Wilder vs Fury 2: Ricky Hatton backs Tyson Fury for victory
By Dane Massey
Last Updated: 21/02/20 11:13am
Ricky Hatton believes Tyson Fury will overcome Deontay Wilder in their rematch in Las Vegas and hopes that a Fury win will set up an all-British heavyweight unification clash with Anthony Joshua.
The former two-weight world champion was in Fury's corner for their first fight in Los Angeles in December 2018 where he witnessed the Gypsy King sensationally pick himself back up off the canvas in the final round after being heavily knocked down.
A draw was controversially awarded courtesy of the judges' scorecards after it went the distance, so both fighters have unfinished business to attend to at the MGM Grand on Saturday night.
"I think Tyson will win." Hatton said. "Tyson has the measure of Wilder. He's got to stay out of the range of Wilder's right hand and stay close to him so that he can't get the right hand off. I'm going for Tyson by points."
There is a clause in the fight's contract which includes a trilogy fight between the heavyweight pair, therefore delaying the prospect of an undisputed clash with Joshua, who currently holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
"Both Tyson and Wilder are at the top of their game. I have heard there might be a third fight but I'd like to see the winner face Anthony Joshua to find out who is the best heavyweight in the world."
The fight between Fury and Wilder has parallels to 'Super Fight II' between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in January 1974.
Ali lost the first match between the pair in 1971 on points and was knocked down in the last round not long after returning to the ring following a three-and-a-half-year absence.
Despite losing the first fight, Ali came back to win the second and third fights in New York and Manila respectively.
Another classic heavyweight rivalry the Wilder-Fury clash shares parallels with is the one between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, who fought each other twice in 1999. The first fight ended in a draw but many believed Lewis in fact won.
Eight months after their draw in New York, Lewis deservedly outpointed Holyfield in Vegas to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world - the last man to hold that title still to this day.
Fury will be looking to emulate Lewis tomorrow night by beating a heavyweight from Alabama in Vegas in one of the division's biggest fights in recent history.
"You have to say that this is a huge fight, especially following the awful decision from the last fight," Hatton said.
As well as Lewis, Hatton is another British boxer who can relate to the situation Fury will be in when he fights in Las Vegas.
'The Hitman' came up against American Floyd Mayweather Jr in December 2007 in a welterweight fight billed 'Undefeated' as both boxers put their unbeaten records on the line.
Wilder and Fury do the same this weekend. In 73 fights combined, the pair have 61 knockouts between them and neither fighter has lost, with the only draw on either of their records coming against each other in their first match-up.
Fury has since had fights in the United States against Tom Schwartz and Otto Wallin, and Hatton believes Fury's increased popularity across the Atlantic will help him settle into the fight against Wilder.
"Tyson has already been to Vegas and they love him," said the former super-lightweight and welterweight champion.
"Tyson's a character and he came out dressed like Apollo Creed the last time [against Schwartz]. I think he will take even more support this time and there will be a lot of Brits to support him, similar to when I fought in Vegas."
Fury's task against Wilder is colossal, but Wilder is not the biggest boxing star in his home country.
The most popular boxer in the US right now is Mexican Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez who in November became a four-weight world champion after knocking out Russian light-heavyweight Sergei Kovalev in Las Vegas.
Next for Canelo could be WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
Saunders' manager from MTK Global Jamie Conlan, earlier this week told Sky Sports that Canelo vs Saunders is "very likely" with "everyone in the right lane to make the fight happen" in early May.
As he is for every fight, Canelo would go in as the favourite, but Hatton has warned that Saunders has every chance of upsetting the odds should the fight go ahead.
"I think Billy Joe stands a very good chance against Canelo," the Mancunian said.
"Amir Khan caused him all kinds of problems with his movement before he got knocked out, so if Billy boxes like he did against David Lemieux he stands a very good chance of beating Canelo."
Last weekend, Hatton posted on his Instagram a picture of himself in his boxing gym alongside Saunders and unified super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor.
In 2019, victories over Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis saw Taylor claim the WBA and IBF titles at super-lightweight - the same titles Hatton won at the same weight class in 2005.
The man with the division's other two belts is Jose Ramirez, and Hatton thinks there's a chance an undisputed fight could take place at super-lightweight this year.
"Josh is looking good in training so I wouldn't rule out him unifying the titles," Hatton said.
Hatton also refused to rule out Kell Brook's chances of becoming a world champion again in the future following his seventh-round knockout of Mark DeLuca in Sheffield recently.
"It's a tough ask for Kell," said Hatton. "He's coming towards the end of his career, but he's just come back from a good win so I wouldn't rule it out."
One thing Hatton has ruled out is making it to Vegas to support Fury this weekend as he has to attend to the boxers he trains.
One of those is Ibrahim Nadim, who won his debut fight in December on the undercard of the British cruiserweight title fight between Richard Riakporhe and Jack Massey. Hatton is predicting Nadim and a couple of his other fighters have a big year ahead of them.
"Ibby has his second fight next month on the undercard of Scott Quigg vs Jono O'Carroll and he's definitely one to watch out for," Hatton said.
"Also, I'm training Brett McGinty from Ireland who makes his pro debut next month, and he has an outstanding amateur record so there is another. And finally, I have Jake Haigh,11-0 returning from a hand injury and hopefully fighting for a title in the near future."
Hatton himself gained recognition for his good work inside and outside the ring in October, being inducted into the Manchester City of Champions Champions Hall of Fame - a "special" award to Hatton.
He added: "I have received many awards over the years, but to receive an award from your own city is special and it means a lot to me. It makes me very proud."