IT was the perfect storm of contrasting fighting styles and of personalities and backgrounds, built on one’s status as the finest of their era, and another then seen as his greatest threat. Ten years have passed since Ricky Hatton’s fight with Floyd Mayweather captured the British imagination in a way no other ever has, delivering an authentic and absorbing superfight build-up that revealed more than ever of two of boxing’s most compelling characters, and a degree of tension and fascination that even those involved did not expect.
Undefeated represented not only the world’s finest light-welterweight stepping up to 147lbs to challenge the world’s very best at what had become his fighting weight, but Mayweather’s first fight since furthering his reputation as an all-time great and becoming the sport’s biggest figure with his defeat of Oscar De La Hoya. The belief was also that the time was right for Britain’s most popular fighter to dare to do what it was felt no other could: to force him into an attritional affair and to inflict his first defeat.
If it was an occasion unlike any other Hatton had known, it also presented Mayweather with circumstances he had never previously encountered. What was at first perceived to be a task beyond the Mancunian’s abilities evolved, through confidence taken from the novel Mayweather-Hatton 24/7 series and a significant shift among observers, into an optimism his conviction and intensity could overcome the American’s extraordinary skills.