(Video courtesy of YouTube/FightHubTV)
FightHub TV caught up with former IBO and The Ring Magazine light welterweight boxing champ Ricky Hatton recently in the UK to get his take on MMA and according to “The Hitman” he’s come around in his opinion of the sport.
“At first mixed martial arts wasn’t seen as too popular, but more and more it’s getting bigger and bigger all the time. And the more and more yo look into it…at first I thought it was just people rollin’ about on the floor huggin’ each other, but that’s far from it. As it’s getting more popular, when you actually look into it scientifically there’s a lot more to it. It’s not just about standin’ there and usin’ your feet and usin’ your fists,” he explained. “It’s about gettin’ your opponent on the floor, puttin’ him in a certain move, which is a work of art in its own right. The more and more popular it’s gettin’ it’s not become just a part-time thing now. It’s a professional sport and I’m sure I speak for the mixed martial arts people as well as the boxing people in saying that these people — the nutritional people — are the best probably even more so than in boxing because it’s a lot more physical than boxing, isn’t it? I can say slowly but surely, the more I’ve watched it I’ve become a bit of a fan.”
Perhaps most surprising is Hatton’s assertion that “The Sweet Science” could stand to learn a thing or two from it’s distant cousin. Although he says he likely wouldn’t have tried his hand at the sport, he gives MMA and its fighters credit.
“I have enough to worry about looking at the fists without having to look at the feet, the elbows and the knees. No, I am a big fan. I was a very physical boxer, so something like that is right up my street and the more popular it gets [more people realize] these are professional athletes who work hard and dedicate themselves at it, so I tip my hat to them. I don’t think [MMA will eclipse boxing]. Boxing will always have its own audience and boxing is its [own] sport,” Hatton pointed out. “[MMA] is becoming [more] popular all the time. Certainly in the United States it’s becoming very popular, but I think there’s room for both sports. Boxing can learn a bit from mixed martial arts. You go there and they create [an amazing] atmosphere with the ring entrances and the music and everything like that. In this financial climate you’ve got to put something out there that sells. From that point of view boxing can learn something from mixed martial arts, but I think they’re always going to have their own fans — mixed martial arts and professional boxing.”