominate and win against a boxer with a textbook style. "Maussa fights like he doesn't know what he's doing. His arms and legs are all over the place, but if he starts to find his range he is clearly dangerous,'' Hatton said.
In June Hatton overcame tremendous odds to beat Kostya Tszyu to win the IBF title and finally, after 38 straight wins, including 15 now forgotten defences of his World Boxing Union title, established himself as a real fighter in America. His new standing, and the existence of two superb fighters at his weight in Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather, means he is near to a big fight and a purse of more than $5m (£2.9m) next year. He and Dennis Hobson, his new promoter, knowhow much of a risk it is to fight Maussa, but they also realise that winning the WBA belt would give Hatton an edge at the negotiating table.
Latest in Sport
The muddy truth of the Christmas Truce game
Alexis Sanchez video: Turns out the Arsenal forward is brilliant at playing the piano too
James Milner lives up to 'boring' tag in brilliant Manchester City Christmas video
Premier League: Chelsea vs West Ham match preview
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho: 'He's good looking, speaks five languages, wins everything - it's unfair'
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 Northern Lights in the UK: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...