Boxing: Time for Hatton to fight back to reality

Forget 55,000 people, forget the millions made and forget the 43 wins because tonight at the City of Manchester Stadium Ricky Hatton is fighting for something far more elusive than the facts and figures that so neatly explain the boxing business.

Last December Hatton was left exposed, bloody and dazed on the canvas in Las Vegas by the furious fists of Floyd Mayweather and tonight's return to the ring against Mexican veteran Juan Lazcano is about finding out just how much it hurt Hatton.

Bruises fade and cuts heal but men like Hatton, dedicated and devoted practitioners in the fight game, often struggle to find their true form after shocking defeats, which have turned into lost causes long before the painful end. In the ring against Mayweather there was simply nothing that he could do to bridge the gap in class and instead of using his brain to find a passage, Hatton used his heart and exposed himself to a vicious beating. At the time he wept in frustration at this mistake and not in pain.

In the emotional hours after the first loss in his glittering career, Hatton and the men and women supporting his every move seemed resigned to the calamity and their appraisal of the disaster was painfully honest. Sadly, there is a new interpretation of the fight and it is in my opinion at odds with the reality of a night when Hatton simply got it all wrong and boxed the perfect fight to get knocked out.

Hatton is arguably the sport of boxing's biggest attraction and that is why fights in Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden, the Millennium Stadium and Wembley are being talked about in bold terms with £10m, £20m and even £30m being named as the bounty. The kid from Manchester who still likes a curry, a pint and a karaoke in a local boozer is a major player and if he is matched with any of the sport's other stars the figures could break all box-office records. Last year over 40,000 British fans traipsed out in glory with their pockets bulging for Hatton's three fights in Las Vegas.

Tonight, however, as I mentioned earlier is not about figures, which is a pity because they are impressive. The show sold out in two weeks and 44,000 tickets went on the first morning and, trust me, Lazcano had absolutely nothing to do with a single sale. It is the Ricky Hatton show and that is why the Americans – Oscar de la Hoya and his partner Richard Schaeffer – are in town to keep an eye on the fighter and their future partner in the promotional business.

Lazcano, a Mexican who has mixed in decent company, will only become a danger if Hatton has little left and displays his faults like a shot fighter. The interest is in the method of Hatton's victory and I want to see how he responds if cut, how he responds if Lazcano starts to use his elbows and forearms or simply refuses to fold and fall over. I want an assurance that Hatton has not been scarred forever by the loss.

Hatton blames the referee for his defeat last year and Mayweather's dirty tactics, and I get the impression that every time Hatton sits down to watch a DVD of the fight he gets up truly believing that he was robbed or jobbed. It probably does not help that the men and women watching with him are unlikely to sit back and contradict his interpretation. It is not just Hatton reinventing the fight and its outcome because back in March, Schaeffer, who runs Golden Boy Promotions with De La Hoya, declared at a press conference in London that Hatton was winning after six rounds which he most certainly was not. Having the most fans, the biggest heart and charging forward does not a victory make.

This time last year I would be happily predicting a Hatton win inside 10 rounds but that was before the night of horrors in Las Vegas. Hatton has to think his way to victory by using his head and feet and not lunge like a maniac. Lazcano has not fought in 15 months and will be rusty, and that should leave him tentative early on as he attempts to balance his distance and timing. There is a chance that Hatton, urged on by the his devoted flock, could end it quickly with Lazcano's inactivity complimenting Hatton's short hooks.

It is in many ways the most important fight of Hatton's career and suggestions that it will be an easy win miss the truth lurking behind the sold-out venue and the bright expectations of a lucrative future. This is a fight to find out what Hatton really has left inside; it is a measure of his heart and his ability to recover from defeat. There is the possibility that he will crash into a previously unknown deficiency and that is what makes tonight's 12-round fight such an attraction.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform