Mayweather-Hatton Preview

Mayweather-Hatton Preview

Mayweather-Hatton Preview
VegasInsider.com 

Matchup:Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton
Date: Saturday December 8, 2007
Television: HBO PPV
Location: Las Vegas
Division: Mayweather's Ring/WBC welterweight title
Betting line: Floyd Mayweather (-260) Ricky Hatton (+200)
Round Prop: 11 1/2

Age/Experience: First off; its been one exciting year for the sport of boxing and a huge round of applause to boxers Oscar De La Hoya, Kelly Pavlik, Jermain Taylor, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Diaz, Joe Calzaghe and of course Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton. There are others out there that I’m forgetting to mention, but 2007 was a superb showing of talent, guts and glory for boxing all around.

Now that’s out of the way let’s take a look at what the final firework show might bring to the ring and who might have the edge given the respective categories listed in this preview.

We begin breaking down Floyd Mayweather. He’s only 30 years of age, has managed to escape major punishment throughout his 11-year career and he hasn’t shied away from tough opponents.

Beginning with a TKO against Genaro Hernandez for the WBC junior lightweight championship in 1998, Mayweather hasn’t looked back. Six world boxing championships in five different weight classes later, “Pretty Boy” Floyd is back again on the main stage, looking to take on a brutish fighter from the United Kingdom. It’s tough to argue that Mayweather Jr. isn’t boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter (named by Ring Magazine).

And in the other corner is the blue collar work horse named Ricky Hatton.

Hatton is UK’s prized fighter who crossed the pond on May 13, 2006 to fight a tough Luis Collazo in Boston, Massachusetts. The end result was a unanimous decision win in favor of Hatton and the WBA welterweight title around his waste. While many thought that this bout should have been followed by a rematch, Hatton moved his quest through the states into Las Vegas, Nevada. A unanimous decision win against Juan Urango for the IBF light welterweight title, followed by a pummeling of Jose Luis Castillo for the IBO light welterweight title only added to Hatton’s treasure chest of accomplishments.

While fighters such as Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler refuse to step foot off European soil (even when American fighters come to there own home towns), Hatton has been able to use the trips to the US as positive publicity in his favor. And let’s not beat around the bush. Hatton has faced tough talent and he’s been able to harvest those wins into a date with boxing’s most popular (and criticized) figure in the sport.

There’s no definitive answer in who’s got the upper hand when we look at age and experience. Both fighters are very comparable to the competition they’ve faced (with the major exception coming from Mayweather’s win over Oscar De La Hoya earlier this year) and both have been around professional boxing for the same amount of time.

Strengths/Weaknesses: In this part of the breakdown I can go on for days about how both fighters are exact opposites of each other when we talk about style.

Mayweather should have a PhD in boxing. He’s a technical surgeon in the ring, using the fastest hands in the business with movement inside to out that resemble a drive by shooting. Before opponents can even counter attack the barrage of jabs, hooks and body shots that Mayweather dishes out, “Pretty Boy” is already dancing around the ring. He separates himself from the point of attack with such precision that even De La Hoya was left wondering how to deal with this style of boxing.

On the opposite side of the map is Hatton. The Brit is a fortified truck that loves to bang inside. Hatton will take punishment from counters and jabs, but is well known to bounce back with the kitchen sink.

Ricky can get under Mayweather’s skin by throwing elbows and using his all too perfected bullying tactics, but the main question remains; can Hatton cut the ring off a guy who’s on a motorcycle in the ring and not a bicycle?

The major weakness working against Mayweather is Mayweather himself. He’s arrogant, cocky and enters fights with a chip on his shoulder. But then again Muhammad Ali was successful at using these traits in his favor. Ok, so you may argue that Mayweather is no Ali, but this is a different time for the sport and from what I’ve seen so far, “Pretty Boy” Floyd is the best pound-for-pound fighter in his era.

Hatton has his own demons to battle. He’s been known to put on in excess of 20-plus pounds in-between fights. It’s no secret that the Brit likes his fish, chips and warm beer. Many experts have a good point when they say that this sort of diet can and will take its toll eventually. The question is will this sort of lifestyle play a negative role come Saturday?

