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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Training camp gives Ricky Hatton 'new impetus' ahead of Manny Pacquiao clash

Hatton, preparing for his fifth fight in Vegas, against Manny Pacquiao on May 2, believes leaving the comfort zone of Manchester brings out the best in him. "I've made Vegas my [fighting] home, and I could take fights in Manchester but every time I come here I'm getting away from the comfort zone."

Hatton also believes he has answered his critics. "People said I avoided people. I do want to keep proving myself. Four years ago, I beat Kostya Tszyu – people thought I would never do it, then they said it was a fluke, but they can't say that about what I have done since. I'm still trying to prove myself."

In the last four years, Hatton has fought nine times at elite world level, eight of them in the United States.

Hatton admits he had lingering doubts after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jnr 16 months ago, followed by a few worrying moments against Juan Lazcano, in Manchester, five months later.

"Yes, after the Mayweather fight, then the Lazcano fight I wondered if the writing was on the wall, had I had too many hard fights, and I started believing it myself, but what I really needed was a new training camp, new impetus.

"I believe I'm still in my prime. It is what I needed. I feel confident, relaxed, I'm enjoying training camp and training, and everything is falling into place."

Hatton certainly looks lean in the face, and has been sparring four days. The skin on his jaw is tight. Is he too far ahead of schedule? "There is no chance I'm over-training. I feel very good, very relaxed and where I wanted to be at this point. I'm 10 pounds over the [140lb light-welterweight] limit at the minute, and my diet is fantastic.

"You need that because there is nothing worse than doing a gruelling training session, and sparring, and then having to watch what you put in your mouth afterwards."

Hatton insists he has learnt lessons from Californian Oscar De La Hoya, who lost too much weight, too early, before he was dismantled in eight rounds by Pacquiao last December. Hatton and De La Hoya, both intent on being promoters when their respective boxing careers are over, remain firm friends.

"De La Hoya was a prime example of losing too much weight too early. Oscar is a great friend of mine, but he made mistakes before that fight. What Oscar did makes me more determined not to make the same mistake. I'm 140lbs when I step on the scales and within hours I'm back to 148/149 lbs."


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