In an exclusive interview with BBC on May 21, former light welterweight and welterweight champion Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton said the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight on May 2 "was damaging for the sport."
Ricky Hatton has said it: The Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight was damaging for the sport of boxing.
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Hatton, who fought both Pacquiao and Mayweatther, poured out his sentiments on the "Fight of the Century" to BBC's Ben Dirs on May 21:
"It was damaging for the sport. I can't imagine there is anyone out there saying they loved it. Considering they're two all-time greats, the money they walked away with, what the fans had to pay, it was all a bit of a letdown.
"Then when Manny blamed his defeat on a shoulder injury, it soured it even further.
"Boxing has UFC (the Ultimate Fighting Championship) breathing heavily down its neck and it was the first boxing match that had crossed over into the mainstream for a long time, so we needed it to be exceptional. But there were more negatives than positives.
"If you'd got up at 5 am to watch in the UK and you hadn't seen a fight in years, you might not bother watching boxing again."
When Dirs asked Hatton if the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight could have saved boxing, he said the sport doesn't need saving as it has always stood the test of time:
"I don't think boxing needs saving from anyone -- but we are in an era that isn't as powerful as previous eras. It's certainly not a golden era of boxing.
"There are some great fighters out there apart from Mayweather and Pacquiao -- (WBA super middleweight champion) Andre Ward and (WBA middleweight champion) Gennady Golovkin spring to mind.
"But Ward, brilliant as he is, isn't that exciting. Golovkin is exciting, goes for the knockouts, but there's nobody else for him at middleweight and he might have to go up to super middle to fight Ward, which would definitely capture the public's imagination.
"But boxing is a gladiator sport. People can imagine playing football at Old Trafford or cricket at Lord's but they can't even begin to imagine fighting in front of 80,000 at Wembley. That's why boxers are so highly regarded and why boxing will always have its fans. It will never die."
Hatton also told Dirs he doesn't think Mayweather would have been a big draw during the 1990s when Roy Jones, Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker were the ones dominating headlines:
"No, I don't think so. Mayweather has proven that he's probably better than all of those names. But he is a superstar in an era of very few superstars. Floyd will be remembered for his brilliance between the ropes and for being a colorful character outside of the ring, but not for the excitement he provided.
"Mayweather is not bothered about pleasing the crowd, he's bothered about doing what he does and getting paid. He doesn't have you on the edge of your seat, let's put it that way.
"As a boxer, I sit there and watch his ability and think: 'Wow, look at his movement, that's unbelievable.' But a non-boxing person will probably be sitting there thinking: 'I've paid all this money, what the hell am I watching?!"
In another development, English middleweight fighter Martin Murray told ESPN's Nick Parkinson on May 21 he believes not even Mayweather has what it takes to beat Golovkin:
"Maybe not even Mayweather can stop Golovkin.
"It would be hard to bet against Mayweather, but Golovkin is bigger and stronger than him. You are talking about Golovkin being two weight divisions above Mayweather and the difference in size would be ridiculous.
"They are both outstanding in their respective weight divisions. You can never bet against Mayweather the way he makes top fighters look ordinary, but there's a massive size difference between them. But the fight won't happen. It's just fantasy.
"Mayweather won't want to end his career with a fight too dangerous and it's too much of a risk for him to fight Golovkin. He's always careful with who he picks as an opponent so I just can't see it.
"There's no need for Mayweather to finish his career with a ridiculously hard fight like Golovkin.
"Golovkin is a punching machine and I can't see anyone beating him at the moment as a middleweight -- definitely not (Miguel) Cotto and I don't think Canelo (Alvarez) either. At super middleweight, it might be a different story if he moves up."
Murray, whom Golovkin stopped via an 11th-round TKO in February, told Parkinson on Thursday Golovkin simply has too much in his arsenal for somebody like Mayweather to beat him:
"There is no one thing that makes him so special because he has all the attributes and they compliment each other.
"He hits really hard and takes a shot well. His variety of punches surprised me the most. You don't know where they are coming from and he's good at opening up opponents. My defense is good but he had me down a couple of times.
"He found ways of getting through into little gaps where no one has done to me before. He's relentless and is on you all the time. When you hit him with a couple of shots he just takes them and comes back. He's got everything."
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