Speed is another factor and Hatton is a direct throwback to an earlier time in boxing history. He loves to use brute force by shoving and tying up fighters, only to land big shots that show up on the score cards (and in the face of his opponents). This has worked for Hatton in almost every single fight throughout his professional career but his adversary this time around isn’t that type of fighter. Speed kills and defense wins so now is the time to see how both styles of fighting will complement each other come fight night.

The favor goes to Mayweather in this department. Both fighters have different styles but even though Mayweather gets fans and bettors a bit frustrated with his methodical style of picking apart opponents so far its gotten the job done.

Hatton will need to cut the ring down and if he can get Mayweather on the ropes then the whole dynamic of the fight will change. But there’s a key word in that last sentence; if!     

Fight Night: With speed and defense versus brute force, expect this match to become an instant classic. While you may have received a message in this breakdown that Mayweather seems to be the clear-cut winner, erase that out of your mind immediately.

Hatton has a great shot at taking the WBC welterweight title from Mayweather in old school fashion. The Englishman’s best chance lies in tying up Mayweather, pushing and maybe even taking some penalties for roughneck boxing (elbows, clash of heads, etc.). Then again, Zab Judah was responsible for executing the same tactics against Mayweather in 2006. Rabbit punches, below the belt blasts and eventually a full fledged riot in the ring couldn’t deter the champ.

If there's one major concern I have its with Hatton's ability to bleed like a siv. Cuts are prone to open up the scar tissue above his eye's and Hatton must be aware of this as the fight matures.

On a betting note the numbers have begun to shift with Mayweather now sitting as a $2.25 favorite. (bet $225 to make $100). Hatton is currently catching a +185 (bet $100 to make $200) price tag where most books had him as high as a $2.20 'underdog'. The line at Sportsbook.com has fluctuated its prices to -260 for Mayweather and +200 for Hatton.

Like I say all the time, shop around and see where the most favorable prices can be found. There's no doubt that support for Hatton is beginning to show at the books.

For those of you who like prop betting, Mayweather Jr. to win by KO, TKO or DQ is catching 37/10 odds, Mayweather Jr. to win by decision is at a chalky 10/13 and a draw is catching a high 20/1 price tag. For Hatton a win by KO, TKO or DQ is currently at 18/5 by most books, while a win by decision has been set at 4/1 by most books.

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Re: Mayweather-Hatton Preview

I bet all I could on Mayweather over at Bodog this weekend. I think he dominates hatton

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Mayweather is fighting bad

Pound-for-pound champion is also the new pay-per-view king, and his attitude has a lot to do with that.

LAS VEGAS -- By defeating Oscar De La Hoya in a May split decision, Floyd Mayweather Jr. not only confirmed his stature as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, he won on a stage that drew a record 2.4 million pay-per-view buys.

Mayweather played the villain in the fight's promotion, repeatedly goading De La Hoya with press tour antics that were often criticized as childish, flashing lavish jewelry, pricey cars and bundles of cash on the HBO reality series "24/7," and dressing in a sombrero and the colors of Mexico's flag for the bout.

Now, as the unbeaten Mayweather, 30, nears a Saturday night World Boxing Council welterweight title defense against undefeated Ricky Hatton of England at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he seeks not only a victory in the ring, but a further boost in his efforts to become a crossover celebrity.

"I told you guys -- I'll be a mega-star," Mayweather said to reporters Wednesday at a pre-fight news conference.

Against De La Hoya, Mayweather (38-0, 24 knockouts) again displayed the skills of an exceptional boxer whose defensive quickness and supreme fitness have made him a six-time world champion in five weight classes.

No one had questioned Mayweather's boxing gifts, but as he drew pre-De La Hoya fight pay-per-view crowds of 365,000 against Arturo Gatti, 375,000 versus Zab Judah and 325,000 in a yawner over Carlos Baldomir, questions about his widespread appeal in a slumping sport dogged him.

Mayweather's critics contend that his villain role is no act.

