Ricky Hatton reveals the moment he realised how good Floyd was and addresses the referee's performance that night
Former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton has told William Hill’s podcast, Up Front with Simon Jordan, that he went into his fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2007 thinking that he couldn’t lose, and that the referee did not do a good job.
Featuring on William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan, a podcast hosted by the former Crystal Palace owner who speaks to sports stars and celebrities and challenges their opinions whilst scrutinising their careers, Hatton said: “Going into the Mayweather fight, I absolutely thought I was going to win, because at that time I’d never tasted defeat. The show was called ‘The Undefeated’ – I was 43-0-0 and he was 39-0-0 at the time. I went over to America grateful for my biggest opportunity and payday yet, but I thought I could beat him.
“It’s easy for people to say that I was being drawn into Mayweather’s mind games during the press conferences, but I was walking off the stage laughing saying, ‘how good was that!’. I can see why people think I did get drawn in and it is very hard not to. I had 10,000 fans just at the weigh-in and 40,000 of my fans came and took over his hometown, so it’s hard not to get drawn in.
“In the heat of the moment my head had gone, but when I went behind the curtain, I wasn’t raging at him, I was actually a little bit buzzing – I was in control of myself.”
Hatton vs Mayweather
Hatton went on to describe the actual night of the fight, stating that he didn’t believe Mayweather could beat him, but as soon as he stepped in the ring, he realised the American was on “a different level”.
“Honestly, I went there thinking I was going to beat him,” he said. “When he’d fought José Luis Castillo a few years before, I thought Castillo might’ve actually won the first fight which went Floyd’s way in the end. Marcos Maidana only got beaten by him on a majority decision, and I wasn’t as powerful as him, but I was quicker and had better ability and footwork. I thought I had the tools to beat him. I just thought I had to get close to him, because I wasn’t going to beat him any other way.
“Undefeated fighters are always dangerous because they don’t know they can be defeated, and I went into the fight thinking I couldn’t be.
“Right from the start I could see that I was in the ring with a different level of fighter. My trainer at the time, Billy Graham, wanted me to ease into the fight, but we knew that if we needed to change the game plan at any point then we could. So, I was easing into it in the first round then suddenly, bang! Floyd hit me with a left hook, and I thought, ‘that was rapid’.
“At the end of the first round I said to Billy, ‘I don’t think I can ease into this’, because the more space I gave him, the more chance he had to use his speed and ability. I knew I had to move in on him, stay on him and punch away.”
The man in the middle
Hatton would go on to lose the fight in the tenth round by TKO, but the Englishman still feels as though referee Joe Cortez, who has since been criticised for deducting points from Hatton and separating the fighters too easily, was very bad on the night, suggesting he may have been influenced by the strong English contingent in the crowd.
“I don’t like to talk about it too much because people call it sour grapes, but the referee was absolutely terrible – everyone could see it,” said Hatton. “I’m not saying I would have won, but you cannot look me in the eye and tell me that Joe Cortez did a good job and let the flight flow that night.
“It took me by surprise because my previous fight had been against another body puncher, and we were going toe-to-toe and getting really close, and Joe Cortez just stood there and let it happen. If you watch those two fights and compare them, you can’t come and tell that he did a good job in the Mayweather fight.
“I was in the changing rooms before the fight where we had a TV screen, and we were watching the national anthems being sung,” he continued. “The crowd started booing the American national anthem and I remember the camera panning to Joe Cortez, he was stood in the corner shaking his head – that just stuck in my head.
“We’re used to it in England at football matches and whatever else, but in America you absolutely have to respect the national anthem. The way I look at it is that if I was a referee from Manchester and Mayweather came to Manchester to fight a Mancunian, then all the American fans start booing our national anthem, if I’m the referee I’m thinking, ‘well that’s you guys f***ed’. I think that’s what happened on that night.”
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