Hatton's big 2005 honored by boxing writers
Ricky Hatton of England made it a clean sweep Wednesday, winning his third fighter of the year award for his breakout 2005.
Despite never fighting a major bout in the United States, Hatton won the Edward Neil Fighter of the Year Award in a vote by members of the Boxing Writers Association of America. The results were announced on Wednesday.
Previously, Hatton (40-0, 30 KOs) was named 2005 fighter of the year by ESPN.com and Ring magazine.
Hatton had a big 2005. In June, he scored an upset 11th-round TKO of long-reigning 140-pound champion Kostya Tszyu, forcing him to quit on his stool. Then Hatton unified titles with a ninth-round knockout of Carlos Maussa in November.
Hatton is the first British fighter to win the BWAA award since former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Hatton now plans to come to the United States to fight, and will move up to welterweight for his next bout on May 13, when he will face beltholder Luis Collazo in Boston.
Hatton is expected to miss the 81st annual BWAA awards dinner on May 5 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, due to the close proximity to the Collazo fight.
The instant classic lightweight unification fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo easily won the Harry Markson Fight of the Year Award. That fight was also selected fight of the year by ESPN.com and Ring.
Corrales and Castillo waged an all-time classic on May 7, the night after last year's BWAA awards dinner. After nine hellacious rounds, Corrales rallied from two 10th-round knockdowns to stunningly stop Castillo in the same round.
Other BWAA award winners include:
• Dan Birmingham, who won the Futch-Condon Award for Trainer of the Year for his work with Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy.
Birmingham is a repeat winner and the first back-to-back winner since award namesake Eddie Futch won in 1991 and 1992.
• Alan Haymon, who won the Al Buck Award for Manager of the Year for guiding the careers of such stars as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Antonio Tarver, Lamon Brewster and Jermain Taylor.
• Jay Larkin and Rich Marotta share the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. Larkin spent 22 years at Showtime, including a decade as the primary boxing executive until he was unceremoniously fired in November.
Marotta, a Los Angeles-based broadcaster, has called fights for various TV outlets, but is most known for his work as the color analyst for Fox Sports Net fights. He has also won four Emmy Awards with KCAL in Los Angeles and hosts the popular "Rich Marotta's Neutral Corner" weekly boxing radio show in Southern California.
• Former junior middleweight champion Kassim Ouma (Pat Putnam Award for Perseverance). Ouma was voted the winner of the inaugural award that honors the late boxing writer who spent 17 months as a Korean War POW. Ouma was abducted to fight in a Ugandan rebel army when he was 6 and fled the country in 1998 using a visa obtained via amateur boxing. He was homeless in the U.S. until he found a boxing gym. In 2002, he survived a serious gunshot wound to his lower abdomen and went on to win a world championship.
The rest of the award winners are HBO unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman and former middleweight contender/Retired Boxers Foundation founder Alex Ramos (Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award); photographer Teddy Blackburn (James J. Walker Award for Long and Meritorious Service); and publicist Howie Albert, legendary trainer Angelo Dundee, and renowned Nevada ringside physicians Margaret Goodman and Edwin "Flip" Homansky (James S. Farley Award for Honesty and Integrity).
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.