16 years ago this past Thursday, Ricky Hatton pulled an upset, beating Kostya Tszyu for the IBF 140-pound title in Manchester. It was a great night for Hatton and for British boxing, which at the time didn’t have the world stage presence it does now, what with several world champions and what have you.
Hatton remembered that night as being obviously the best of his career, and says he feels that in that shape, with a referee like Dave Parris who let the fight be a fight, he feels he might well have beaten anyone — including Floyd Mayweather.
“I’m not saying I was a better fighter than Floyd. But the right tactics on the right night at the right time? Even the best can be beaten,” Hatton said on The Boxing Show. “If I fought him on that night, I think I might have beaten him.”
Mayweather, though he retired at 50-0 (27 KO) after a 2017 win over Conor McGregor, really isn’t unbeatable. Hatton’s right, nobody is truly unbeatable. That Mayweather went 50-0 is remarkable, but you can argue he should have had a loss to Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, too.
There’s no question Mayweather fairly beat Hatton in 2007, really. But Hatton and his fans have long blamed referee Joe Cortez, whose style of controlling the fight, they allege, took Hatton’s best chance away from him.
Would Ricky have beaten Mayweather if he’d been in the form he was against Tszyu, with a more lenient referee? Or, the better question I guess, would he have had a legitimate chance at beating Mayweather with those conditions?