"If you're trying to win fans, you don't act the way he does," said Bob Arum, Mayweather's former promoter. "He demeans others. He acts like a thug. If that's your plan to build an audience, that's an embarrassment. He needs an 'A' side, you know -- someone you like -- but he'll always be a 'B' side. His act is not cute, it's offensive. And boxing is better off with guys like Oscar, who conduct themselves like a sportsman, a gentleman."

Hatton, a pint-swilling Brit in his non-training days who had hundreds of his countrymen serenading him outside Wednesday's news conference, similarly doubts Mayweather can build a crossover audience because of his behavior.

"Flaunting his money, it's like he's bringing disrespect to people: 'Look what I've got, and look what you don't,' " Hatton said. "That's not going to endear himself to the public. Having security around him, telling the fans, 'Get away, get away.' . . . I don't need security. I walk right through the casino."

Yet, with two-division champion Hatton (43-0, 31 KOs) promising an aggressive attack to Mayweather's speed, the fight sold out of $10.5 million in tickets in less than an hour, and the bout's promoter, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, said the numbers indicate Mayweather will become the first non-heavyweight in boxing history to be involved in back-to-back bouts with more than 1 million pay-per-view buys.

"The business has always had a reliable fan base: Hispanic families," HBO Pay Per View executive Mark Taffet said. "Floyd's turned the tables, bringing in the urban markets like never before, and a younger market. He's basically added a second leg to the stool.

"He's young, energetic, has a million-dollar smile, and a background story of achievement."

In fact, Mayweather is spending more time before this fight repeating his story of surviving a rough upbringing in Grand Rapids, Mich. His boxer father was shot before his eyes, then later sent to prison on a drug charge when the younger Mayweather was 16. His mother lapsed into drug use, and he recalls sleeping among seven children in a bedroom on rented furniture and taking cold-water baths warmed only by boiling water from the stove.

He still wears flashy jewelry -- a diamond-crusted bracelet was on his right wrist Wednesday and a diamond-coated watch was on his left -- and still bets heavily at Las Vegas sports books.

That "character" -- as his manager, Leonard Ellerbe, describes that side of Mayweather -- comes with a disclaimer.

"I don't think I'm better than everyone else," Mayweather said. "I'm telling kids when I show the money that, 'You can have a nice car and nice house -- legally,' by working hard. I pulled myself out of the struggle by dedicating myself to the sport of boxing. They might say I'm cocky and arrogant, but it's not arrogant to believe in yourself."

Since his victory over De La Hoya, Mayweather landed a spot on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," had a personal audience with presidential candidate Barack Obama, has been seen on MTV's "Cribs," and is in negotiations for "several" television projects, Ellerbe said. HBO also has advanced Mayweather-Hatton with another four-part "24/7."

"Floyd is much more focused on being a successful businessman now," Ellerbe said. "He's changed the model for fighters, showing them how to take control of their own business. And when the year ends, he'll be one of the highest-paid athletes in sports, behind only Tiger Woods and Oscar."

Ellerbe pointed to Mayweather's crossover potential by relaying a story about Halloween at the boxer's home. After his childhood of scaled-back Halloweens, Mayweather made three trips to the grocery store to stock up on candy bars for kids in his gated Las Vegas neighborhood. He gave away so many that the children who'd seen him on "Cribs" basked in his generosity by urging him to "make it rain" Snickers, a nod to his public cash displays.

Schaefer, De La Hoya's partner in Golden Boy Promotions, said after a few brushes with Mayweather during the earlier fight's promotion, he has come to admire the champion's improving maturity.

"He's recognized what are the buttons to push," Schaefer said. "You can say the first fight's numbers were about Oscar, but here Floyd is again. He does add value, and if this fight does seven figures, then you can clearly say Floyd has captured a strong crossover audience by breaking through to the general public."

De La Hoya was more cautious: "He's on the verge. He portrays the bad guy well. He understands that's what sells. The bad guy has a fan base."

Outside, British boxing fans Shane Bibby of Yorkshire and his brother, Mike, of Hatton's hometown of Manchester, agreed, saying they boarded a flight to Las Vegas to see their countryman punish his most skilled opponent yet partly because Mayweather has been too "disrespectful, and over the top with it."

Mayweather, meanwhile, wants his less brash side to be known.

