8. December 8, 2007 – KO 10 Ricky Hatton, MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Moments after scoring a signature one-punch body shot knockout of Jose Luis Castillo, Ricky Hatton’s mouth ended up writing him a giant check.
“I think you saw more action in these four rounds than you saw value-for-money in Floyd’s whole career,” Hatton said. Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s aide-de-camp, reported that Mayweather turned to him and said “make the f*****g fight happen.”
Hatton entered the fight with a pristine 43-0 (31) record, but skeptics pointed out that all but one of them were collected at 140. That one, a decision over Luis Collazo for the WBA welterweight title, was a nearly life-and-death struggle and proved beyond doubt that 147 was not Hatton’s best weight. Nonetheless, the contrast in styles promised an interesting mix because Hatton’s uncompromising aggression and furious infighting would force Mayweather’s fertile boxing mind into overdrive.
The fight might have been staged in Mayweather’s adopted home town, but the atmospherics inside the MGM Grand were pure Manchester as thousands of Hatton-ites sung, chanted and cheered non-stop. Hatton gave them plenty of ammo early as his smothering tactics reduced Mayweather to a one-at-a-time counterpuncher. Still, Mayweather landed enough well-timed rights to open a gash over Hatton’s right eye in the third and Hatton lost a point in the sixth for rabbit punching.
The seventh saw Mayweather slowly adjust to his demanding environment and by the eighth “Money” had finally found his range. Several strong uppercuts nailed the onrushing Hatton and a flurry late in the round had the gritty Brit on the verge of going down. The hot pace began to tell on Hatton, who in the ninth did more mauling than punching.
The end came with stunning dispatch. As Mayweather retreated toward the corner pad, he waited for Hatton to come at him. The moment Hatton cocked his left hand to throw a hook, Mayweather took a half-step back and blasted a check-hook off Hatton’s jaw. Hatton stumbled face-first into the corner pad and fell on his back for an eight-count. After Hatton pushed himself up, Mayweather concluded matters with a flurry highlighted by another hook that scored a second knockdown and prompted referee Joe Cortez to wave off the fight at the 1:35 mark.