Boxing


Ricky Hatton – “Billy Graham Will Be Training Me"

Matthew Hurley: Ricky Hatton dismissed rumors of a rift between him and trainer Billy Graham this weekend, ending speculation that the fighter would seek out a new trainer in the aftermath of his loss to Floyd Mayweather on December 8th. Hatton spoke with a British television reporter upon his arrival back in Manchester and, with a week’s hindsight offered up his thoughts on his performance and his future..

“It wasn’t a bad performance,” he said, the swelling above and below his right eye nearly gone. “I think I could have done this or that a little better. I was doing well up to the midpoint. I think the referee could have done a better job but it was Floyd who beat me. I think when I had the point taken off I lost my temper and got out of my game.

Much criticism has been leveled at referee Joe Cortez for not only breaking the two fighters up whenever they got in close but for being remarkably over officious which eventually resulted in him taken a point from Hatton for punching to the back of the head. The ruling seemed unwarranted as Floyd had turned his back and fell through the ropes while Hatton’s right hand hit the top rope rather than Mayweather’s head. Still, Hatton went on record before the bout that he was happy with the selection of Cortez as the referee and despite the questionable point deduction Hatton refused to lay the blame for his loss on the shoulders of the referee.

Hatton went on to lament his countrymen’s booing of the American National Anthem but insisted that his fans remain the best in the world.

“I regret that (the booing) more than anything.”

As for his future in the ring Hatton expressed a bit of puzzlement as to why some have been calling for his retirement.

“I’ve definitely got a few left in me,” he said. “I was fighting out of my natural weight class so I’ll probably drop back down to light welterweight. You know, I fought the best pound for pound fighter in the world so I don’t have any regrets.”

As for the rumors that trainer Billy Graham may be on the way out, Hatton shook his head in denial.

“I’ve read some things in the newspapers… things get blown out of proportion. Billy Graham will be training me.”

As for WBC junior welterweight champion Junior Witter, who has been calling Hatton out for years, chances of him being the ‘Hit Man’s’ next opponent seem slim. This is according to Hatton attorney Gareth Williams.

“Ricky will never fight Junior Witter as long as he keeps slagging him off in public,” he told the Daily Mail. “We won’t let Witter make his fortune by piggy-backing on Ricky’s success.”

It seems a bit odd that the Hatton camp would take offense to a potential opponent’s taunts after enduring months of Floyd and Roger Mayweather’s insults. But Hatton has never expressed much interest in fighting Witter. He may instead focus on light hitting but slick IBF junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi.

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The Hatton – Mayweather pay-per-view card registered 850,000 buys and brought in $47 million in pay-per-view revenues. Floyd’s previous bout with Oscar De La Hoya became the best selling pay-per-view even with 2.4 million buys and $134 million in revenues. 2007 represented the biggest year for pay-per-view buys in HBO’s history.

Article posted on 18.12.2007



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