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'Hitman' Hatton wins welterweight decision over Collazo

Written by: Staff
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BOSTON, May 14 (Reuters) Ricky Hatton added the first world welterweight title to his haul with a unanimous points decision over World Boxing Association champion Luis Collazo over 12 bruising rounds in Boston.

The Englishman, who stepped up from junior welterweight to improve his record to 41-0 (30 knockouts), floored Collazo 15 seconds into the fight and had him bleeding from the mouth and forehead throughout, but southpaw Collazo battled back in a gruelling tussle.

In a tight contest yesterday Hatton was ahead on all three cards -- 115-112, 115-112, 114-113 -- to give the pride of Manchester the belt to add to his junior welterweight world titles.

''He was stronger than I thought he would be,'' Hatton said.

''It's a good test at a new weight. I need to grow into this new weight. This was my first fight at 147 (pounds) and it was a title fight. I'll get better.'' After Hatton floored his heavier opponent, Collazo produced the more venomous selection of punches and almost put his opponent on the canvas in a thrilling final round.

Hatton fought the last three rounds with a severe swelling under his left eye, but apparently never bled from the injury.

''Hatton was out on his feet in the 12th,'' said Collazo. ''I thought I out-boxed him and was stronger. I thought a guy had to do more than he did to take my title.'' Collazo, who fell to 26-2 with the loss, started the second defense of the title in shaky fashion.

He said he was caught by a Hatton left after the referee told the fighter to break, but he rallied and took the entertaining bout to Hatton.

''I think there should be an immediate rematch and I'll see everybody back in England,'' he said.

Prior to the Hatton fight, a moment of silence was observed by the crowd of 7,915 for former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, who died Thursday at the age of 71.

REUTERS DH HS1319

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