RICKY HATTON has paid tribute to Anthony Mundine, but he still feels his fighter, Sergey Rabchenko, beat the Aussie veteran.
Mundine picked up the WBC Silver light-middleweight crown with a contentious split decision verdict over the Belarusian in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
It was a display that showed the 39-year-old still has a place among boxing’s elite, yet the scoring raised questions as Rabchenko appeared to outwork him for much of the fight and hurt him several times in the later rounds.
“It wasn’t the worst decision I’ve seen but no way did Sergey lose the fight,” Ricky, who is Rabchenko’s promoter as well as his trainer, said.
“I felt Sergey won more of the rounds and he had a knockdown that wasn’t scored as well. Sergey shook Mundine to his boots and in no way did he throw Anthony to the canvas. He hit the floor due to the punches that were landed.
“There were also several times when Sergey landed perfectly good punches only for Mundine to turn his back and complain to the referee that they were behind the head when they weren’t.
“Those things influence the judges because they mean that legal shots weren’t scored.
“I love Australia and I can’t wait to go back, but two Melbourne judges and the referee didn’t help our case. I’m complaining because I feel well and truly stitched up.”
Despite his thoughts on the performance of the referee and two of the judges, Hatton concedes that Mundine surprised him with his ability.
The opinion-splitting former Rugby League star was written off by many prior to the contest, but managed to roll back the years and give his all in a competitive bout.
“I have to make it clear my admiration for Anthony Mundine has risen even further,” Ricky stated.
“At 39 years old and after a heavy defeat in his last outing that performance was outstanding to say the least and I take my hat off to him. What a unique and talented individual.”