There has been an awful lot written about Ricky the hitman Hatton, but you will have to forgive me for adding to that mass of words with a few carefully chosen musings on why we should cherish the Hitman and not knock him.
Few modern fighters and especially British ones have captured the imagination of the public in quite the way Hatton has.
How did he achieve this?
The answer is to take the reader on a journey through a special type of boxer – to be more specific not just a boxer but a fighter. Hatton’s style is not polished or even defensively minded, Hatton is a brawler, a relentless, come forward, swarming, non stop killer. His boxing skills however are actually excellent – many a tough night he ground out a win against often bigger opponents (Juan Urango, Luis Collazo) using beautiful footwork and every ounce of the sweet science.
Pride in Battle
What won the fans heart though was his aggression – Hatton comes to fight, not to dance and avoid the action. You know what to expect from Hatton – he comes to take the other guy out – whether that’s one round or twelve. His often quoted comment that “it’s not a tickling contest” is a perfect description of this and Hatton’s unique personality.
Hattons personality saw him crossover from boxing star to British superstar – he is a man of the people, devoid of airs and graces and the trappings of fame. He is happy in his own skin, amongst his homeland of Hyde near Manchester. His sense of humour and wise cracking jokes won the British public over long before HBO’s excellent fly on the wall documentary 24/7 opened the flood gates up for the American fans to follow.
A special night - Ricky Hatton vs. Kostya Tszyu
I will personally remember a night at the MEN arena in Manchester where Hatton took the fight to Kostya Tzysu. He walked through fire that night – taking shots that could have dispatched tree trunks. He took it all and burst off his stool at the beginning of each round like he couldn’t wait to get back in there. It was perhaps the peak performance of Hatton’s so far.
So to the future – one foot in and one foot out of retirement. Two losses to the greatest fighters of his generation. I feel Hatton could do it all again – Erik Morales has shown the desire to lose 50 pounds of flab and come back taking shots and firing more back just this last weekend. For now I will just savour the fights he’s had and for me that’s enough for now!
Capa’s life was one of extremes – lived on the adrenaline razors edge of being. From the D-Day landings where he was actually on the boats and in the water – life and death with the soldiers, to the final shots of the Second World War, Capa saw it all and brought back his testaments to the front line of photography.
He redefined what photo reportage was all about, how news imagery was viewed and later how photographers were treated and - setting up the Magnum photo agency with Henri Cartier-Bresson. Capa’s life was all drama and that was where he functioned best – without the drama of the war he became lost for a while in Hollywood celebrity, but this didn’t last.
His life ended in an instant – stepping on a landmine in Vietnam he was obliterated. What he left behind was a vision of ‘being there’ of seeing the extremes of human life and recording it.
Styles make fights so goes the old adage and never has a saying been so personified than by the three and now upcoming fourth encounter of Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez.
Lets be clear here – this is something special, this isn’t about the money, it’s not about fame, their fights together transcend the sport, transcend what human beings should endure in the name of entertainment. These men are warriors who have left everything in the ring and are now poised to do it all over again for a fourth time.
Boxing has some famous trilogies in the lighter weight classes – Gatti Ward, Morales Barrera and Morales Pacquiao to name but three. If you had to ask me my top choice to take to a desert island on DVD it would be Vazquez and Marquez in a heart beat.
Una vez más!
The fourth fight puts up a lot of mixed feeling for me – it will be great to see these two Mexican fighters go at it again – but the physical effect of these heavy fights must be making its mark on both. Prior to a couple of warmup fights both had been out of action after their third fight for over a year and half due to injuries – detached retinas and the like from their three previous fights. Vazquez currently hold the two key victories but scorecards should be thrown out the window when you are dealing with close fought ferocity that is brought to the table by these two men.
Check out just a taste of blood and guts fighting from the fourth round of their second fight below:
Having been born above a boxing gym in Tijuana Mexico and boxing from the age of 5, it would never be easy for Erik “El Terrible” Morales to walk away from boxing.
On March 27th Morales will end his two and a half-year retirement and make his long rumored return to the ring. It’s a comeback that begs the question why? How much does Morales have left to prove after his part in two of the best trilogies in boxing history – against Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera? Without another paid punch in his life he would surely be a guaranteed fixture in the boxing hall of fame.
The prospect of possibly being the only Mexican fighter to win a world title in four separate weight classes is definitely a temptation. Morales old rival Barrera has already had his ambitions on that crusade cruelly stopped by Britain’s chinny wonder Amir Khan. A fourth fight with the worlds pound for pound best boxer Manny Pacquiao (not to mention the millions of dollars that would come with such a fight) must also appeal. Morales is after all one of the few fighters out there to comprehensively beat Pacquiao – in their first fight, so maybe he thinks he knows something Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton dont?
