May 13, 2006

‘Hitman’ Hatton wins welterweight decision over Collazo

By Mike Shalin

BOSTON (Reuters) - Ricky Hatton added the first world
welterweight title to his haul with a unanimous points decision
over World Boxing Association champion Luis Collazo over 12
bruising rounds in Boston on Saturday.

The Englishman, who stepped up from junior welterweight to
improve his record to 41-0 (30 knockouts), floored Collazo 15
seconds into the fight and had him bleeding from the mouth and
forehead throughout, but southpaw Collazo battled back in a
grueling tussle.

In a tight contest Hatton was ahead on all three cards --
115-112, 115-112, 114-113 -- to give the pride of Manchester
the belt to add to his junior welterweight world titles.

"He was stronger than I thought he would be," Hatton said.
"It's a good test at a new weight. I need to grow into this new
weight. This was my first fight at 147 (pounds) and it was a
title fight. I'll get better."

After Hatton floored his heavier opponent, Collazo produced
the more venomous selection of punches and almost put his
opponent on the canvas in a thrilling final round.

Hatton fought the last three rounds with a severe swelling
under his left eye, but apparently never bled from the injury.

"Hatton was out on his feet in the 12th," said Collazo. "I
thought I out-boxed him and was stronger. I thought a guy had
to do more than he did to take my title."

Collazo, who fell to 26-2 with the loss, started the second
defense of the title in shaky fashion.

He said he was caught by a Hatton left after the referee
told the fighter to break, but he rallied and took the
entertaining bout to Hatton.

"I think there should be an immediate rematch and I'll see
everybody back in England," he said.

Prior to the Hatton fight, a moment of silence was observed
by the crowd of 7,915 for former heavyweight champion Floyd
Patterson, who died Thursday at the age of 71.