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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hatton diary: Working with Floyd

From the outside it must seem like one of the oddest partnerships in sports.

There's Floyd Mayweather Sr, a brash, middle-aged American trainer who likes rapping and trash talk and who's seen enough in and out of the ring to fill 10 lifetimes.

Then there's me, a simple lad from the streets of Manchester, England, who has followed my boxing dreams to the bright lights of Las Vegas.

But despite the differences in our personalities, I know without any doubt that Floyd is the right man to prepare me for my fight with Manny Pacquiao next Saturday.

There have been plenty of funny incidents along the way, like at a press conference in Hollywood, California, when Floyd pretended to run off with the top trainer trophy that will be on the line between him and Freddie Roach on May 2.

On that same occasion, Floyd made some bold predictions in the form of a lengthy and barely-understandable rap song that claimed I would deliver a hiding to Pacquiao.

Of course, you have to take everything Floyd says with a pinch of salt. He goes over the top with his words and his antics, but he means every word of it. They are not lies.

When he says he has prepared me to handle everything Pacquiao throws at me in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, then it comes from the heart. He is confident I will win and so am I.

When Floyd and I first started working together he raised some concerns about how my weight balloons a bit between fights, and the message has sunk in.

He came to Manchester at the start of this training camp, and he could see my life is in order now. I am engaged, I am living at home with my fiancée Jennifer, and I am showing a bit more responsibility.

We had our last hard sparring session on Wednesday. Normally it would be Friday, eight days before a fight - but you don't want to overcook it.

Floyd and co-trainer Lee Beard have got me feeling sharper than ever, so I will resist the temptation to squeeze out that little bit more.

From now I will do my run at 6 a.m. and just keep things topped up with some strength work and a big focus on technique.

I can't remember feeling this good ahead of a fight, especially in America. I have learned as I've gone along.

My first time fighting in Las Vegas was when I beat Juan Urango. We came out only a week before and stayed in a casino, and I got sick. With all the air conditioning, you are breathing in everyone else's junk and my nose got blocked, which is the last thing you want as a boxer.

Next time out, against Jose Luis Castillo, I arrived in Vegas two weeks before and stayed in a rented house. For Floyd Mayweather Jr it was three weeks before, and even though I lost it felt closer to ideal preparation.

This time around it will be five weeks, and although Vegas will never feel like home I am very comfortable here. After training I put my feet up, we have a meal and a game of cards.

In the evening I might nip out for a coffee or a bit of a walk before bedtime.

I've been a good boy and I have worked hard. There's been no partying and no drinking, that's strictly for when I'm out of training.

But I've got a feeling I will have something to celebrate in just over a week so watch out: Ricky Fatton could be coming soon to a pub near you.

I will be back Tuesday to keep you posted with how things are going ahead of the fight of my life.
Ricky Hatton / Eurosport


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