Hatton fought an extremely spirited, very intelligent fight, and he stuck to his game plan the *entire* time. I thought he was being trepidacious in the opening rounds, but he revealed later that he was conserving his energy, which he proved to be true by charging forward and taking the fight in the last three rounds. He nullified Kostya’s right hand by not being there when it was thrown – and never once got hit cleanly by it in the entire fight. He stayed on Tszyu’s chest and proved to be possibly more physical than the most physical man in boxing, tying him up before unleashing a punishing barrage of uppercuts and bodyshots. Ricky wouldn’t let Kostya fight dirty, and while the two men had total respect for each other, he showed Tszyu that he was just as willing to defend himself with similar tactics. Tszyu’s accuracy was never there – not because he got old overnight – but because Ricky dictated the pace of the fight and completely imposed his energy and will upon Kostya. Tszyu, as it turned out, couldn’t take the prolonged beating, and was forced to quit before the end of the fight, seeing that there was no way he could win. It was a complete victory punctuated with drama, action, and excitement.
We couldn’t ask for two more honorable, genuine, respectful ambassadors for the sport of boxing. Their behavior leading up to and after the fight was exemplary, and while one true, die-hard champion may be leaving the sport after a thrilling, Hall of Fame career, we now have a very worthy incumbent to permanently take his place and to furnish us with years of excitement and pride. Bring on Mayweather, Harris, Gatti, Cotto – Ricky is ready after all. He always told us so.