"Show both sides of me," he said. "When a bum sees me at a [street] light, sometimes I give him $100 or $500. . . . I fed over 600 families at Thanksgiving, do a Christmas charity."

"I may kill 'em at the sports book . . . may flash $75,000, but [I] give away $30,000. God knows I'm appreciative. Why do you think I've had 38 great nights?"

latimes.com

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Who's the fan favorite? Ricky Hatton, man
FOXSports.com

They traveled more than 6,000 miles, from the industrial heartland of the British Empire to the lobby of the MGM Grand. Though few would score tickets to a fight that had sold out in 30 minutes, nothing could dampen the spirits of these beery pilgrims. Having occupied the bar like a conquering army, they'd periodically break into a vaguely melodious refrain, chanted to the tune of "Winter Wonderland."

Are you there, Ricky Hatton?
Can you hear me, Ricky Hatton?
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking with the Ricky Hatton man

Some fighters come with entourages. Ricky Hatton arrives with the entire city of Manchester. At least it feels that way. The Hatton partisans are known to drink all night in groups of three. As the hours progress, the guy in the middle continues to sip while his wingmen take turns resting on his shoulders.

Rituals such as these put ordinary American tailgaters to shame. What's more, as the British invasion began in earnest on Tuesday night — five days before Hatton would fight Floyd Mayweather for the 147-pound championship — one had to marvel at the stamina of these foreigners. If only Hatton endures as well as his fans, Saturday night will go down as a great one.

Surely, Hatton can fight. To have seen him take out the once-great Jose Luis Castillo with a body shot is to know as much. Whether he can fight well enough to best Floyd is another question entirely. The oddsmakers aren't the only ones who doubt him. There are well-founded presumptions against both white hopes and Brits. After all, if Hatton so much as gets in the ring on Saturday night, he'll have accomplished more than the last British export, the metrosexual soccer star with the bony wife.

Still, to this point, one can argue that Ricky Hatton has carried the promotion. He might not be as skilled as Mayweather, but he's a perfect antagonist.

They each play roles, assuming exaggerated personas. For his last fight against Oscar De Hoya — a pay-per-view that generated a record 2.4 million buys — Mayweather found fun and profit in playing the heel. Up close, Mayweather seems more sympathetic and honorable than the bejeweled stereotype who likes to make it rain. Still, these facades are not easily deconstructed. For most people, Mayweather remains the braggart with the bling.

And that's just fine with Ricky Hatton, who seems not unlike the working class mob that has followed him across eight time zones. He's a dedicated fan of the Manchester City soccer club. He plays darts, and by his own admission drinks Guinness to excess when not in training. In these off months, he can usually be found getting plump at the pub.

Still, for all his pedestrian habits, Hatton has that rarest virtue: a sense of humor. He can laugh at himself, hence the official T-shirts with the blubbery image and the nickname "Ricky Fatton." More than that, though, he's become especially adept at poking fun at the Mayweather camp.

"Quite impressive," he said last week, when asked about Mayweather's recent appearance on Dancing with the Stars. "But not as good as me on 15 pints of Guinness."

He's been listening to Roger Mayweather, Floyd's uncle and trainer, boast that his nephew had compiled a more impressive résumé than Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. Instead of protesting, Hatton merely agreed and proclaimed himself to be better endowed than porn star Ron Jeremy.

Roger Mayweather was at it again Wednesday at the press conference, going on about his nephew's place in history. Finally, Hatton came to the podium.

"I'd like to thank Roger," he said, "for making the winter shorter."

One wonders if Hatton's timing in the ring is as good as on the dais. Then again, this being fight week, Ricky Hatton is just another guy playing the strip.

While Mayweather showed up in a vested suit and wrists heavy with diamonds, Hatton came with a black Kangol beach cap. While Mayweather's bodyguards wore pendants that read "Philthy Rich," Hatton was accompanied by three trumpets and a drum to strike up the "Winter Wonderland" melody.

The Hatton fans — a great many of them, it seemed — had assembled outside the ballroom. As the doors would open every once in a while, you could hear them chant and shout for their man. One wondered if they might rush the guards at the door and storm the ballroom.

"I've never seen a fighter so popular," said Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy company is promoting the fight.

