Matthew mirrors Hitman's win
Matthew Hatton produced a career-best performance to match big brother Ricky's feat in out-pointing Ben Tackie.
By Ed Damerell
Last Updated: 23/11/08 3:22pm
Matthew Hatton banished the memories of his defeat to Craig Watson by producing a career-best performance to beat Ben Tackie convincingly on points.
Faced with a former foe of his brother Ricky, this was far from an easy fight for the younger Hatton - especially after he had performed so poorly at Commonwealth level back in May.
But Matthew rose to the Las Vegas occasion and produced a boxing display not dissimiliar to the Hitman's win over the Ghanaian, albeit five years later.
Hatton quickly got into his stride pumping a crisp jab into Tackie's face from the first bell. His footwork was also impressive as he avoided the African's predictable right hand and answered with eye-catching bursts.
It was important for Hatton to get rounds under his belt against an opponent renowned for coming on strong in the second part of fights. By round three he already had a clear lead on the judges' cards and was growing in confidence.
This was underlined by a four-punch combination at the end of the fourth which drew a cheer from his British supporters.
But Tackie showed no signs of growing disheartened and as the halfway point approached he upped his workrate as expected.
A sustained attack to Hatton's body in the fifth seemed to take some of the spring out of his step and by the sixth he was mauling the Manchester fighter on the ropes.
Hatton needed a big round to stop Tackie gaining a foothold and produced just that in the eighth. His neglected jab returned and he landed his right hand every time Tackie tried to bundle his way inside.
That gave Hatton the much-needed breathing space to close out an impressive points victory. Bar a looping left hand in the ninth he was rarely troubled and he had enough energy to get on his toes and avoid Tackie's desperate attacks in the final round - emerging with a 98-92, 97-93, 98-92 decision.
Hatton will return to the UK with fresh impetus and maybe look for a rematch with Watson in the New Year.