As Ricky Hatton prepares for Saturday’s big light-welterweight clash with Paulie Malignaggi, one has to wonder whether he has recovered mentally from his last fighting visit to Las Vegas. He wasn’t at his best in his points victory over Juan Lazcano in Manchester in May and his promoters erred on the side of caution by agreeing to a match up with Paulie ‘Magic’ Malignaggi, rather than pursue a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Both men appear to lack the ability at present to force a stoppage, but you’re best off staying away from the 2/7 Ladbrokes are offering for the fight to go the distance. Hatton (44-1, 33KO) will be looking to prove a point to the MGM Grand audience and to Mayweather’s entourage in particular. Having seen fellow Brit Joe Calzaghe take his seat amongst the greats, Hatton will know he needs a spectacular performance if he is to be given a second shot at greatness.
With this in mind, you might look towards a Hatton victory by KO, TKO or DQ, best price 7/2 at bet365. That said, the longer it goes, the more desperate Hatton will become – he needs to prove a point and prove it in a big way. Malignaggi (24-1, 5KO) by the same method can be had at 12/1 with Ladbrokes, and we think this is the way to go.
In recent times, Hatton has performed well below the standards set out in his past glories against Kostya Tszyu and Vince Phillips. Malignaggi is the up and coming star of the division, evident in a classic bout against Miguel Cotto last year (less so when he featured on Hatton’s undercard in May). He punches fast and moves well, but the question is whether he has the punch to knock out Hatton. There’s no doubt the fast-talking New Yorker believes this is his time to shine, but proof is in the pudding. For all those non-Paulie believers, you can get 1/2 on Betfair to see a knockdown in the fight or 4/5 with Totesport for a Hatton victory on points or technical decision.
For Hatton to come through this, we will need to see the Ricky of old and I for one can’t see it coming. He’s struggled more than ever to make the 140lb weight and his relationship with trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr doesn’t sound altogether rosy judging by individual press remarks by the pair. There’s every chance you will witness the Hitman’s final shots in the early hours of Sunday morning and the end of a glittering career, though in the eyes of many critics, one which fell just short of boxing immortality.