Ricky Hatton vs Floyd Mayweather: Hatton Continues To Exude Confidence

ricky hatton15.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: As his fight with Floyd Mayweather for the WBC welterweight title creeps ever closer Ricky Hatton is not only supremely confident of his chances against the “Pretty Boy” but is convinced that he will be the fighter leaving the ring with his perfect record in tact. Hatton weighed in this week at a primed and muscular 148 pounds before his daily workout.

In the past several weeks HBO cameras have been following the amiable British fighter around for the reality series 24/7 and his jovial disposition has become a perfect counterpoint for Mayweather’s brash, expletive filled personality which was first revealed for all to see on HBO’s last 24/7 documentary leading up to his fight with Oscar De La Hoya. Hatton, three weeks before the opening bell, finds himself a significant underdog in the bout, but sees that very attitude that Mayweather has been tossing at him as a potential weakness.

“During the press tour I’ve had to suffer through his rants,” he says with a shrug and a smile. “He’s ridiculed me and aggravated me but I just laugh it off because it’s nothing but talk and I understand that. He’s trying to get under me skin. He tries to wind you up so you get charged up before the fight and that gets you to expend energy. It drains you in the fight because you want to knock his head off. Then after you’re frustrated he ups his own game. It’s all (head) games.”

Floyd Mayweather has also become something of a psychological puzzle. Is he the supremely confidant, tremendously gifted athlete he portends to be? Or are the fissures in his psyche that were revealed in an emotional breakdown after his fight with Carlos Baldomir or the silent reticence he revealed on the HBO replay of his victory over De La Hoya more indicative of a very fragile ego? Floyd loves to play to the camera – preening, bragging, screaming obscenities and even dancing at the initial press conference announcing the fight with Hatton. He’s a man who feels he is so far elevated above not only other boxers but, dare I say it, the world in general, that he sometimes reminds me of a hollow chocolate Easter egg. It looks good, even tantalizing on the outside, but crumbles when you sink your teeth into it. All the bravado sometimes comes across as the posturing of a very insecure individual. His fighting style, brilliant as it can often be, is such that he rarely, if ever lives up to his pre-fight boasts. He is not the tough sonofabitch his myth making mouth constantly perpetuates. He is a careful, calculating boxer. In the ring he is more business man than fighter. If he would only admit to that instead of insisting he’s the greatest fighter who ever lived he wouldn’t turn so many people off. But as Floyd contends, he “keeps it real”, whatever that means.

Floyd’s bluster led Hatton to recently comment, “I suppose Floyd is like his fighting, all style and no substance.”

Hatton’s everyman personae is easier to digest than Mayweather’s ego driven grandiosity, but it will account for nothing if Mayweather boxes circles around him on December 8th. That said, Hatton insists that Floyd will not be able to withstand the constant pressure that he will be applying for three minutes of every round.

“It’s going to be about pressure,” he says. “I’m not going to give Floyd a chance to get away. I think he’s a fighter who fights in bursts. He doesn’t fight for the whole round. He fights just enough to win the round on the judges’ scorecard. I’ll be in his face constantly and I’ll break his rhythm. I also won’t allow him to tire me out because I won’t be missing. It’s the missed punches that sap you of your energy. That’s what he does. He lets you wear yourself out early trying to catch him and then he comes on and wins the later rounds convincingly. De La Hoya fought well but he tired at the end. I think it was because of all the effort he put in the first half of the bout. When Floyd noticed the fatigue he turned it on. He’s a master at it.”

Hatton’s game plan sounds perfect coming out of his mouth and his aggressive, grappling style will most certainly cause Mayweather some problems. But Hatton has had only one fight at welterweight, a controversial decision victory over light punching but talented Luis Collazo and Hatton did not close the show with a wealth of energy. In fact, in the twelfth round Collazo’s aggressiveness led many to believe he’d pulled off the upset.

Talking a good game is much different than successfully setting that plan in motion when fighting Floyd Mayweather. However, it would be foolhardy to discount Hatton’s chances in this fight. If any fighter is going to live up to his pre-fight hyperbole it will be Hatton. He will fight for three minutes of every round and the underdog role suits him just as well now as it did in the weeks leading up to his junior welterweight title victory over the favored Kostya Tszyu.

“No one gives me a chance now,” he says, smiling. “Well, no one gave me a chance against Tszyu either. He was a pound for pound fighter when I beat him. It brought out the best in me. Now, I’m ready to take the pound for pound title from Floyd in Las Vegas.”

Article posted on 16.11.2007

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