When pressed to identify the main attraction — the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world or his pale-faced challenger — Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer finally abandoned diplomacy and said: "You hear it. You see it. It's clearly Hatton."

The promoters had their own interests, of course. De La Hoya would like nothing better than to fight Hatton in May in Los Angeles. One imagines Manchester descending on Dodger Stadium.

By then the betting line had tightened. Hatton, still an underdog, had moved from plus-230 to plus-190.

"Can't believe the odds are this close," said Hatton, feigning surprise that anybody would wager on "a little fat beer-drinking Englishman who hasn't fought anyone."

Perhaps there's something to his strategic calculation. Maybe the application of constant pressure will wear down Mayweather. Or maybe he'll go to the body early and often enough to mitigate Mayweather's speed.

More than likely, though, the odds reflected a sentiment that had swept through the casino ... walking with the Ricky Hatton man ... the Brits were betting.

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Villain or hero, 'Pretty Boy' gets it done

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - From what I gather, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not everyone's favorite person.

The e-mails floating toward my inbox this week - reacting primarily to his role in HBO's latest "24/7" hype-o-mentary - claim he's arrogant, ostentatious, a poor role model and, well... just a flat-out jerk.

Readers don't like the way he taunts opponents. They don't like the way he acts superior. And they don't like the way he flaunts his wealth and status - "making it rain," if you will - for everyone to see.

So, disgusted by the showboating, me-first attitude that's obviously turned up a notch for the sake of inquiring cameras, people look at this weekend's fight as a chance for a heroic "common man" type to rise up and shut the brash "Pretty Boy's" mouth.

They see Ricky Hatton - the ale-chugging, song-singing import from Manchester - as the perfect foil to Mayweather's abrasive hip-hop persona, and breathlessly hope against hope that the unbeaten "Hitman" will complete the job that 38 others before him have tried and failed.

Lost in the polarizing battle of image, however, is a clear-cut and harsh reality.

Good guy or bad guy... Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best fighter on the planet.

And there's really nothing - short of entering the ring with a few dozen more of his Manchester brethren - Ricky Hatton can do about it.

Oh sure, detractors one and all will point to Hatton's pristine 43-0 record, his buzz-saw aggression and his confident pre-fight determination and say, "Floyd's never seen a guy like this before."

They'll say it, but they'll be wrong.

In truth, the bull-dozing specter of Hatton is no more ominous than several Mayweather has already unmasked on a victim's list with names like Corrales, Castillo, Judah and De La Hoya - while barely breaking a serious sweat, let alone coming close to losing.

Hatton, on the other hand, has fought just one time at 147 pounds, impressing precious few while escaping with a narrow 12-rounder over slick lefty Luis Collazo in what was supposed to be a rock 'em, sock 'em U.S. coming-out party.

He wisely returned to junior welter and fattened up on untested Juan Urango and uninterested Jose Luis Castillo afterward, but was lured back to the big stage by a wallet score unavailable amid the has-beens and never-weres at 140.

Cleverly repackaged for $54.95 on a television near you, it becomes an "Undefeated" extravaganza for Golden Boy Promotions.

But strip away Hatton's accent and charm and it's no different than the myriad previously propped up as Mayweather's worst nightmare fights, particularly the bull/matador blueprints of Arturo Gatti in June 2005 and Carlos Baldomir 17 months later.

Gatti was the "blood and guts action hero" who, according to many, would push Mayweather with unparalleled resilience. And Baldomir, who'd risen from anonymous club fighter to linear world champion, was the rough-and-tumble customer just solid enough and tough enough to score an upset.

Or, well... maybe not.

For those unaware of how those one-sided get-togethers turned out - Gatti was beaten to a pulp over six rounds in his Atlantic City backyard, while Baldomir landed nary a punch after his pre-fight aggression became in-fight survival upon realizing what he was truly up against.

Hatton is younger, more accomplished and fitter than those two, but when push comes to shove, the only advantages that'll matter - speed, athleticism, defense, elite-level experience - are still the ones unquestionably checked off on the "Pretty Boy's" side of the ledger.

