by James Slater – It seems Team-Hatton is all but falling apart. Firstly, “The Hitman’s” long-time trainer and corner-man Billy Graham leaves/is “asked” to leave Ricky and now, as a news story on The Times on-line has reported, the fighter’s strength coach and nutritionist Kerry Kayes has also departed..
Apparently, in a move that has come as a big shock to Hatton, Kayes left because he said he and Billy Graham are a team and he could not continue to world for Ricky without him. Once having a close knit team around him, the 29-year-old “Hitman” has seen that team disband quite rapidly. Now, in getting ready for his big fight with IBF light-welterweight champion Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, Hatton will be working with Lee Beard. Will this latest development, along with the Graham departure, bother Hatton?
There is a good chance Hatton will be affected by being without two of his key team members. Kayes, who was responsible for getting the weight-ballooning fighter into tip-top shape for a bout, was very good at his job. Will his replacement, be that Beard or someone else, be as efficient at getting Hatton to shed the excess pounds? It’s a definite fact that when the going gets tough, either in training for a fight or in the fight itself, a boxer will look for the familiar faces that have helped him come through in the past. Ricky will not have this luxury going into the Malignaggi fight.
It really is a quite sad and alarming turn of events that Hatton has been hit by in the past few months. It does also seem as though things may be coming to an end for the most popular fighter in Britain. First, Hatton lost his unbeaten record, then he lost his father figure of a trainer, then, in the Juan Lazcano bout, it appeared as though he had lost a significant amount of his punch resistance; now Hatton has lost the man who got him into fighting shape.
Hatton may well prove any doubts about his future post-Graham and post-Kayes to be needless, and he may well beat Malignaggi in November and look good doing so. But it cannot be denied that this latest distraction/piece of bad news is something any fighter could well do without at any stage of their career – let alone when going into what will almost certainly be a tough, distance fight night’s work against a slick moving counter-puncher.
In short, Paulie Malignaggi’s chances of a win over Hatton have never looked better.