Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The 'Old' Ricky Hatton Makes a Return

If there was a fighter made for 140 pounds - it could be 'The Hitman' who can work himself into razor sharp shape.

I’ve spoken with Ricky Hatton numerous times over the years - and earlier this week I noticed a difference in his voice. There was an eagerness to it -an excitement if you will - and he sounded hungry and ready to go head-to-head against Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd.

I don’t know if the Ricky Hatton we all came to know ever went away - but if a part of him did - it just sounded to me that the old Ricky Hatton is back. When I talked to him before he fought Floyd Mayweather, Jr. he was a bit grouchy and testy. But the Hatton of 2009 is talkative and eager and I noticed a distinct difference in him.

Hatton says he is as fast right now in his training as he was on the night that he faced Paulie Malignaggi back in November and Hatton is sounding the notion that he may at the top of his game and in his prime.

“You know, nobody thought that I was going to take the title from Kostya Tszyu,” said Hatton of his title winning performance back in 2005. “A lot of people said that was a mismatch and nobody gave me a chance there, but I toppled him. He was a murderous puncher and he was one of the best in the world and in the end I made him quit. I’m telling you, I do believe that I am better today than the night I beat Tszyu. The reason I say that is because not only do I still have the same old aggressive, come ahead style - but now in working with Mayweather, Sr. I have a left jab, I have boxing ability, handspeed and combination punching - so Manny Pacquiao has to keep all of that in mind.”

Hatton also claims that when he walks into the MGM Grand Garden and steps through the ropes and into the ring that Manny Pacquiao will be going up against the heaviest fighter he has ever faced. Hatton said that by the time the bell rings he will likely weigh “11 stone - or 154 pounds.”

Hatton may have been at his best when he steamrolled the great Kostya Tszyu in Manchester, England in June 2005.

“When I have stood beside Manny I do feel bigger than him,” continued Hatton. “It’s not just about my size and me being bigger than he is or me trying to bulldoze him over. I realize that I can’t run straight in on him and go in without watching at what’s coming back at me. But now I’ve got the technical ability to back up my size advantage. I’m unbeaten at 10 stone (140 pounds) and that, I truly, truly feel is my weight division.”

Before he fought Mayweather, Jr. I sensed a certain caution in Hatton’s voice and mannerisms as though he was not one hundred percent sure of himself. But in speaking with him, albeit by telephone, I sense no trepidation on his part.

“I know there is danger there against Manny Pacquiao, but I’m up to the brim and overflowing with confidence right now,” Hatton said. “I’m massive at junior welterweight, this is my division and that’s what I’m going to go and show.”

March 2009

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