Hatton hammers Malignaggi

Ricky Hatton continued his unbeaten run at light-welterweight by outclassing Paulie Malignaggi with an 11th-round stoppage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Ricky Hatton continued his unbeaten run at light-welterweight by outclassing Paulie Malignaggi with an 11th-round stoppage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Hatton, breaking from his trademark brawling style in his first fight under new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr, looked a different class against the slick but light-punching Malignaggi.

The victory took Hatton’s professional record to 45-1 (32 KOs) in the same ring he had suffered his only defeat almost a year earlier, a 10th round stoppage by Floyd Mayweather Jr at welterweight.

This time it was Hatton, 30, bringing proceedings to any early halt as referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to record a TKO verdict when Malignaggi’s corner retired their man 28 seconds into the penultimate round.

The Hatton contingent was well down on the 30,000 that poured in Las Vegas for last December’s superfight with Mayweather Jr but they still formed a very vocal majority inside the arena, which promoters Golden Boy had seen fit to reduce the capacity from more than 17,000 to 12,000.

Malignaggi was booed into the ring, whereas Hatton brought the arena alive wearing his ’fat suit’ and with Oasis duo Liam and Noel Gallagher carrying his Ring Magazine and IBO title belts.

Hatton had promised a more measured approach than had been seen in his recent fights and that certainly seemed the case in the opening round as the Englishman eased back on his bulldozing go forward style.

Despite promising to move his head more, though, Malignaggi did land some telling left leads and with a minute to go caught Hatton with a right hook though none of his blows appeared to trouble the champion.

Hatton was more aggressive in the second round and had Malignaggi in big trouble in the final minute, landing a big right hook that had the New Yorker hanging on to his rival.

Hatton continued the assault as Malignaggi tried to regain his senses and again breached the defences with a straight left that landed a glancing blow as the bell sounded.

Malignaggi tried to take the initiative in the third round as he went after Hatton, but ’the Hitman’ was still landing the more telling blows and again landed a big left hook in the closing 30 seconds that had the crowd on its feet.

The start of the fourth round was delayed as Hatton’s corner had to make running repairs to their fighter’s right glove. Malignaggi jumped on his opponent when the bell eventually sounded but Hatton was soon back in control and caught the American with a straight left that caught his man on the nose and rocked back his head.

It was, seemingly, another round to the more aggressive Hatton but the fifth was a more cagey affair. Malignaggi was managing to breach Hatton’s defences but he was failing to land or put his rival in trouble.

Hatton was back in business in the sixth, landing with the left again, and although Malignaggi closed well he was still not appearing to hurt the champion.

When Hatton landed he certainly made his punches count and he opened the seventh in convincing fashion, landing another left jab flush on the game Malignaggi.

Having weathered that storm, Malignaggi was on the receiving end again as Hatton, bouncing on his toes, went back for more, ignoring the American’s hits to the head to land his own combinations.

Hatton went on the offensive once again in the eighth and had Malignaggi back pedalling as he began to throw bigger, arcing rights over the top.

It was another straight left that really had the him in trouble, though, and Malignaggi appeared to wobble under the force, again reaching out to Hatton’s waist as if to use his rival to stay upright.

Hatton began the ninth with another big left, this time a hook, but there was a brief hiatus as Hatton once again had problems with his right glove and had to return to his corner.

He was soon back in action and though Malignaggi was willing there was as yet no indication that he was on the brink of dealing Hatton a decisive blow.

As the bell sounded it was Hatton who cut a far more positive figure returning to his stool.

The feeling was obviously running strongly in referee Kenny Bayless’ mind and in Malignaggi’s corner as 28 seconds into 11th round, with Hatton once more displaying all the aggression.

Malignaggi’s trainer Buddy McGirt had climbed onto the ring apron and referee Bayless called a halt to proceedings, much to the American’s annoyance as the Hatton fans chanted “easy, easy” in celebration of their man.

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