Could a fourth fight ever happen?
So it seems there are many question marks over El Terrible – not least the weight he has had to shift to get down to 147 pounds.
I hope he succeeds and isn’t annihilated by a far lesser opponent than deserves a win against such a boxing great, but the jury is definitely out on whether he can bring back the glory days once more.
For now lets remember him in his prime – in what HBO has rightly included as one of their ‘Fights of the Decade’ – here in his first of three amazing fights against his bitter Mexican rival Marco Antonio Barrera:
Brassai (1899-1984) is one of the great figures of twentieth-century photography. Born in Brasso, Hungary, he studied at the academies of Budapest before moving to Paris in 1924. Initially interested in painting, he turned to photography in the early thirties at the suggestion of fellow Hungarian André Kertész. He published his first book, Paris by Night, in 1933, which granted him recognition as a peerless chronicler of the city. At this time Brassai also became interested in graffiti and shared his discoveries with the Surrealist circles he frequented.
Brassai became interested in the marginal art form of graffiti in the 1930s, seeing it as a form of outsider art that could open the door to new forms of artistic expression. His atmospheric photographs capture the essence of this unfettered creation. Stark contrasts of black and white alternate with softer shades of grey that meld into one another, smoothing the harsh gouges typical of graffiti.
'In the wings at the Folies-Bergere'
It’s often lamented by fans and pundits alike that there is not enough talent coming through the ranks in boxing. Luckily the hotbed of boxing that is Puerto Rico that has produced fighters like Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto and Wilfred Benítez has also given birth to another potential great – Juan Manuel Lopez.
Already a world champion at super bantamweight and now reigning WBO featherweight champion, Juanma is starting to show the signs of greatness that transform a contender to that elite pantheon of great fighters.
His current record stands at 28 wins, 25 by way of knockout and no losses. There have been some coming of age fights along the way though – most notably in his fight with Rogers Mtagwa, where he was forced to fight and tough out a twelve round unanimous decision. That was the kind of fight that can take a young champion out of their winning ways – as things start to go into the later round against an opponent who takes all your shots and doesn’t roll over, but Lopez got through some very shaky moments and kept his cool to do what was necessary to win the fight. Those kind of smarts tend to come in handy in a boxing career.
His conquering of Daniel Ponce De Leon was an early indicator of greatness too – this tough Mexican is well-known for his power and ability to take an opponent out with either hand. Juanma handled the fight brilliantly – have a look at some highlights below:
Posted in boxing
Tagged bantamweight, bob arum, Daniel Ponce De Leon, edwin valero, featherweight, felix trinidad, Juanma, miguel cotto, Puerto Rico, Rogers Mtagwa, top rank, WBO, Wilfred Benítez
Arthur Fellig better known to the world as Weegee became a pioneer of news and street photography. During his work with New York police department (he was used a police radio make sure he was first to any action) he published over 5000 photos.
Weegee’s photos are always immediate, of action caught on the sly or just after it happened. His concern was for the life of the city, people at work, at play, asleep and in death, particularly as the aftermath of criminal activity. This was his territory:
Weegee, 'Copkiller' - 1939
Weegee, 'Coney Island 28th July 1940 4pm'
Weegee, 'Shock' 1940
Weegee, 'Corpse with revolver' 1940
Weegee, 'Teenage boy, arrested for strangling a four year old girl' 1944
Weegee, 'The Critic, Metropolitan Opera' 1943
It’s easy to write off someone as wildly entertaining as Ricardo Mayorga as a sideshow in boxing – mad, bad, trash talking ‘El Matador’ is everything but ordinary.
To write him off would be to ignore the pedigree of the opposition he has faced – Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad and Fernando Vargas to name but a handful. At his finest the Nicaraguan bad boy Mayorga was throw back to the good old days of real fighters, taking on everything with scant regard for manners and rules.
There are many enjoyable highlights from Mayorga’s career – frequent press conference brawls, childish taunting of his opponents (see below video of his exchange with Vargas), a habit of letting fighters take clean open shots on his head in pure macho demonstration of his strength! His heavy smoking – while training goes against every tenant of boxing fitness but somehow Mayorga made it part of his persona.
Mayorga will probably be remembered for his losses to truly great fighters and his defection to the Mixed Martial Arts as a fringe contender there. His boxing style was certainly not the sweet science in action – he was a pure street fighting brawler, windmilling punches and hoping for the best. He was enjoyable to watch though and you always knew there would be a proper tear up if he was fighting and for that we should salute his contribution to boxing!