Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Hatton retains title by beating Lazcano

THINKING AHEADThe British boxer will face Paul Malignaggi of the US in November, after the American beat Lovemeore N’Dou on Saturday night’s undercard

AP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Ricky Hatton lands a blow on Juan Lazcano during their light welterweight boxing world title bout in Manchester, England, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Ricky Hatton prevailed in a lopsided decision over Juan Lazcano of Mexico Saturday to retain his IBO light welterwight title and restart his career before a home crowd of 57,000.

Hatton won easily on all three judges scorecards at the Manchester City soccer ground: 120-110, 118-110, 120-108, his first bout since losing a WBC welterweight bid against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December — his first loss in 44 fights.

“It was a difficult fight,” Hatton said. “I’ve never been more nervous in boxing match in my life, all those demons were in my mind about not coming back so strong.”

Hatton said he felt disorientated when resisting seven-punch combinations.

Afterward it was announced that a deal had been agreed for Hatton to face Paulie Malignaggi, who won on Saturday on the undercard. The bout will be in November, with New York a likely location.

To the roars of the crowd, Hatton emerged into the City of Manchester stadium in a fat suit — complete with “Fatton” adorning his shorts — as a self-mocking swipe at critics of his fluctuating weight between fights.

For Lazcano, it was the 33-year-old’s first bout since losing a 12-round decision to Vivian Harris in February last year in a WBC light welterweight title eliminator.

Malignaggi of New York narrowly defended his IBF light-welterweight title with a split-decision victory over Lovemore N’Dou, which didn’t establish himself as a credible challenger to Hatton in the fall.

But his movement was limited after the sixth round when a knuckle in his right hand was likely broken.

“I didn’t fight to the best of my ability,” he said. “But I’ll be ready to fight Ricky in the fall and we’ll both be better than tonight and explosive.”

“I don’t think Ricky looked at his best either tonight. He was a little bit inconsistent tonight. I’ve always seen things in Ricky Hatton I can exploit.”

The judges scored the 12-round fight, which had no knockdowns, 114-115, 116-112, 116-113.

Mike Tyson’s appearance at ringside at the end of the first round prompted a huge cheer inside the City of Manchester Stadium.

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