The Hitman vs. The Mauler
By Julian Kasdin (November 25, 2005)  
This Saturday, from the Fallam FM Arena, Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton, 39-0 (29), takes on Carlos Maussa, 20-2 (18), in the first defense of his junior welterweight championship. Hatton shocked much of the boxing world earlier this year when he dethroned long reigning 140 pound king, Kostya Tszyu. Up until that beating Tszyu looked virtually unstoppable, but Hatton out-muscled, out-hustled and beat down the Thunder from Down Under. The fight Saturday, at the unusual time of four in the afternoon, sees him taking on recent Vivian Harris conqueror Carlos Maussa, who I have decided to call ‘The Mauler’.

Hatton is the undisputed and undefeated 140 pound king, obviously after wresting the title from former King Kostya. Hatton has reeled off 39 straight wins, with 29 of his victims not hearing the final bell, and is just a few big wins away from pound for pound consideration. Hatton has an amazing combination of speed, power, a great chin, seemingly endless stamina and underrated technical skills. He showed all of these in shrugging off Tszyu’s bombs and coming back with his own, all the while using an effective body attack to sap his opponent’s energy. Hatton has one of the best body attacks in the game, with only people such as Jose Louis Castillo equaling his brutal body barrage. Hatton is adept at staying in his opponents’ face and grinding them down, but has also shown an ability to box from the outside. Against Maussa he should combine the two, but should focus more on grinding down the Columbian challenger. Maussa’s power is at the end of his punches, and given his awkward style crowding him is much more effective then giving him room. Hatton should stay close in, launching brutal shots to the body to tire Maussa, and then start really going to the head after round three or four.

Maussa’s biggest win to date was against Vivian Harris, as Harris looked for the big KO early but ended up tiring himself out and getting put down in the seventh round. Not to take anything away from Maussa, but Harris fought stupidly, loading up on every shot and not using much in the way of technique. Manny Steward pleaded with Harris in the corner, asking him to throw jabs and straights, but the damage was done, and by the third round Harris was running on empty. Maussa took full advantage of that, coming back with his own heat and catching the former WBA titleholder. Maussa has a very awkward style that allows him to roll with punches; it also leads to him having his best power at the end of his punches. Maussa should try and keep Hatton on the outside, targeting his head with hard straight punches. The big aim for Maussa should be to create distance as Hatton will not run out of energy like Harris, and has a proven chin, so Maussa’s goal should be to keep Hatton on the end of his punches, where his power is most effective.

This fight should end up playing out a bit like the Kostya Tszyu fight, though Maussa is neither as talented nor hard hitting as Tszyu. Hatton has to make a big showing, and therefore will probably come out early with an effective body attack, going to the head from time to time. Eventually Hatton should slow Maussa down enough that his movement becomes less of a problem, allowing Hatton to punish Maussa throughout the middle rounds leading to a stoppage somewhere between rounds six and nine. Hatton is too strong and too skilled for Maussa, and will be able to repeat Miguel Cotto’s trick. Fans must remember, Miguel Cotto did stop Maussa, and as we have seen lately Cotto does not have a great chin. I think Hatton is better and stronger then Cotto, and will be able to repeat the Puerto Rican’s performance, albeit he might be able to finish the job quicker. I predict a mid to early late round KO for King Ricky as he continues on his path to possible fights with Cotto, Mayweather and Castillo.
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