So, while he's surely a down-to-Earth guy with whom I'd rather raise a pint of Guinness, Hatton - in a boxing ring with a motivated Mayweather - is quite possibly the last chap whose shoes I'd want to actually fill in Las Vegas come Saturday night.

Longer than Gatti and harder than Baldomir... but in the end, no less decisive.

FitzHitz says: Mayweather in 10.

Meanwhile, if your search for the perfect blend of championship-level boxer and fine human being continues, look no further than DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley.

True, the ex-WBO junior welterweight title-holder isn't quite the fighter he used to be, but from a journalist's perspective, you'd go a long way before finding a more gracious and cooperative guy in any walk of life.

The 33-year-old headlined a nine-bout card in Tampa last weekend, eventually dropping the main event by reed-thin split decision to Colombian veteran Dario Jose Esalas.

But as it turned out, his best performance came later.

Rather than the frustrated and embittered prima donna I dreaded while approaching the locker room with ace sidekick Nick Fortuna, Corley was instead as friendly and pleasant as any winner I'd ever dealt with.

He sat casually with us and chief second Al Bonnini for the next 20 minutes, candidly discussing the bout with Esalas, its close verdict and how the upset loss would impact the subsequent steps in his already 11-year professional career.

'This loss really hurt me,' he said. 'I'm going to go home, sit down with the kids and my wife, talk to DK and them (soon) and see what they want to do from there. If not, I can hang my gloves up. There's a pretty good chance this might be the last time you'll see me.

'I had a great career. I'm pleased. I'm satisfied with it.'

Corley, who runs a youth boxing group in suburban Washington, D.C., said he'd likely devote more energy to such activities should he actually decide to retire.

"My degree is in boxing. It's what I know and what I do," he said. "If I'm done here, I'll just go back and spend more time with the kids, teaching. I'll always be around it."

Neither the sport, nor his students could have a better ambassador.

Be well, "Chop Chop."

Of course, the two-hour ride from Gainesville to Tampa for the Corley fight brought more than its fair share of debate on this weekend's main event.

My man Nick, a former varsity quarterback at the College of New Jersey and an alum of Bloomberg News in New York, is also an ardent Hatton supporter and believes the British import will win by late-round stoppage or clear-cut decision.

Among his rationale:

"Floyd's always in great condition, but this might be the first fight where he's in the second-best condition of the participants," he said. "Ricky's always in great shape, too, and is rock hard, and he has proven he has the ability to come forward non-stop for 12 rounds, something few others are really capable of. He's looked great on 24/7 too.

"Ricky is not the used up fighter Gatti was. Ricky has only been hurt once, against Collazo. He's 29, whereas Gatti was 33 when he fought Floyd. Gatti had been knocked out twice previously and had taken extraordinary punishment in many of his wins, earning him the 'ultimate blood and guts warrior' moniker.

"Ricky simply hasn't had to display that find of perseverance because he's a better fighter."

Needless to say, and as was pointed out earlier, I disagree. But in lieu of just a monetary wager to certify my beliefs, I've decided to put up something more important -- my column.

Should Hatton shock the world and win on Saturday, look for a lead item of next week's piece -- no doubt featuring a fair amount of gloating -- penned by Mr. Fortuna.

And if all goes as planned and Mayweather wins, well... I'd guess you pretty much already know what to expect. Just another testament to the greatest fighter of our time.

Stay tuned.

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How the industry views Hatton vs. Mayweather
Covers.com

The sports world will be focused on two undefeated welterweights in Las Vegas this Saturday. Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather Jr. clash with the WBC title on the line.

This fight is the biggest thing to hit boxing since Mayweather fought future Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya in May. And while Vegas takes the brunt of the impact this weekend, the rest of the sports gambling world is also bracing for what should be a historic night.

Covers.com gets in-depth perspectives on Hatton vs. Mayweather from all corners of the gaming industry. We get the inside scoop from ground zero as well as on the action hitting the offshore books. We also get the view from boxing’s top handicappers and linesmakers.

The Vegas perspective

The MGM Grand Garden Arena is the stage and who better to talk to about the action on Hatton-Mayweather than the source of the MGM’s odds, the people at Mirage race and sportsbook.

