To The Replay

There have been insinuations here and there that anyone who gave more than a round to Ricky Hatton when he fought Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (welterweight, 147 pounds) last weekend was blind. Respected boxing writer Michael Woods backtracked a little here upon watching the tape. After watching a replay, I will not. And I promise I would if I thought I was wrong, because there’s no shame in it. Nor do I think my dislike of Mayweather’s personality is affecting my judgment; I also recently re-watched Mayweather’s fight with Oscar De La Hoya, and I still think the judges were too kind to De La Hoya. In the first six rounds of Mayweather-Hatton, matters were very competitive. I said it then and I stand by it. There were rounds I scored for Hatton that could’ve been scored for Mayweather, and vice versa. Even when Mayweather out-landed Hatton (slightly) with clean punches in some of the rounds, Hatton was controlling the pace and action, and that counts for something too. To answer a question from of one of the “Mayweather dominated” partisans: Yes, I did see Hatton land some “significant” punches, albeit none that hurt Mayweather and some that were less clean than they might have been if Mayweather wasn’t such a defensive master. But significant. I won’t answer at length the other two questions about whether there were any momentum-turning moments and moments where I said, “OK, Ricky, here we go” — yes to both, although those moments came and ended within individual rounds rather than over the course of a fight — because they have no relevance on how judges are supposed to score fights. Two different points that I want to elaborate upon, both related to the other: The fight was horribly officiated, and Mayweather got away with a ton of rough stuff in close. In no universe should Hatton have been penalized a point in the sixth. He didn’t even land the alleged illegal punch behind the head, which was initiated by Mayweather turning his back. Referee Joe Cortez was all over Hatton. He never really got on Mayweather, who initiated all the clinches. Like, all of them. Nor did he get on Mayweather for all the elbows and forearms he was landing on Hatton when they were in clinches. Mayweather’s gotten away with that kind of thing throughout his entire career. But in a way, I admire what he did with those fouls versus Hatton. Hatton’s a rough customer on the inside, and it’s a big part of what makes him effective. Mayweather out-roughed Hatton. All of those elbows and forearms kept Hatton off-balance and gave Mayweather the room he needed to land his shots. That’s how great a fighter Mayweather is: Is there anyone who conceivably could have predicted that Mayweather would get the better of Hatton on the inside?

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.