Taking My Hat off for Hatton
By Luke Dodemaide (June 5, 2005) 
Photo © Mr.Will/ HoganPhotos.com
Well that's it for Kostya Tszyu. In the early hours of the Manchester morning, after eleven of the toughest and ugliest rounds you can ever imagine, Kostya Tszyu shook his head from his corner stool, conceding defeat, relinquishing his grip on the 140 pound world championship and the stranglehold he had held on the division since he became champion for the second time way back in 1997.

For eight years the Australian had reigned supreme, but on this Manchester Sunday morning, Ricky Hatton brawled, bustled and hustled his way to victory, ushering the division into a new era, one without Kostya Tszyu firmly at the helm.

Hatton has already achieved the world championship status himself, Frank Warren and his thousands of loyal fans have dreamed of since he began his in his first fight at Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes, England eight years ago.

Now the young Stockport native really begins his quest for greatness. So as one journey comes to an end, another begins. And if in the passing of the torch that we witnessed as the sun rose in Manchester this morning, Kostya passed anything more than the title to his combatant, Hatton will be there for a while.

The uncommon and unusual hour of this event now seems so appropriate. King Kostya is dead; this is the dawn of a new era in the super lightweight division. These days Ricky Hatton is the ruler of the deepest division in the sport and though there are many suitors clamoring to cozen his crown, Hatton indicated in his performance this morning that he is a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

While many will mourn the Tszyu's loss, I for one turned off the television tonight with the feeling of admiration and appreciation for a career wonderfully fulfilled. It seems no one in boxing goes out a winner, so as gallant and gracious loser to a fantastic fighter and true gentlemen in Ricky Hatton, I feel as though this ending to Tszyu's great career is one free of tragedy.

Tszyu has been one to talk of and contemplate his retirement for these past couple of years, and I sensed through Tszyu's appraisal and admiration for Hatton that Kostya is a man at peace with his career and the legacy that he has left in the sport.

And what better man to leave as your successor? Ricky Hatton is an honest gentleman atop of a truly brutal game. He is someone who portrays a positive image of the sport to not only Britain, but the rest of the world.

So as Kostya Tszyu rides into the sunset, Ricky Hatton strides to his first major championship victory.

How appropriate.

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