Floyd Mayweather Jr takes on Ricky Hatton in a fight billed “Undefeated.” Both men have won every time they have stepped into the ring but on Saturday, someone’s going to taste defeat for the first time. Will it be the brash “Money” Mayweather or the likeable Ricky Fatton? The undercard shapes out one of the finest fight cards of the year. If only they had taken this approach to the De La Hoya-Mayweather undercard. Hard-punching Daniel Ponce De Leon is in action as well as the return of Jeff Lacy as he takes on Peter Manfredo Jr and a rematch between Edner Cherry and Wes Ferguson.
Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Ricky Hatton
Money Line: Mayweather -225; Hatton +185
Floyd Mayweather Jr and Ricky Hatton go to war this weekend in a battle of undefeated stars. Ricky Hatton (43-0 31 KOs) will certainly do his part to make sure the fight does turn into a war while Mayweather (38-0 24 KOs) will intend to show that his Dancing With The Stars tenure was indeed a part of his training for the fight. Never one to engage when he doesn’t need to, Mayweather will try to use his superior speed to elude and frustrate the straight-forward Hatton. While Mayweather calls Las Vegas, the site for the fight, home it may be the British Ricky Hatton that has the majority of the crowd support. His native fans travel well and Hatton has been portrayed as the “good guy” on HBO’s 24/7 buildup for the fight.
Boxing pundits believe the way to beat Floyd Mayweather is to apply pressure. Ricky Hatton is the man for that job, even if it is easier said than done. Floyd Mayweather still remains the slickest boxer alive and is technically superior to Hatton. Hatton has a motor that doesn’t stop and loves to work the body, the best way to cut into an opponent’s speed advantage. While I find both men entertaining on HBO’s 24/7 series, only Hatton can match his entertainment value inside the ring. Hatton will certainly give Mayweather everything he has but it won’t be enough to win a decision, an almost certain outcome in this fight. Mayweather will simply outbox Hatton over 12 rounds. It will be a less boring version of Mayweather’s fight with Carlos Baldomir but probably on par with the De La Hoya fight in terms of in-ring entertainment.
Prediction: Mayweather by unanimous decision
Daniel Ponce De Leon vs. Eduardo Escobedo
Money Line: Ponce De Leon -1800; Escobedo +900
Escobedo is a young puncher (23 years old) that is getting his first shot at a world title. Although Ponce De Leon is just four years older, he has had 12 more fights than Escobedo including 7 world title fights. Plus, Ponce De Leon is a more ferocious puncher than Escobedo. This is the most lopsided money line of the night for good reason. Golden Boy Promotions keeps pushing Ponce De Leon onto the public but no one really cares about the super bantamweight division. He is an exciting fighter but he really needs to develop a rival to garner any interest. This one should be short and sweet.
Prediction: Ponce De Leon by TKO in the 4th round
Jeff Lacy vs. Peter Manfredo Jr
Money Line: Lacy -500; Manfredo +350
This is certainly the most intriguing fight of the night. Jeff Lacy was well on his way to becoming a star in boxing. That is until he ran into Joe Calzaghe in 2006. Calzaghe wiped the canvas with Lacy and instead vaulted himself to boxing stardom. Meanwhile, Lacy looked terrible in his next bout and nearly lost to Vitali Tsypko. Lacy cited shoulder trouble in that fight but there is a good chance Left Hook Lacy just isn’t the monster we thought he was going to be. We will find out against a game Peter Manfredo Jr. Manfredo was the runner-up on the first season of The Contender and also traveled to the United Kingdom only to get embarrassed by Joe Calzaghe. Manfredo doesn’t do one thing particularly well but also doesn’t have a glaring weakness. Unless you count not doing one thing well as a weakness. I think Lacy was exposed by Calzaghe and will not return the to the fearsome fighter he was before that fight ever in his career. Manfredo always comes prepared and seems like the best underdog to get behind on this fight card. Manfredo will outwork Lacy over the scheduled ten rounds and pull off the upset via decision.
Prediction: Manfredo by split decision
Edner Cherry vs. Wes Ferguson
Money Line: Cherry -240; Ferguson +190
I am an admitted Edner Cherry fan. I love that he is on this card. He won’t ever be a world champion but he fights an entertaining fight every time. In fact, he fought an entertaining fight with a one Wes Ferguson just this past June. Cherry won a ten round unanimous decision in their lightweight bout and this is the rematch. Cherry has not fought since then but Ferguson scored a second round TKO in September. I can’t go against the Cherry Bomb in what will likely be the only PPV fight of his career. Logic is even on my side given that Cherry already beat Ferguson. Since Ferguson didn’t get knocked out it’s hard for me to see Cherry doing it this time. Despite a spirited effort from Ferguson, Cherry will come out with a close decision victory.
Prediction: Cherry by split decision
I’m aware that the UFC is airing a show for free against this HBO PPV. Record the TUF Finale and watch this instead. The undercard is uncharacteristically strong for boxing PPVs and adds to the overall value of the show. The crowd will be electric for the main event and you have probably already picked a favorite of the two. Good matchups and a superfight main event equal a must see show.