“Your hear how hard they are hitting each other, the little groans and cries.” “its horrible, but you know it is also fantastic.” So said champion boxer Ricky Hatton’s trainer Billy Graham, I understand exactly what Billy means for I too am a fight fan and I regularly suffer pangs of guilt for being one. There is often a great dignity about boxers and not only those who rise to the top of their profession but also amongst amateur fighters too. There is a confidence about many of these guys that most men do not possess and they seem to me to have very little bitterness against their fellow man. Of course you cannot generalize about such things but watching a fighter in his prime, who has peripheral vision, perfect balance and reflexes that come into play with the speed of lighting is to watch a great artist at work; and when they have the dignity and humility of say Mohammed Ali tears can almost come to your eyes.
I kept away from the sport for many years after coming away a from a local amateur clubs boys show appalled at the behavior of some of the parents when supporting their sons. In truth they behaved like animals demanding that their child beat their opponents into a pulp. It was not a pretty sight, think touch line parent at a local soccer match only far worse. I vowed never again to go to another live boxing match and I have stuck to that, although I still watch boxing on the television.
Of course it hardly surprising that most professional boxers seem to despise the majority of punters who pay to see them fight, as they have all experienced at some time in their careers a time when the crowd bayed for their blood.
Never the less in the early hours of tomorrow morning I will be up listening to the radio as Ricky Hatton takes on Floyd Mayweather. Whilst boxing is full of hype this particular fight is the real thing, comparable to Mohammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle as both of these guys are at the very pinnacle of their profession. Floyd Mayweather may well be the type of guy one hopes does not become ones son in law, but as a boxer his standing is comparable with the two Sugar Rays. One only has to look at Ricky Hatton’s face and score card to see he is a bruiser like Rocky Marciano, he loves targetting the rib cage.
This will be a very tough test for Ricky Hatton but if he pulls it off he really will deserve his handle the ‘hitman’.