The last time Ricky Hatton visited the MGM Grand in Las Vegas he came up snake eyes as Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped him in the 10th round. This past Saturday, nearly a year later, "The Hit Man" hit the jackpot. With his conqueror's father as his chief second, Hatton steamrolled Paul Malignaggi en route to an 11th round TKO victory.
The final numbers ultimately reflected Hatton's dominance as he landed 124 of his 516 punches (24 percent) overall to Malignaggi's 91 of 342 (27 percent), averaging 46.9 punches per round to the "Magic Man's" 31.1. Given the contrast in styles, Malignaggi needed to build a huge gap in jabs while Hatton had to rule in power punches. The jab that was so magnificent in Malignaggi's first fight with Lovemore N'dou was effectively neutralized by Hatton's pressure, though he did rack up larger raw numbers in every round but the 11th (a 0-0 tie). Only once did Malignaggi register double-digit jab connects (15 in the sixth) and his 66 of 209 jabs (32 percent) showed he averaged just 19 jabs per round, a far cry from the 40.5 in Malignaggi-N'dou I. Meanwhile, Hatton's previously dormant jab showed signs of improvement under Mayweather Sr.'s tutelage. While his 25 of 139 (18 percent) is no great shakes it helped him set up the effective power punches that followed.
On the other hand Hatton more than did his job in the power punch category. Hatton was 99 of 377 (26 percent) to Malignaggi's 25 of 133 (19 percent). As expected, Hatton out-performed his challenger in every round and reached double-digit connects in five of the 10 completed rounds - including rounds seven through 10.
Aside from a late rally in round one and some moments in the fifth and sixth rounds, Hatton was in command because his singular power punches shook Malignaggi to his core. The numbers over the first six rounds, however, showed Malignaggi with a 58-53 edge in overall connects and a 41-12 edge in landed jabs while Hatton built a 41-17 advantage in power connects. The results of Hatton's unyielding pressure and vastly superior power manifested themselves in rounds seven through 10. During that stretch Hatton was 64 of 197 (32.5 percent) to Malignaggi's 33 of 114 (28.9 percent) overall, including a withering 51-8 bulge in power connects.
The unenviable equation soon became clear to Malignaggi's trainer Buddy McGirt. Far behind on points and needing a dramatic knockout to save the fight, McGirt knew his man didn't have the heft to pull it off. With only five career knockouts (and only two in the last seven years), McGirt told Malignaggi he needed to show him something or else he would stop the fight. He did just that at 48 seconds of the 11th, and though the proud Malignaggi protested his trainer's move the numbers supported McGirt's move. Hatton landed 7 of 14 overall (and 7 of his 13 power shots) while Malignaggi land none of his four attempted blows.
With the victory Hatton is in line for a multi-million dollar shot against the De La Hoya-Pacquiao winner while Malignaggi is left to ponder his next move. Such are the fortunes of big time boxing.
Posted 12:00 AM | Nov 23, 2008
HBO WCB - Nov. 22, 2008