Lovemore N'dou retained his IBO welterweight title today after drawing with Matthew Hatton in England. Official scores were 115-114 N'dou, 115-114 Hatton and 114-114. Bad Left Hook (between Brick and myself covering about half the fight each) had it for N'dou 116-112, but from what I could tell, the draw isn't really controversial.
Truth be told, neither man looked particularly sharp or anything close to world class. N'dou (47-11-2, 31 KO) hadn't sparred in five weeks after suffering a cut in training that threatened to cancel the bout, and Hatton (37-4-2, 14 KO) just wasn't able to show that he's made any truly major strides under Lee Beard. There is no doubt that the 28-year-old Hatton has gotten better, but he remains a rather ordinary fighter, a journeyman-type with a famous last name. He's got heart to burn and is a quite likable sort, but it's just not there. Neither he nor Ricky are particularly naturally skilled, but Ricky has/had far more power and just picked up on things better, it would seem.
I'm not bashing Matthew at all. Again, I like him and have nothing in the world against him, but N'dou is 38, looked rusty in there, and is the sort of fighter one should beat if one is going to make any great leaps in boxing. Hatton couldn't do it.
It wouldn't surprise me at all to see a rematch come about. The fight had trouble just getting made from N'dou's side, and Lovemore showed guts sticking with the fight and having it come off. Both will probably feel there's unfinished business. I'd have to favor a properly-trained N'dou were a rematch to come about, because I don't see Matthew getting any better than he is, and he was able to benefit from Lovemore being sloppy in there.
On the undercard, a fight between knockaround guys Cello Renda and Phil Samuels stole the show for the evening. Samuels (20-7-2, 12 KO) was knocked down in the first, but both of them went down on mirror left hooks in the second round, the ever-rare double knockdown. Samuels stormed Renda and stopped him in the third. It was all action. Terrific fight. Renda is now 18-8-1 (11).
In a crossroads bout, Scott Lawton (27-5-1, 6 KO) scored a rare stoppage by getting Derry Matthews (21-4, 11 KO) out in the sixth. Matthews, 26, has now lost four of his last five, all by knockout. To say he's hit a rough patch is a great understatement.
Gary Buckland (17-1, 6 KO) was sensational in a first-round stoppage of Istvan Hangy (12-6, 7 KO).