Published Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008 | 6:45 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008 | 11 p.m.
The pro-British crowd was clearly on his side Saturday night, and Ricky Hatton certainly didn't disappoint his large legion of fans inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Hatton dominated New Yorker Paulie Malignaggi on his way to a TKO victory in the 11th round of their title fight.
The bout between the top two junior welterweights was one-sided as Hatton won every round on at least one of the three judge's scorecards. All three, Jerry Roth, Duane Ford, and Glenn Trowbridge, scored the fight 99-91 after 10 rounds.
"I just wanted to thank all my fans from Great Britain, and all my fans in the United States," Hatton said, addressing the boisterous crowd of 9,053 that sang their supportive cheers from start to finish. Celebrities sitting ringside included British superstars David Beckham, Jason Statham and members of the band Oasis. They were joined by American screen legend Sylvester Stallone.
Fighting in the same ring that gave him is lone loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last December, Hatton, who came out in his patented baby blue Ricky Fat-ton suit, credited his newly developed speed and quickness to his new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.
"I enjoyed it this time better than I did last time — that's for sure," said Hatton, who retained his Ring Magazine and IBO belts. "Nobody will beat me at junior welterweight — nobody.
"I was in a new camp with Floyd and I showed a lot of my new stuff in this fight," said Hatton, who worked out with the legendary trainer in Las Vegas for the last seven weeks. "I was getting frustrated in the fight because Paulie is a lot tougher fighter than you would think. I think I hurt him too early on but slowly but surely Floyd got me back to the new me."
But Malignaggi very rarely used the right hand that he broke in his last outing. He was unable to land any power punches, sticking strictly to his left jab and trying to elude Hatton.
"I just couldn't get to him," Malignaggi said. "I couldn't hit him."
In the later rounds, Hatton, who was a 2-to-1 favorite in Las Vegas sports book, looked for the knockout.
He wouldn't get it, but he did get the TKO in the 11th round after Malignaggi's trainer, Buddy McGirt, threw in the towel.
"My guy was hurting and I wanted him to live to fight another day," said McGirt, who was rejected by Malignaggi when he tried to hug him afterwards. "I would rather have him mad at me stopping the fight than let him get hurt and never fight again."
A disappointed Malignaggi said he didn't understand the reason behind the stoppage.
"I tip my hat off to Ricky, but I was in worse off in the (Miguel) Cotto fight," Malignaggi said. "They didn’t stop it then, why should they stop it now?"
Hatton — who improved to 45-1, earned $2.5 million for the fight — said he would love a shot at the winner of next month's Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao.
"Bring it on. I'd definitely like to do it," he said,
Round-by-Round Updates (8:00 p.m.)
First Round: The fighters end up in a couple of brief clinches, and Hatton looks to referee Kenny Bayless as if to say they weren’t his fault. Malignaggi gets off a couple of rights with the boxers entangled. Another clinch, which Hatton breaks with a right to the body. Hatton lands a short right hand to Malignaggi’s jaw. Malignaggi fires a straight right, then ducks as Hatton tries to counter. Malignaggi is fighting his trademark elusive style. Hatton lands a few punches on the inside. Close round to Hatton.
Second Round: Malignaggi continues to work his jab. Hatton connects with a couple of rights, momentarily forcing Malignaggi back. Hatton is moving forward but Malignaggi is countering well. Hatton unleashes a couple of uppercuts as his fans exult. Hatton’s round.
Third Round: Malignaggi’s face shows some bruising, a result of Hatton’s straight rights landing cleanly. Malignaggi is still using the jab to solid effect. Hatton breaks out of yet another short clinch with a powerful short right. Both men are mixing it up on the inside. Hatton tries to convince Bayless that Malignaggi is causing the clinches, and he might be right. Hatton is working the body and getting the best of Malignaggi in the clinches. Hatton temporarily wobbles Malignaggi and takes another round.
Fourth Round: Hatton lands the first couple of shots before Malignaggi responds with a sharp jab. Hatton works in a left then an overhand right before the fighters have to be separated. Hatton lands a left to Malignaggi’s jaw. Hatton continues to dictate the tempo, backing Malignaggi up. Malignaggi punches his way out of a clinch but does not appear to do much damage. Hatton’s round.
Fifth Round: The area around Hatton’s left eye is swelling a bit as both men’s faces have visible damage. Hatton connects with a vicious left. Hatton is moving forward at will. Malignaggi has not demonstrated any power. Hatton moves in behind his jab into another clinch. Round for Hatton.
