Fresh off of capturing the third world championship of his career, the new WBA welterweight champion, Ricky "Hitman" Hatton (41-0, 30 KOs) and the former champion, Luis Collazo (26-2, 12 KOs) took part in a post fight press conference for the media in attendance at the TD Bank North Garden, in Boston, MA on Saturday night. Neither fighter was at a loss for words, including their promoters, Arthur Pelullo of Banner Promotions representing Ricky Hatton, and Don King representing Luis Collazo.
Luis Collazo arrived to the podium first and stated to the media in attendance. "I would like to thank him (Ricky) for giving me the opportunity. I would love the chance for a rematch. He could not deal with my power as he was holding on the whole time. Well when the referee said break and he threw at the same time."
Collazo continued to recall being knocked down in the first round by saying, "Before the fight, the referee had a chance to visit the locker room. He said that I want a clean fight, and when I say break, take two steps back. He said break and Ricky stepped in and threw the punch. I don't know if he stepped on my foot or knocked me down, but whatever it was, it gave me a ten to eight round. I believe in the 12th round that I had him hurt and it should have been a 10-8 round."
"I am a warrior. It comes down to blood and glory. It is about whoever wants it most. If I have to bleed then I have to bleed, to come out with the victory, but I think I did that tonight," said Collazo.
A member of the media asked Collazo if there were things that he thought he could have done differently in the fight. Collazo responded by saying, "I could have boxed a little more, but I have to stand my ground, or otherwise the judges would have really taken me out of the fight. I believe that I came out victorious today, but the people know who really won the fight."
Collazo was then asked if Hatton's style caused him any problems during the fight. He responded by saying, "When he got inside and he was holding, I thought he was going to throw more combinations, but I thought that I kept my distance. After a while I was keeping my distance and jabbing him, and throwing combinations, and he could not do anything. I believe that he did not do enough to win. I still feel that I am the champion and he is the challenger."
"I knew that he was aggressive and a dirty fighter," said Collazo about Hatton. Collazo continued, "There were a lot of things that he did that he should not have gotten away with, but that's alright, I will be back."
Luis Collazo was then asked to give some examples of Hatton fighting dirty. Collazo responded by saying, "Pushing my head down, and coming in with his head. Those are the things that Ricky does. Like I said if he is a man of his word, then we can do a rematch and I will take care of it then. He should go back down to 140 pounds because I believe if he gives me a rematch, I will knock him out."
When asked if Collazo would fight a rematch against Ricky Hatton in Hatton's hometown of Manchester, England, Collazo stated, "We can go to Manchester. I am not worried about that. I believe that if he is a man of his word, he will give me a rematch."
Ricky Hatton's promoter, Arthur Pelullo responded to Collazo's statement by saying, "If Ricky Hatton wants a rematch, and then there will be a rematch."
Luis Collazo's promoter, Don King was then asked about his thoughts on the fight. King stated to the media, "They never thought that our guy would be in the fight, so he was in the fight, and it proved to be a great fight."
Collazo was then asked about the referee of his fight tonight, John Zablocki from Massachusetts, who also refereed last week's WBA super-welterweight title fight between Jose Antonio Rivera and Alejandro Garcia. "Last week he did a hell of a job. Where is he from, Massachusetts? Where is Rivera from," said Collazo?
He was then asked about if he thought the referee was too inexperienced to handle a fight like this. Collazo responded by saying, "He sounded fair in the locker room, but every referee sounds fair in the locker room."
Arthur Pelullo then read the Compubox stats from the fight to the media in attendance, in a sense to prove that Hatton won the fight, and that Collazo was treated fairly in the bout. Pelullo stated, "I just found my Compubox stats. I am sorry. I just thought you would like to know. Total punches thrown, Collazo 712, Hatton 741. Total punches connected, Collazo 213, Hatton 259. Connection Percentage for Collazo was 30 percent, Hatton 35. I am just reading the numbers for you."
There was a short delay in waiting for Ricky Hatton to arrive at the press conference.
The promoters then had a war of words as Arthur Pelullo and Don King argued about the assignment of the officials in the fight. Pelullo stated, "Concerning the officials for the fight tonight, I have an official letter from the WBA that was faxed to me, that these were the officials for the fight." Don King responded by saying, "Now, now, I have to challenge you. What they did is they did not have any judges, so Nick (Manzello, president of the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission,) in his own inevitable wisdom, appointed some judges and said, here write these names down. They did not appoint official judges. I am going to protest to the WBA, and whatever in their infinite wisdom they decide."
Arthur Pelullo then responded to King's comments, "First of all, you have a mastery of the English language that I do not have. Luis Collazo is a great fighter, he was the welterweight champion. Ricky Hatton went up to welterweight. Everybody knows about the legal battles going on in the 140 pound division. This title was available. He was available to fight. Collazo was a great champion and it was a great fight. I would have no problems with a rematch, Ricky Hatton won the fight. The outcome was the outcome and I thought that Hatton won the fight clearly."
Don King then retorted by saying, "It was great but the rematch is going to be even better."
The new WBA welterweight champion, Ricky Hatton arrived to the podium with his left eye swollen from his highly competitive fight with Collazo. Collazo's camp immediately started shouting for a rematch. Hatton stated in response, "Well sure as soon as my left eye is better. It was a great fight tonight. I don't think anybody deserves as much credit as Luis Collazo does tonight, and he showed what he is all about. Sometimes when you are a champion you have to fight the best, and be the best. This is my third world title fight in consecutive fights. In moving up in weight, I think I showed what I am all about."
A member of the media asked Ricky if he thought if this was the toughest fight of his career, Hatton responded by saying, "Yeah I would say so, I mean this was my first fight at this new weight. I think he showed his toughness tonight. He was moving well and throwing punches at me pretty well. Whenever you move up in weight and your first fight is against a world champion, you can expect that it is going to be a very difficult fight."
When asked by the media who he would like to fight next, Ricky Hatton responded by saying, "I will fight anybody out there, and I approve of a rematch with Luis."
In regards to being hurt by Collazo in the 12th round Hatton stated, "It wasn't just the 12th round, he hurt me several times in the fight. He hits a lot harder. I still believe that I am a junior welterweight and I moved up to welterweight. I did notice the difference. He hit me several times. He hit me and hurt me in the last round and I was able to stay close, smother him, and keep my wits about me."
Ricky Hatton summarized his performance tonight by saying, "I think I went a full twelve rounds and it wasn't about the decision, but I definitely feel that I won the fight. The fight was a fantastic fight. Everybody asks me before the fight, to predict a victory, and I never make a prediction, because being a professional at this level, you cannot ever take any opponent for granted. It was a big, big night for me, my first fight in the United States, moving up a weight division, and fighting in my first fight at this new weight division for a world title."
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