Ricky Hatton gets it. The guy is a media darling in the U.K. Proof positive will come this week when several thousand of his followers make the trek to Las Vegas in a terrible economy for his fight against Paulie Malignaggi. He's also smart enough to see the handwriting on the wall with the UFC.
"The Hitman" was in attendance this past weekend at UFC 91 and met with B.J. Penn. He also popped off a great line to The Sun about how scary Brock Lesnar is:
"Brock's a big bloke, isn't he? If you found him in bed with your girlfriend you'd tuck him in!"
Hatton did something so few folks in boxing are willing to and that's admit the sport needs to steal some things from MMA:
"Boxing can learn so much from MMA. The presentation really is first class. The UFC do so much more to build the atmosphere up for the fans in the arena before the fights. By the time the fight comes on you are really ready for it - you can't wait."
From top-to-bottom, the recent Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. card could down as the worst major boxing cards ever. Hatton says boxing needs to stack its cards more often:
"The whole of UFC 91 was great - not just the main event - and rather than boxing ignore it or pretend it isn't as big as it is, it should take a leaf out of the UFC's book and start getting the crowd more involved with the show. The UFC has big screens all around the arena with pre-fight interviews on before the fight - why can't boxing promoters in the UK do something like that?"
The UFC has been doing this stuff for at least six years and boxing has stubbornly resisted getting with the times. Boxing fans can argue all they want but all you need to see is that a very hyped fight like Calzaghe-Jones Jr. did just 225,000 pay-per-view buys to understand there's trouble on the horizon.
Photo via The Sun
- Ricky Hatton