Hatton decisions Collazo

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BOSTON (AP) – Ricky “Hitman” Hatton beat Luis Collazo in a unanimous decision on Saturday night, winning the WBA welterweight title after 12 rounds of toe-to-toe brawling that left both sides badly bruised – and claiming victory.

Hatton sent Collazo to the canvas in the first 15 seconds of the fight, but by the third round it seemed to be going the other way. Collazo staggered the 2005 fighter of the year several times in the final round.

The judges scored the fight 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113 for the pride of Manchester, England.

, whose fans had the new Boston Garden rollicking like a World Cup match.

At the bell, Hatton climbed onto the ropes and threw his mouthpiece to the raucous fans who came over from England to cheer him on. Both fighters climbed onto their handlers’ shoulders and raised their arms in triumph; only after they came back down to wait for the real decision did they bang each other’s gloves.

The announcement of Hatton’s victory drew a stunned semi-silence from the crowd, but it also keeps Hatton on track for his attempt to unify the division. Hatton moved up from junior welterweight to challenge Collazo, who was a last-minute sub when he beat Jose Antonio Rivera for the title down the road in Worcester last year.

Although Hatton was the challenger, the pre-fight hype focused on his arrival on these shores and potential future bouts against Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya or Arturo Gatti.

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