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09 Dec 2007 07:57
Floyd Mayweather Jr retained his World Boxing Council welterweight title with a 10th round stoppage of Britain’s Ricky Hatton on Saturday, the American setting up the win with two knockdowns.
In the biggest match-up of undefeated welterweights since Oscar de la Hoya and Felix Trinidad clashed in 1999, Mayweather dropped Hatton to the canvas midway through the round before the referee stepped in to end the fight when the Briton went down again moments later.
American Mayweather, hailed as the world’s best fighter pound-for-pound, improved his career record to 39-0 with 25 knockouts.
Hatton, known for his hand and foot speed, took the early initiative by pinning his opponent against the ropes whenever possible and held a slight advantage after the first six rounds.
Mayweather, however, was more accurate with his jabs and stunned the Briton with a right in the eighth round before following up with a flurry of jabs.
Sensing he had taken control, the 30-year-old American dominated the ninth round by landing several combinations with Hatton largely ineffective.
Although Hatton began the 10th round aggressively, Mayweather floored his opponent with a big left hook and then unleashed another after his challenger had recovered.
Hatton (43-1) was sent sprawling into the neutral corner and referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight one minute and 35 seconds into the round.
It was the first defeat of Hatton’s career after a run of 43 victories, including 31 knockouts.
Saturday’s showdown at the 16 800-seat MGM Grand arena was broadcast to 180 countries with gate receipts in excess of $10,5-million. - Reuters
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