Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton shrugged off Paulie Malignaggi’s “magic” as he successfully defended his IBO and Ring Magazine light welterweight belts by stopping the challenger at the 11th round Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The Manchester-born boxer did not fail his British fans who flocked to the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. His loyal followers hollered with glee after witnessing another “Hitman” victory.
Hatton dominated Malignaggi all throughout the bout, prompting the Magic Man’s trainer to throw in the towel with just 28 seconds remaining in Round 11.
Although there was no knock down, Hatton sent Malignaggi’s knees shaking several times in the bout. The Italian-American managed to survive the beating by resorting to excessive clutching.
As early as Round 2, Malignaggi already had a bruise under his left eye. Seven rounds later, both of his eyes were already puffy.
Malignaggi’s trainer Buddy McGirt had seen enough by Round 11. He waved his towel to save his fighter.
It was a sweet victory for Hatton, redeeming himself in the very same ring where he suffered his first career loss. It was almost a year ago when he was stopped in the 10th Round by the flashy Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at the MGM Grand.
With the win, Hatton improved his record to 45 wins, one loss with 32 knockouts. Malignaggi, meanwhile, dropped to 25-2.
Other notable fights in the undercard included that of middleweights James Kirkland and Brian Vera; welterweights Matthew Hatton and Ben Tackie; and super bantamweights Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista and Heriberto Ruiz.
According to boxing Website FightNews.com, Kirkland (24-0, 21 KOs) scored an eighth round technical knock out versus Vera (16-2, 10 KOs). Kirkland dropped Vera twice in Round 2 and pummelled Vera until the eighth when he again floored his opponent. This prompted a referee's stoppage a few moments later.
Hatton (35-4-1, 13 KOs) vanquished Tackie (29-11-1, 17 KOs) via a 10-round unanimous decision. Judges saw it 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93, all in favor of Hatton.
Bautista (26-2, 19 KOs) suffered an upset as he was defeated by Ruiz (40-7-2, 23 KOs). Ruiz dropped Bautista in Round 3 and the Filipino was deducted a point for a low blow in the seventh round. Scores were 80-70, 78-72 and 77-73. Dennis Gasgonia, abs-cbnNEWS.com