To fight on or not to fight on has become a
tougher question for Kostya Tszyu over the last 24 hours, with the news that
the man who so comprehensively beat the former multi-world champion has now
vacated Kostya’s old title.

British fighter Ricky Hatton has allowed
himself to pack on a few kilograms, to have a crack at the world’s best
welterweights, starting with WBA champion Luis Collazo.

In doing so, Hatton has dodged the
mandatory IBF defence he was scheduled to fight at light-welter against Ben
Rabbah and will be stripped of that title. He’ll retain the WBA version he won
off Carlos Maussa.

All of which puts new focus on the question
Our Kostya has been mulling over since he was beaten: was Hatton just the better man
on the day, or is Kostya over the hill? It’s a big decision because if Tszyu
feels that the defeat was purely the result of Hatton’s ability, meaning Kostya
remains capable of whipping other fighters, then challenging Rabbah, Maussa or
other contenders for that available IBF belt is a real possibility.

Then again… he could get hurt.

Either way, Kostya won’t mind Hatton
drifting out of his orbit. True to his big-talking form, the headstrong Brit
didn’t just walk away from the IBF title but bagged Rabbah, saying he wasn’t a
worthy opponent anyway and adding: “with
all due respect to Rabbah he cannot be counted among the big names”. Nice, Ricky.

The 27-year-old Brit would do well to keep
his mouth shut now he’s aiming for the welterweight division, given the lethal
Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah both lurk there (they fight next week for
Mayweather’s IBF belt).

But quietly is not really Ricky’s way and
he’s already talking as though beating Collazo, a low-key southpaw from New York, is a
formality. They’re scheduled for May 13 in Boston.

Peter Fray

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