Sixth Round: Both men have swelling around the left eye although Malignaggi’s face appears more “beat up” overall. Malignaggi lands a couple of effective jabs before they start wrestling for a moment. Hatton is inactive for a stretch but Malignaggi can’t capitalize. Hatton closes with a couple of solid left hands to take the round.
Seventh Round: Hatton backs him up with a couple of strong body blows. Hatton lands a left to the body with Malignaggi in the corner. Hatton connects on a couple of cleanly landed shots as his fans roar. Hatton with a big swing and a miss as the crowd oohs and aahs. Hatton jars Malignaggi with a right, follows a moment later with a left hook. Hatton wins another.
Eighth Round: Malignaggi leads with a jab and connects with a stinging straight right. Hatton is firing short shots as the fighters continually clinch. Malignaggi cannot effectively follow up on his impressive right hand as Hatton stays in control.
Ninth Round: Hatton opens with a left hook to the jaw, and follows with another crushing left. There’s a short delay as Hatton gets his glove retaped. Malignaggi continues to dance and backpedal as he eats Hatton’s punches. Hatton mixes uppercuts with body shots with most of the action taking place in close. Malignaggi unleashes a couple of jabs but can’t match Hatton’s power. Hatton stays in control.
Tenth Round: Malignaggi finally shows some activity, landing a flurry of punches in the early going of the round. Malignaggi continues to snap off jabs, and Hatton responds with a couple of big cuts with no contact. A series of clinches follows, Bayless steps in to break up the fighters. Malignaggi did just enough to take the round.
Eleventh Round: Hatton chases Malignaggi, catches him and lands some shots to the body followed by an uppercut. Malignaggi is showing little. Acknowledging the inevitable, Malignaggi’s corner throws in the towel.
Kirkland stays unbeaten (7:40 p.m.)
HBO’s first televised bout of the night featured a pair of Texans doing battle.
James Kirkland (23-0, 20 KOs) of Austin, knocked Brian Vera (16-1, 10 KOs) down in the second round.
The two exchanged a flurry of punches in the second stanza, but it was Kirkland, once again, dropping Vera into the ropes right before the bell sounded.
For the first time this evening, Ricky Hatton’s patented “Walking in a Hatton Wonderland,” song from British fans reverberated around the MGM arena. The Brits must have finished their pints (for now) and are making the trek from the casino’s bar to the arena.
Vera and Kirkland exchanged plenty of big blows, mostly be Kirkland, over the next couple of rounds.
In the eighth, Kirkland knocked Vera down again. Referee Vic Drakulich stepped in at 1:45 and stopped the bout as Kirkland delivered another big blow to the defenseless Vera.
"I hope to do bigger and better things with HBO and Golden Boy Promotions in the near future," Kirkland said.
Hatton's already a winner (6:45 p.m.)
British fans welcomed Matthew Hatton, the younger brother of junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton, to the MGM Grand Garden arena by waving the blue and red flag of the United Kingdom, while a band, comprised of fans in the stands, played spirited music.
The festive activities offer a preview to come of Saturday night’s main event as the elder Hatton puts his Ring magazine and IBO titles on the line against Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi.
As fans continued to file in the casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Hatton forced the action on opponent, Ben Tackie, of New York, early on their welterweight bout.
The band struck up the theme song from “Rocky,” and several other interesting tunes as the fight’s intensity picked up.
Hatton ran into a little trouble in the later rounds as Tackie tacked the Manchester, England boxer with a couple quality shots.
Both fighters raised their hands in victory as the bell sounded, but it was Hatton that recorded a victory by unanimous decision (98-92, 97-93, 98-92) to the delight of the pro-U.K. crowd.
Adrian Gonzalez won in his pro debut, defeating Jose Pachecho by unanimous decision in a swing bout.
Heriberto Ruiz won his junior featherweight fight, defeating Rey Bautista by unanimous decision.
Welterweight Sirimongkol Singwancha, of Thailand, defeated Sacramento native Rogelio Castaneda by majority decision, with scores of 80-72, 78-74, and 76-76.
Philly native Danny Oscar Garcia (9-0), defeated fellow welterweight Adam Hernandez by unanimous decision. Both fighters had a point deducted for low blows in the final two rounds.
Adrian Broner scored a TKO victory in the sixth and final round over Las Vegas’ Terrance Jett. All four of Broner’s victories have come via knockout.
Houston native Hylon Williams got the day’s events started at the MGM with a unanimous decision win over Ramon Flores to improve to 6-0.