According to its sportsbook manager, Jeff Stoneback, most Las Vegas books have only taken in five to ten percent of the predicted action on this fight. He expects the other 90 percent to come flooding in the three days before the bout.

“We’ve had a couple bigger wagers on Mayweather from casino players but usually on a fight like this the sharps will wait until closer to fight night,” says Stoneback, who opened with Mayweather -280.

That line has since dropped to -230 as of Wednesday night.

With hordes of British fight fans making their way to town, Stoneback believes Hatton fans will not only back their boy in the stands but also at the pay windows.

“We do expect to see quite a few people from England and as everyone knows, people from England love to bet,” jokes Stoneback.

Las Vegas sportsbooks are predicting late action on Hatton this Friday and Saturday which could move the challenger from his current number of +190.

The offshore perspective

The online sportsbooks are getting similar action on Hatton vs. Mayweather. Bookmakers at Bodog are also expecting more bets to pour in as the fight draws closer.

“Casual fans often get influenced by the hype from the HBO pre-fight programming right before the event,” says a linesmaker from the sportsbook, which currently has Mayweather as a -240 favorite. Hatton is a +190 underdog as of Thursday morning.

Right now, Bodog is taking in two-way action on the fight with some sharp money on Mayweather. Oddsmakers believe a lot of bettors are waiting for the number to come down on Hatton. If it does they expect late action on the British brawler.

“We are seeing a lot of new sign-ups as a result of this fight,” says the Bodog bookmaker. “The Hatton supporters are coming out in full force.”

The bettor’s perspective

In order to get the sharpest opinion on this historic bout, one needs to go to one of the sharpest boxing bettors in the industry.

Professional handicapper Sonny Palermo has worked as a boxing oddsmaker and has written for Ring Sports and World of Boxing.

He thinks Mayweather is underpriced for this bout. But if the champ was set at -300, he says, sportsbooks would get nothing but money on Hatton. Palermo believes the underdog is not the same class of boxer as Mayweather and will have a tough time countering on Saturday night.

“The more frustrated Hatton gets from chasing him, the more wild he is going to get,” says Palermo. “The more wild, the more left open, the more left open, the more he’s going to be hit upside his head.”

Outside of wagering on the winner of this weekend’s fight, sportsbooks are offering round- and final-outcome props. Palermo suggests playing over the 11 ½-round total with a decision as the likely outcome.

“Floyd can’t KO Hatton, so no worries about an under there,” says Palermo. “Hatton probably won’t be able to KO Floyd because of Mayweather’s boxing, defense and (the fact he’s not too proud to run) if he feels Hatton’s power is getting to him.”

The linesmaker’s perspective

For oddsmakers, the numbers for this bout were easy to set. Renowned boxing and MMA linesmaker Joey Oddessa weighed both fighters’ past performances.

Hatton destroyed Jose Luis Castillo this past June and made most people forget about his near loss to Luis Callazo back in May 2006.

Mayweather is coming off the win over De La Hoya this past spring, but didn’t attract many supporters with the victory by decision. However, he is the more polished boxer of the two. And Mayweather’s win over De La Hoya carries more weight with fight fans.

“I've always liked the boxers over the punchers and there's little doubt Mayweather is the boxer,” says Oddessa. “Three-to-one seemed about right and I leaned toward the more consistent performer of the two.”

When it came to setting the 11 ½ number on the round total, Oddessa was surprised at the early action on the under because Mayweather’s last three victories have come by way of decision. The brash American is hard to hit even for someone like Hatton, who has scored 32 of his 43 wins by knockout.

“The total on the bout has gone back up to where it should be in recent weeks,” says Oddessa. “I can see Hatton getting busted up pretty good, but it’s hard to imagine either fighter getting KO’d cleanly.”

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Re: Mayweather-Hatton Preview

Support for Hatton is growing

Buster Douglas pulled it off against Mike Tyson. Antonio Tarver did the same to Roy Jones Jr., and years ago, Muhammad Ali got it done against George Foreman. Great boxing upsets. They happen, and when they do, Las Vegas sportsbooks usually suffer.

That's why oddsmakers adjust lines on big fights to make the betting action as equal as possible. That has been the case with tonight's fight between underdog Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who will meet for the World Boxing Council welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden.

