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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Empty the bank and put it on me, says Ricky Hatton

Rick Hatton is encouraging anyone interested in making a killing to "empty the bank" and put it on him beating Manny Pacquiao next weekend when they fight for his IBO light-welterweight title in Las Vegas. The Hyde fighter, as every boxer must before stepping under the fight lights, continues to dismiss his ­opponent – highlighting Pacquiao's three defeats and arguing that the pound-for-pound champion's reputation has benefited from hype rather than measured ­analysis.

"Pacquiao has been stopped a ­couple of times by body shots and has been knocked out and I don't think there's anything you can do to improve your ribs or chin," said Hatton, who is equally unimpressed by the four-weight world champion's last bout.

"You can't count the De La Hoya fight, Oscar was weight-drained – he left it all on the scales when he fought Manny," he argued of Pacquiao's eight-round massacre of the Golden Boy before Christmas.

That bout was at welterweight, in which the 147lb division Hatton ­suffered his one loss, finding Floyd Mayweather Jnr impossible to handle two years ago. Yet despite Pacquiao ­finding his ­outing against De La Hoya at the weight easy before now dropping down towards his more natural size, Hatton is ­unconcerned. "I don't think he's fought an idiot like me before who is 100 miles per hour, strong, fast and a real handful. I will be the biggest and strongest guy he has faced and with how I'm boxing more sensibly now I really think it's going to be enough."

Pacquiao is a 1-2 cert, according to the bookies. Is that fair? "I would expect Manny to be the favourite but I'm surprised his trainer Freddie Roach thinks I will get knocked out in three rounds. I've read some of the stuff and it's like it's not me Manny should be fighting but Godzilla. Suddenly, he's turned into some power merchant who will knock me out in three rounds after ­beating De La Hoya. But I've beaten bigger guys than Manny has. I'm not discarding what Manny has but forgive me if I don't share others' enthusiasm.

"Re-mortgage the house and empty the bank and put it all on me. I'm not ­getting ahead of myself. It's just the build of my opponent," he said of Pacquiao, who is an inch shorter than Hatton, "and how I feel. That's what I'm going on. Every day of the week I can beat this guy."

Possibly of concern, though, is Hatton's take on his previous fight. "I feel even better than I was last time which was the best I've been since I beat Kosta Tszyu [in 2005 to win the IBF light-welterweight belt]. This is the best shape I've been in my career. Before my last fight [in November] against Paulie Malignaggi people were saying I was showing signs of wear and tear and my stamina was showing going into the home straight. But I put all those doubts to rest."

Hatton says that a full training camp immersed with Floyd Mayweather has him primed. "I'm so, so confident it's unreal. People are getting carried away with Pacquiao's speed, but don't forget I'm a bit of a whippet myself. It has all gone really smoothly for this fight and this is the sharpest I've been."

If he wins Hatton says he will not entertain Amir Khan, who challenges for his own world title at the weight in June. "

I'm fighting some of the best fighters in the world and no disrespect to Amir but he's not on my agenda right now. If I beat Manny I want to fight Mayweather jnr again or Juan Manuel Marquez.

"It would be great to say Britain has the No1 in world boxing. Winning the world title was my goal as a kid, but being the pound-for-pound champion would be the ultimate."


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