I recently had the opportunity to speak with former two division world champion Ricky 'The Hitman” Hatton during the 201st edition of “On The Ropes.” Hatton, who retired from boxing last November after a ninth round knockout loss has now turned his focus to being a full time trainer/promoter, and has been working with Sergey Rabchenko towards getting a title shot at 147lbs. Besides speaking on the future of Rabchenko, he also discussed his former opponent Floyd Mayweather Jr. and what fights he sees out there for boxing’s current P4P king. Ricky gave his thoughts on potential match ups between Mayweather and Danny Garcia, Gennady Golovkin, and most notably Amir Khan. Here is what Ricky Hatton has to say in part one of his interview.
Jenna J: Now making his third appearance to “On The Ropes” boxing radio, I'm joined by the former Ring Magazine light welterweight champion of the world, Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton. How’s things going today, Ricky?
Ricky Hatton: Yeah going great thank you, yeah, just been into Manchester city centre and met Evander Holyfield actually. Evander Holyfield is over here doing his Sportsman’s dinner tour and we went and took a load of food for the homeless people which was nice to not only meet the champ but to give to a good cause. It's been a good start to the day.
Jenna: Awesome, great stuff to hear. Ricky, last time I talked to you on the show, you were just starting to adjust to the fact that you had retired from your boxing career and you were moving onto the promoting. I have to ask you now its almost been one year since you last fought in the ring. Have you had any pull at all to come back?
Hatton: No, not at all to be honest with you, I got all the answers I needed from my comeback. Yeah of course it would have been nice to have won and hopefully go on to win another world title but ultimately with all the problems I had suffered not so long back, it was nice to just go and get the answers.
Every fighter always thinks they've got one more fight in them and that fight told me that I haven't. I found out what I needed to know and now I can move on into my promoting and training and try and bring the UK's next proper champions through.
Jenna: Ricky, your brother Matthew recently retired and now obviously with you retired, does it feel like a closing chapter on the fighting career for the Hatton's?
Hatton: It is yeah, but me and Matthew have had a wealth of experience with what we did in the boxing ring and I've had a lot of experience in life in general of knowledge I can pass on in do's and don't if you like, so the next best thing would probably be in the wonderful life boxing has given me and my family, if I could give some other youngsters that opportunity I think that would be the next best thing and I think I speak for Matthew when I say that.
Jenna: Lets talk a little about the fact that you are now a trainer and you are working with a fighter who is thought of very highly and might get a title shot soon, that’s Sergey Rabchenko. I'm just curious as to what you think of the progress you've had with him so far?
Hatton: Yeah, Sergey is a very talented lad, a murderous power puncher and we’re getting better and better as each fight goes along. He's WBC ranked number one junior middleweight in the country now, he's also the WBC silver champion and European junior middleweight champion. So yeah, he's right there in the mix for the likes when you think of Saul Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather just fought for the WBC title, he's right there in the mix and he's proved his worth.
He's a murderous puncher, he's getting better and better every fight and we've had maybe four fights together now and each time he's shown improvement and bearing in mind his age, he's only twenty six years of age, I expect him to even improve further over the forthcoming years now.
Jenna: He has an upcoming fight on November the sixteenth. Can you let the fans know what kind of challenge he has in front of him?
Hatton: He has a very tough challenge in front of him, Cedric Vitu fought on my undercard last time on my comeback. After I watched that fight I thought he won that fight by three points but it wasn’t you know. Sergey has been his own and you know he's been that good, when you have a slightly off performance people like to jump on the bandwagon but no, he should of been fighting in France against Vitu and then the fight got postponed and moved on another five weeks which as any fighter will tell you it’s very difficult when you’re trying to peak at the right time if you like.
So that was a difficult time with him and also because he was better than we had to move the fight and put him on my undercard I couldn't go in Sergey's corner you know so it was very, very difficult really you know I can imagine it would be like me going in the corner without Billy Graham a little bit, it's not ideal. There were reasons why his performance wasn't quite on what I expect and what Sergey expects of himself, but I expect him to win in a lot better style this time against Vitu.
Jenna: Ricky, you mentioned before he's ranked number 1 now and Floyd Mayweather Jr. currently holds that belt, I'm sure you don’t have thoughts of that fight possibly ever happening because Floyd is picking his last four fights very carefully. I'm actually just curious what do you think of Floyd right now in his last fight and the position he's in now as the top draw in the sport?
Hatton: Yeah to be honest with you it was a master class performance you know. Everyone probably said that Alvarez was probably the closest anyone would come to beating Floyd, and it proved to be the opposite in fact, it was a master class. I rarely gave poor Saul Alvarez a round if truth be known.
At the time I was heartbroken at losing to Floyd Mayweather but when you see how he's performed since and against Saul Alvarez which is his recent performance, it makes me very proud of the performance I did because I obviously moved out of my junior welterweight division up seven pounds to welterweight and I think maybe up to five or six rounds I was giving him lots of trouble.
Eventually Floyd's class showed and he pulled away with it but you know, to fight someone like Floyd out of my own weight division and put in the performance I did, it’s looking better and better. I feel even prouder now.
Jenna: Ricky you mentioned your performance is looking better and better, when people think of how to beat Floyd, they have a theory of maybe what you did is the way to go about it, to bum rush him to make him feel uncomfortable to put constant pressure on him. Just from your perspective now being a trainer, and having actually fought him, how do you think is the best way of trying to go about beating him, what gives you the best chance?
Hatton: I think to be honest with you, the people who put pressure on him like I did, I think it was working you know for a short period. I think it was round nine or ten was one of the few rounds where Alvarez actually really did put some pressure on Floyd. I think he stood off because he's never gonna outbox Floyd, but he stood off a bit too much. I think it was the ninth or tenth round when he applied a bit of pressure and that was one of the rounds in which he won you know.
Maybe that is the way to go but I think Floyd and his style, the way he fights with his shoulder rolls and stuff like that, I think Floyd would prefer it when people fly at him because he has good defense. That good movement, he can stay low, he can shoulder, it’s an exceptional defense he's got. I wonder what would happen if style wise Floyd had someone who ran away from him where Floyd had to be the hunter if you like and cut the ring down.
Floyd's not really had to do that against too many people because you know, everyone has that theory or that picture inside their head that you've gotta jump all over Floyd and it would be interesting to see if he got somebody who jabbed and moved, you know like Malignaggi did with Broner. Adrien Broner's very good when people are putting pressure on him, that style may not be too good when you’re cutting the ring down. That would be interesting, but the truth be known I don't think there's anyone out there to beat Floyd.
Jenna: You mention there's nobody out there to beat Floyd, what big fights are out there? He just came off the biggest fight in boxing history monetarily. What fights do you realistically see out there for him?
Hatton: I would say he's sort of running out of people now, that’s to Floyd's credit because he's been that good. I think theres only maybe Amir Khan for Mayweather, because you've obviously got the United States/UK rivalry and Amir's a former champion who's proved his worth.
Danny Garcia has cleared up at junior welterweight, I think Garcia and Alvarez are very similar style of opponents. Nobody’s thinking that if Alvarez can’t beat Floyd then a ten stone version will beat him. Maybe Golovkin for Floyd raising the bar even further if he goes up to middleweight, or does a catch weight, which is probably a possibility as a lot of the big fights now the champions at different weights want to fight each other so they have to go down the catch weight and maybe that’s a possibility.
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