Boxing needs Left Hook and Hitman
By Aaron Imholte (October 9, 2004) 
Photo © Mr.Will/
If an outsider were to view the current state of affairs in boxing one would say it is closed to being finished. With Roy, Mike, and Oscar all on the fall, who could blame them? All the stars of today have either been knocked out, or retired (think Lennox Lewis). Even our new 'Golden Boy' is hitting his golden years. Felix Trinidad is the only superstar left in the sport who has time on his side. But one guy just isn't enough.

To find the new class of superstars you can't just expect them to pop up and slap you in the face until you take notice. You have to look for them and turn to them to carry the torch for tomorrow. Guys in their twenties who are just starting to hit their championship stride. Guys who can provide excitement every time they step through the ropes, and I think we have found just the guys to carry that torch.

Jeff 'Left Hook' Lacy has all the qualifications for a world class sports superstar. He has an Olympic medal, an undefeated record, amazing power in both hands with determination and aggressiveness to match, and now a world title belt at super middleweight. Put this guy in the ring with a Trinidad or Calzaghe in about 6 or 7 months and maybe we will discover this generation's Marvin Hagler.

Ricky 'Hitman' Hatton is one of the most exciting fighters to come out of England in a long time. He packs a hell of a punch and, like Lacy, he is aggressive and constantly presses the action. He currently holds a 37-0 record and the WBU light welterweight title. If his manager, Frank Warren, would turn his kid loose in America many are confident that he could do some real damage against real titleholders. Perhaps a move up in weight one class to welterweight is in order. With Hatton in the mix there are some very good fights to be made at 147. Hatton-Judah, Hatton-Spinks and Hatton-Cintron are all very entertaining fights no matter which one you choose.

The only question you may have now is, do these guys have the public savvy and charisma to attract attention from mainstream sports fans? Look, people love heavy hitters. This is why were talking about Lacy and Hatton instead of Cory Spinks as boxing's future. If you can find a good young American kid like Lacy who can knock anyone out, is confident in his skills and can talk a little trash outside the ring, you have just unlocked the secret to almost every successful pugilistic career. Would Mike Tyson have made boxing the biggest sport in the world in the 1980's without his devastating punch and intimidating stares? You need a punch and you need a gimmick.

Hatton is also a no-brainer as a big draw in the future. English fighters, for some reason, are always talked about in America. Lennox Lewis was never the most liked boxer in the world but people ALWAYS talked about him. Being the future draw of this sport does not mean people have to like you. Hatton has alot of confidence and if you have ever listened to him you know he can do his fair share of talking. Hatton, with time, could become that guy from across the pond that Americans love to hate. This would make a Hatton-Spinks matchup a very marketable fight in terms of a US vs. UK kind of theme.

Now throw in future stars like Kassim Ouma, Miguel Cotto, Dominick Guinn and Samuel Peter and you have a brilliant class of lower weight fighters with heavyweights who won't do anything overly spectacular, but can hold their own. With Hatton and Lacy at the forefront, maybe boxing isn't as bad as this angry pessimist thought it to be after the Roy Jones loss. If you think about it, it's actually kind of exciting.
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