Hatton: Murray is the rightful champ

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BOXING legend Ricky Hatton says he believed St Helens’ Martin Murray is the rightful world middleweight champion despite his controversial defeat to Sergio Martinez.

Most observers had Murray the clear winner on points after he dumped the Argentinian southpaw to the canvas twice during a thrilling contest in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Judges gave the fight to Martinez, who was fighting in his home town.

“I think Martin should be the middleweight champion of the world,” said Hatton, who is also Murray’s promoter.

“It was a good competitive fight but there was only one winner for me.

“When you go into the lion’s den you have to rip the title from the champion and although he couldn’t finish as strong as he we would have liked, Martin was the aggressor. He also scored a knockdown and it should have been two in my opinion.

“I think if one good thing did come out of the fight, it’s that we now know that Martin is the best middleweight in Britain as his performance against Martinez eclipsed Macklin and Barker’s by a long way.”

Members of Murray’s team complained after the fight of being hit with missiles by section of the crowd.

Special report on the epic battle: Pages 98 & 99