Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn't need to dance to beat Ricky Hatton. His fists proved a lot more potent than his feet.
Mayweather remained unbeaten Saturday night and retained his claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world by stopping Hatton in the 10th round of a brawl that featured none of the fancy footwork he has shown in the ring and on reality TV.
Hatton wouldn't let Mayweather move, but it didn't matter as Mayweather used precision punches to wear down the challenger for his 147-round crown. Hatton kept trying to get inside and score points, but Mayweather had an answer for everything he did.
The end came after Mayweather landed a crushing left hook that dropped Hatton on his back in Mayweather's corner. Hatton got up at the count of eight, but Mayweather almost immediately got him on the ropes and landed another flurry of punches to the head.
Hatton went down almost on a delayed reaction, while at the same time referee Joe Cortez moved in to stop the fight and Hatton's corner threw in the towel at 1:35 of the round.
It was the first loss for Hatton, a brawler from Manchester, England, who did his best to do what no other fighter had ever done and break down Mayweather's defenses. It was clear from the early rounds, though, that Hatton would have trouble doing that. Mayweather was able to pile up points and seemed to be cruising for an easy decision win when he shot out the left hook that was the beginning of the end for Hatton.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Mayweather said. "That's why I didn't do anything halfway."
Mayweather (39-0) was ahead 89-81 on two ringside scorecards and 88-82 when he scored the thundering punches that both stopped Hatton and answered critics who said he was a boring fighter who fought defensively and rarely took any chances when it counted.
It was Mayweather's hometown, but Hatton's crowd at the MGM Grand hotel arena. A brass band played in the upper deck, among thousands of British fans who packed the arena and needed little urging to stand up with beers in hand to sing "There's only one Ricky Hatton" to the tune of "Winter Wonderland."
David Beckham sat ringside in the arena just down the street from where his wife was performing at the Mandalay Bay on the Spice Girls reunion tour. Those unlucky enough to get tickets going for thousands of dollars watched it on closed circuit at several Strip hotels, while back home some 350,000 British homes were expected to spend about $30 for a pay-per-view that began about 5 a.m. in London.
Mayweather countered with a little star power himself. He was joined by fellow "Dancing With the Stars" competitors Mark Cuban, Wayne Newton and Helio Castroneves on his walk to the ring, an appearance that was roundly booed by most of the crowd, which also nearly drowned out with boos and whistles the pre-fight national anthem by Tyrese Gibson.
Unfortunately for Hatton, their vocal support wasn't much help in the ring. There, Mayweather held all the advantages, and he gave Hatton a beating from the eighth round on when he caught him with a huge right hand and followed it with a series of head punches.