Boxing

Ricky Hatton v Floyd Mayweather: Hatton Waves Off Talks Of Retirement – “I’m 200% Certain I’m Going To Win”

02.12.07 - By Matthew Hurley: As every elite fighter reaches the near pinnacle of success the word “retirement” starts to float above his head like a word bubble. In fact, in nearly every sport, athletes are always threatening retirement these days usually in hopes of securing better contracts or advertising deals. It keeps their names in the headlines, keeps fans wondering and drives coaches, trainers and promoters crazy..

Floyd Mayweather is a charter member of the retirement club. Who can forget him breaking down in tears after fights with Carlos Baldomir and Arturo Gatti and claiming, “you’ve seen the last of Floyd Mayweather.” The “Pretty Boy” is a marketing marvel so everything he says must be taken more than a bit lightly. Even the thuggish persona he projects on HBO’s documentary series 24/7 is more Mike Tyson Lite than a true indication of just what Floyd is all about. He tries, almost desperately, to be intimidating and rough that people who don’t know boxing would assume that he’s a murderous puncher with a violent intent on destroying his opponents. But when he gets into the ring there is a marked calmness in his approach and a skill set unmatched in boxing. You won’t see the “Pretty Boy” chomping on any ears or trying to break to his opponent’s arm.

Which is exactly why Ricky Hatton has not fallen for Mayweather’s verbal taunts. The only accusation against him that seemed to bother the fighter came from Mayweather’s uncle and trainer Roger who called him a “dirty fighter.” Hatton took umbrage to that but his sense of humor was able to put it in context. After all Roger, in his usual marble-mouthed way, thinks everyone on the planet is beneath not only Floyd but himself as well. Very often on 24/7 he renders himself cartoonish.

Lately, Hatton has had to answer some questions about his impending retirement, which seemed to catch him a bit off guard. Hatton insists that he has no intention of mulling over retirement in the near future. Whatever fistic height the Manchester icon can reach, it’s obvious he loves to box. He enjoys the crowds and the adulation. Come December 8th he will enjoy cashing the check made out to him as well.

“You can not go higher than beating the best there is,” he told BBC Sportsweek this weekend. “But I would be a fool talking about next fights before this one happened. I am still only twenty-nine and have plenty to offer. And when you start talking about retirement you already have one foot out the door.”

Hatton could have been alluding to Mayweather’s threats of retirement after previous bouts but Floyd was recently said on 24/7 that, “it’s not about the money. I’ve got enough money. It must be about fighting. I love what I do.”

Mayweather may have taken Hatton lightly when this fight was initially proposed and he probably looked at the defense of his WBC welterweight title against a junior welterweight as a good opportunity to beat up on a smaller man with a big name in the game as the means to cash yet another monster paycheck. But Floyd, whatever you may think of him, is a professional. Once he gets into the groove of training camp the insecurities that almost force him to act out and taunt and preen are secondary asides and there is no one he takes lightly. Couple that with Hatton’s sturdy resolve and quick witted comebacks in the face of Floyd’s directives and you have a champion who knows he needs to be at his best come fight night. That’s why for thirty-eight bouts he has yet to suffer a defeat. His attitude and ring style may rub many people the wrong way, but until someone puts a loss on his record Floyd will remain atop the boxing triangle and he will continue to flash his bling and cash, along with his dazzling smile.

Hatton wants to be the man to give that smile a fat lip. And as the fight approaches and boxing aficionados begin to really get pumped up for another big event, fans of both fighters are champing at the bit for the opening bell.

“I’m 200% certain I’m going to win,” Hatton says, smiling. “I’m going to win. I will put every penny in the bank on me winning this fight. I really do think he will have to kill me to make me leave him alone for a second.”

With a flourish that even Floyd Mayweather would appreciate, the “Hitman” clenched his fists and added, “When I look at Floyd I don’t think of the bad-mouthing he has given me or what he has been saying. I just see the title of the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world dangling around his neck, and I want to rip it from his neck.”

Article posted on 02.12.2007



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