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10/18/2007 Archived Entry: ""

Dubious Dancing Precedent May Be Good News For Hatton

By Pete Ehrmann, Historian

Ricky Hatton take heart: The last time a world champion boxer mixedballroom dancing and training, he lost his title to a challenger from your sideof the pond.

San Francisco's Willie Ritchie won the lightweight championship from AdWolgast in 1912. A year or so later, Ritchie hurt his foot and couldn't run. On February 26, 1914, he told The Milwaukee Journal, "I tried every doctor in 'Frisco, but they were unable to help me. Then I took to dancing thetango, and it did the work. Now, instead of doing roadwork, I tango for four or five miles every afternoon, and try to put on the turkey trot for two or three miles every evening."

Ritchie went on to "recommend this training stunt to prospective champions." Several months later, on July 7, 1914, he lost the 135-pound title to Freddy Welsh, a native of Wales.

This week, welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. got voted off thepopular ABC-TV series "Dancing With The Stars." His friend and advisor,Leonard Ellerbe, told ESPN that Mayweather had done "the impossible" bycombining ballroom dancing with his training for Mayweather's December 8title fight against Great Britain's Hatton.

Hatton fans who believe in omens may now kick up their heels.

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