Boxing


Hatton Mayweather Getting Under Each Other’s Skin

26.10.07 - By Matthew Hurley: A funny thing happened after the initial press conference for the December 8th showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton. The festivities went pretty much according to plan with the genial Hatton thanking the crowd and offering Mayweather praise and then promising a victory over his formidable opponent. Then Mayweather strutted to the dais and the insults and for many, the overbearing attitude of the self-proclaimed “greatest fighter ever” took center stage. Mayweather even showed off his dancing skills with his partner for the television show “Dancing With The Stars”, Karina Smirnoff.

It was typical “Pretty Boy” Floyd bluster that the boxing world and the sports world in general got a healthy dose of in the build up to his fight with Oscar De La Hoya. The HBO reality show “24/7” managed to turn Mayweather into either a money hungry prima donna who peppers his language with F’bombs every three seconds or a supremely dedicated athlete who is simply politically incorrect. It depends on your view. He did however manage to turn himself into the villain and his uncle and trainer Roger Mayweather’s baiting of De La Hoya trainer Freddie Roach just sealed the deal.

So it was little wonder that Mayweather got up in Hatton’s face and threatened him with street tough language and promised to knock him out. All the while Hatton nodded and smiled, refusing to let Mayweather draw him into a shouting match.

“He’s all a bunch of talk,” Hatton said afterward. “I think it bothers him that I don’t let it get under my skin.”

But did it get under his skin? Because in the weeks after that first stare down Hatton has become uncharacteristically vocal towards his opponent.

“In my eyes this fight is already over,” he remarked recently. “I think Floyd is going to get the shock of his life.”

Hatton waves off his previous welterweight showing against Luis Collazo as an aberration. “I came in too heavy for that fight so I was sluggish and slow and got caught more than I should have. In this fight I’m going to be like the Energizer bunny. If Floyd doesn’t knock me out he won’t outpoint me. He’s taking me lightly and he’s going to be in for a shock.”

The “Hitman” also maintains that his pressure tactics will work on Mayweather just as they did on previous opponents Kostya Tszyu and Jose Luis Castillo. He singles out Castillo as a perfect example as to why he will succeed against Mayweather pointing out that Floyd had all sorts of problems with Castillo the two times he faced the Mexican.

“I’m just going to keep coming after him,” he maintains. “I throw loads of punches and I’m strong and I won’t allow him to rest for a second. That pressure will get to him.”

Mayweather who had been focusing most of his energy on his dancing competition was oddly silent when all this verbiage hit the airwaves. But now that he’s been voted off the show the fighter who can never seem to keep his mouth closed is barking back.

“Castillo?” he says with a shrug. “I fought him six years ago. He had nothing left (when Hatton fought him). He just wanted the money because he was broke. Look, Hatton’s a pretty good fighter but he can’t even compare himself to Oscar De La Hoya. He’s not even close and he’s not even a true welterweight.”

With his attention now firmly back on Hatton and the HBO cameras preparing to once again follow him around for another round of “24/7” the performer in Mayweather is coming out for another show once again.

“He wants to put pressure on me, fine. I fight better going backwards.”

As to how this fight will affect his legacy Mayweather almost seems annoyed by the question. “It won’t do anything. My legacy is already secure. Hatton isn’t even the best fighter in Britain. That would be Calzaghe.”

All this talk should make the HBO series interesting and fun viewing. The smack talk is also creating a slow buzz for this fight because the overriding feeling at this point in time is that Mayweather will box his way to a comfortable decision victory. Also the Calzaghe – Kessler super middleweight unification bout followed by the Cotto – Mosley fight have overshadowed Hatton – Mayweather because those two fights are seen as pick ‘em affairs.

But once the dust settles from those two meg-fights Hatton – Mayweather will begin to heat up and hopefully the fight itself will match the lip service both fighters provide as they find themselves approaching the opening bell.

Hatton – Mayweather 24/7 will debut on HBO November 18th at 10 pm.

Article posted on 26.10.2007



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