On the 26th of November in Sheffield's Hallam FM Arena, sparks are set to fly! Newly crowned IBF Champion Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton and current WBA Champion Carlos Maussa will go toe to toe in a much-anticipated light welterweight unification bout. Both Hatton and Maussa have only recently claimed their titles, Hatton with a stunning eleven round stoppage against heavily favoured boxing legend Kostya Tszyu and Maussa, who was also an underdog, with a seventh round KO of Vivian Harris.
Hatton, who still maintains a perfect record at 39-0-0 with 29 KOs, is the favourite, while Maussa, 19-2-0 with 17 KOs, will be out to prove himself a worthy champion after previous losses to Miguel Cotto and Arturo Morua.
The fight itself hasn't had as much publicity as perhaps it merits due to Hatton’s on going dispute with promoter Frank Warren. However, the fight has been officially announced and could definitely be taking place.
It certainly seems that this pairing is set to live up to expectations and both fighters will have to be careful. Hatton although the favourite, will be very aware of Maussa’s punching capabilities after the seventh round KO of Harris and of Maussa’s very awkward style which has been described by some as almost amateurish.
Maussa also brings a lot of publicity into the fight after his contest against Harris in which he was seen making obscure clowning gestures and facial expressions. What is even more worrying for the Hitman is that Maussa appeared to actually attempt a psychotic blow to the back of the WBA Champion's head while the knocked out Harris lay face down on the canvas. Luckily for Maussa and Harris, the bottom rope helped absorb the punch which probably saved Maussa’s reputation and Harris a spell in hospital.
Maussa has an eight inch reach advantage over Hatton and stands at 5ft 10 and a half while Hatton just a mere 5 ft 6inchs tall. This however, should not be a problem for the Hitman, who destroyed 5ft 11 Ray Olivera in ten impressive rounds.
One noticible advantage Hatton does have over Maussa is youth. The IBF Champion at 26 is 7 years younger than Maussa at 33. This could contribute to a Hatton late round stoppage if he has not already imposed himself on Maussa by that time. Quality of opponents and experience may also prove to be a factor. Hatton has beaten Vince Phillips (the only other man to of beaten Kostya Tyszu), Ray Olivera and Tyszu himself, two of them by stoppage or KO. Maussa’s only well known quality opponents have been Cotto, to whom he lost, and Harris.
Hatton should be hoping to outwork Maussa, a very dangerous opponent for a first defence, however Hatton is determined not to take the easy route. "I said my next fights would be unification fights," he claimed and if he is to defeat Maussa, the Manchester native will surely be looking for a bout with either Floyd Mayweather or Zab Judah.
However, the victory is by no means assured and Maussa will believe that he can upset the British public by doing what he has done to 17 out of his 21 opponents so far and that is KO Hatton. Hatton insists that he is confident of winning both his fight with Maussa and his out of the ring dispute with promoter Frank Warren, "It's not unusual that things don't go smoothly in the build-up to a fight, and this looks like that will be the case’’ he said, going on to add “’but that is when you have to show what a champion you are, and if it does go to court it might prove a distraction, but then I am just as confident I will win that battle’’.
Aside of all the speculation surrounding Hatton’s future, which has in reality has only pushed the actual fight onto the sidelines, everybody will be looking forward to what should be both a great fight and a memorable night. It is almost certain that there will be very few people who walk out of the Hallam Arena feeling dissatisfied and the atmosphere should be electric.
As always we wish our man Ricky Hatton the best of luck in the upcoming fight, it should be a cracker!