Although both fighters are undefeated, Mayweather (38-0, 24 knockouts) opened as a heavy favorite with odds as high as -350 on some sportsbooks.

But support for Hatton (43-0, 31 KOs) has been steady and strong, which has dropped the odds for Mayweather as low as -220, according to VegasInsider.com. Hatton has gone from +220 to +180.

Much of the credit behind Hatton's betting boost goes to English boxing fans, who have put their money behind their countryman. But Hatton also has picked up backing as a result of HBO's Mayweather/Hatton "24/7" reality series.

"I'd say their efforts have easily doubled interest and betting volume on this bout," boxing linesmaker Joey Oddessa told Covers.com. "The series makes the bout appealing to even the most casual fans, who are always eager to wager their money in hopes of a satisfying double payday. The heel going down and cashing a ticket."

Here are a few proposition bets for Mayweather versus Hatton, according to Bodoglife.com: Mayweather by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification (37-10), Mayweather by decision (10-13), Hatton by KO, TKO or DQ (18-5), Hatton by decision (39-10) and a draw (20-1).

Will the fight go the distance? Yes (-240) or no (+190); Will the fight go 1:30 into Round 7? Yes (-800) or no (+400); Will the fight go 1:30 into Round 3? Yes (-3,000) or no (+1,500).

Mayweather is knocked down or out: (+375); Mayweather not knocked down or out (-215); Hatton is knocked down or out (+175); Hatton not knocked down or out (-215).

latimes.com

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Re: Mayweather-Hatton Preview

"Pretty Boy" Mayweather TKOs "Hitman" Hatton in 10

Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather stopped Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton with a technical knockout at 1:35 of the 10th round to retain his WBC welterweight title on Saturday night.

Hatton (43-1) was coming in for left hook, and Mayweather tagged him with a left hook of his own to the left cheek, sending the Brit staggering into the ring post and onto the mat.

Only a few seconds later Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) landed another tough left hook to Hatton's head, and "The Hitman" was down for the count.

Mayweather, 30, reiterated after the fight that he is winding his career down, and doesn't plan on taking on any challengers in the near future. This would be the second time that the champ has indicated a desire to stop fighting, as he announced his retirement after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in May.

That retirement didn't last too long, though.

Things were lining up for Hatton to score the upset early, as the Brit, sporting blue and silver trunks, landed a good left hook early in the first round that had Mayweather off balance for a step. The champ regained his balance, though, and came back, tagging Hatton with a strong right hook late in the second round.

Hatton bulled Mayweather against the ropes in the fourth round, landing a few tough body shots. "Pretty Boy" found a way to push back to the center of the ring, though, and punished Hatton late in the round.

In sixth round Hatton had a point deducted for hitting Mayweather on the back of the head. Hatton, protesting that Mayweather turned his back, turned his back to Mayweather after the referee started the fight back up.

Mayweather clutched and grabbed through much of the early rounds, but came on strong in the eighth round, momentarily stopping Hatton with a right hook to the face. "Pretty Boy" got his opponent in corner in the last 30 seconds of the round, landing a series of hooks to Hatton's face and body, and appeared to take control from there.

The official scorecards revealed after the fight that, at the time of the knockout, the fight was scored heavily in Mayweather's favor - 89-81, 89-81, and 88-82.

At a combined 81-0, this was the biggest matchup of two undefeated welterweights since Oscar De La Hoya took on Felix Trinidad in 1999.

Mayweather was fighting in his adopted home of Las Vegas, but it was Hatton that was the crowd favorite. Thousands of British fans of "The Hitman" made the journey to Vegas to cheer on Hatton, as has become a tradition in all of his fights.

Mayweather's last fight was his highly publicized, and slightly controversial, 12-round unanimous decision over De La Hoya on May 5 that ran his record to 38-0, with 24 knockouts.

Hatton was coming off a fourth-round knockout of Jose Luis Castillo on June 23, a dominating performance that gave him 31 career knockouts in 43 wins.

In the undercard, Daniel Ponce de Leon won a unanimous 12-round decision over Eduardo Escobedo for the WBO Jr. featherweight belt.

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