by Jeremy "Fasttalker" Bjornberg - 06/06/2005
In a shocking upset, Kostya Tszyu was battered into quitting on his stool after 11 rounds by Ricky Hatton. Kostya came off as a 2.5 to 1 favorite and seemed to be well prepared to beat Hatton. Kostya made a brave move by going to England for the battle to fight their best fighter. I didn't think Hatton had the kind of talent to dominate Kostya but he was definitely up to the task.
Hatton went right after Tszyu at the bell and used great head movement and punches in bunches to not only outbox but wear down the older future Hall of Famer. Kostya did have his moments in the fight as he was able to catch Hatton rushing in, but overall it was a dominant performance by Hatton, who becomes the undisputed champ at 140 as well as moving to 39-0.
It was the greatest performance I have ever seen by a British fighter. I am not saying Hatton is above Lennox Lewis, just that this performance was done against the top fighter at the division and done devastatingly and in shocking fashion. I never thought Kostya could be defeated by Hatton and this has to go down as the upset of the year. Doc's also took a loss here but we will be quicker to recover than Tszyu. I fear we have seen the end of his great career. Kostya is one of the classiest champs in history as well as one of the best. I suspect he will retire as he is not one to fight if he can't be the best, and from what I saw of Hatton it will be impossible for Kostya to beat him.
Hatton was winning the fight slightly in my eyes all night but in round nine the tide turned considerably. Kostya landed a very disputable low blow that dropped Hatton. From the replay it looked like a legit knockdown. The ref ruled it low and when action continued, Hatton lead off with a leaping low blow right to the family jewels of Tszyu. Kostya went down and took a minute or two to recover but it was officially over at that point.
Kostya normally is able to not only outbox, but also outmuscle and outdirty all his opponents. Hatton succeeded on breaking Kostya's will by beating him in all three categories previously mentioned. From that point on Kostya looked defeated and was even backpedaling around the ring as Hatton was even winning the exchanges of right hands.
Despite the beating he was taking I was still shocked that Kostya quit before round 12. Either Kostya has a bit of dog in him or he didn't catch the stunning come from behind victory by Diego Corrales a month earlier. Maybe I was a bit partial because I was betting heavily but either way it was not a move expected from the caliber of man that Kostya is. In defense to Kostya his cheekbone looked really swollen and he wasn't able to shut his mouth so I suspect he may have broken his jaw or cheekbone.
Hatton officially puts himself in the pound-for-pound mix and should have his choice of great fights. My question and wonder is whether he will fight bums and fringe contenders rather than Vivian Harris or the winner of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Arturo Gatii battle.
As for the coming weekend HBO is broadcasting live a match between 140-pound contenders Miguel Cotto and Mohamed Abdulaev will battle it out to see who is the better pro. The fight takes place Saturday at 10 PM (ET). Abdulaev elimininated Cotto in the Olympics and Cotto is eager for revenge. Both fighters have great skills and it should be a great matchup.
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