Hatton - "I'm Expecting People To See A New Ricky Hatton"

by James Slater - 30-year-old Ricky Hatton has heard the talk that has come from some people saying he is on the way down and is a fighter way past his best. And Hatton has heard a fair few people saying they think Paulie Malignaggi will beat him and end his career at top level this Saturday night in Las Vegas. Yet despite all this negativity, "The Hitman" says he feels as good as ever - no, BETTER than ever..

Attributing his restored, even new, confidence to trainer Floyd Mayweather Senior, who replaced long-time coach Billy Graham, Hatton says he is confident people will see a different and improved fighter on Saturday. The 30-year-old is also immensely proud of the praise the experienced trainer has been giving him.

"When someone like Floyd says to me, 'you've picked this type of training up, the pad work, the slipping and rolling, quicker than anyone I've ever worked with,' that fills you with confidence," Hatton told Sky Sports. "I needed to hear stuff like that because after the Mayweather fight I was down in the dumps and I needed my confidence rebuilding with the [Juan] Lazcano fight but I didn't get it because it was rubbish. I wasn't up to it.

"I know there were reasons, I had a chest infection and I hadn't done the majority of my training, but let's have it right, it wasn't a good performance. I needed this training camp and I needed to hear things like that from someone like Floyd, who's not someone who blows smoke up your backside - he doesn't have to with the people he's worked with."

It is genuinely interesting to see how the seemingly unlikely duo of Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather Senior working together pans out. Maybe we will see a much improved "Hitman," maybe we won't. Hatton is convinced we will.

"I'm jumping out of my skin and want to get in there and do everybody proud again," Ricky stated. "My stamina and conditioning was pretty good in the first place but this has benefited me no end. I'm expecting people to see a new Ricky Hatton.

"He [Maliganggi] presents a very difficult challenge. He's very fast and has an awkward, tricky style when he rolls off the ropes and likes to talk when he's in the ring apparently, but that's the kind of thing I've been working on with Floyd - not to lose my cool. He looks a bit of a ponce to be honest but he's a lot tougher than he looks and he's a good fighter and to be honest he's not a bad lad when the cameras go off and the press disappears. But come November 22nd he will be my sworn enemy and I really do believe I can be the first person to stop him."

So, will we see the "new and improved" Ricky Hatton scoring a sensational stoppage over in Vegas, or will we see flashy boxer Paulie Malignaggi putting on a first rate exhibition of the sweet science on the way to a points win? Or will we see something somewhere in-between?

Pretty much a 50/50 fight, this writer leans, ever so slightly, towards Hatton - but not by stoppage, by decision.

Article posted on 21.11.2008

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