21.11.07 – By Matthew Hurley: In the shadow of Floyd Mayweather’s latest proclamations of being the greatest fighter who ever lived, Ricky Hatton has settled into a rented house in Las Vegas for final preparations for his December 8th showdown with the welterweight champion. Hatton is awaiting the arrival of his father and his manager while enjoying the Vegas atmosphere with his brother Matthew and a friend..
“The house I am staying in is superb,” the fighter told a reporter from Sky Sports. “We have settled in and we have our meals made for us by a chef called Ricky, funnily enough. He knows just what we need so it’s already like a home away from home.”
Unaware of Mayweather’s latest boast but constantly within earshot of the “Pretty Boy’s” verbal taunts, Hatton is quick to both praise his opponent and then insist he will defeat him.
“Floyd Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” he says, building up his nemesis in anticipation of knocking him down. “Look who he’s beaten and he had his best win against Oscar De La Hoya. He’s a five time world champion and when you think how many other fighters have done that you’ve only got the likes of Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and De La Hoya. If I beat Floyd then I’d like to think people will se me as the number one (fighter in the world). I’ll leave it to others to decide. But if I beat Floyd, I won’t give a damn what people think.”
Mayweather, meanwhile, recently stated that, “I can quit today and be known as the best fighter who ever lived. I respect what (Sugar Ray) Robinson and (Muhammad) Ali did but I’m the greatest, and this is my time.” His is an ego that knows no bounds, but it is also that arrogance that has propelled him to the top tier of the sport. Indeed he is the best fighter in the game until someone supplants him, but his mouth often speaks louder than his ring accomplishments. It’s that very narcissism that continues to polarize boxing fans. There’s really no in between with Floyd, you either like and root for him or you don’t.
Hatton’s trainer Billy Graham is beginning to enjoy Mayweather’s taunts, including his recent remark that Hatton is “nothing but a glorified club fighter.” He also feels the more people continue to doubt his fighter’s chances come fight night the more truly surprised they’ll be when it’s all over.
“People writing Ricky off takes a lot of pressure off of me,” he says. “Victory will be sweeter when Ricky beats him. As for the insults, I find it quite amusing. I just think he’s wasting his breath. If Floyd was actually affecting him I’d tell him to get another job.”
Graham then, just as Hatton has taken to doing, builds Mayweather up. “I think Floyd Mayweather is an absolutely fantastic fighter and defensively he is breathtaking. He’s extremely gifted. He’s a great fighter but that’s why we have wanted to fight him for so long. And my fighter will beat him.”