Are you ready? Ricky Hatton better be. Because the world's best pound-for-pound fighter has heard enough, and is dead-set on fighting "The Hitman" this fall.
After Hatton's knockout win over Jose Luis Castillo on Saturday night, the 140-pound king told Max Kellerman, "There was more action in the four rounds of this fight than Floyd showed in his entire career." The comment, of course, drew a big reaction from the Vegas fans, many of whom had flown over from England to root on their countryman.
But in reality, this is not true. The Hatton/Castillo fight featured mild action and one great knockout punch. And it is hardly as if Mayweather hasn't been in some good fights in his career. Mayweather/Gatti, for instance, featured far more action than Hatton/Castillo, and that was a one-man show. Mayweather/Corrales is another, and that, too, was all one guy.
Floyd is now tired of the very public disrespect from Hatton and his camp, and he has retaliated.
"I was retired but I'll sign to fight Hatton right now. I've tried to let the things he said about me slide by, but now he's dissing me on national TV and I want to shut him up. I've never wanted to hurt an opponent like I do Hatton. Ricky Hatton cannot fight. He throws one punch at a time and then holds. Hatton is the most overrated fighter of the last 25 years."
The words from Mayweather are very strong, but I think that's because they're really coming from his heart. People say "coming from the heart" when they hear someone else say something very nice, but I think it applies here, too. Mayweather does not think much of Hatton. In fact, he probably legitimately thinks Hatton sucks.
I do like Ricky Hatton. I do think he's a good fighter. But Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is a superb boxer, and Hatton has never, ever been in a ring with anyone near Mayweather's talent. Mayweather, on the other hand, beat a strong Castillo twice, wiped the mat with Arturo Gatti and Diego Corrales, beat Oscar de la Hoya, beat Zab Judah, beat the hell out of Jesus Chavez.
And, again, I'm not somebody that thinks Hatton hasn't beaten anyone. There are a lot of good fighters on Hatton's record. Tszyu and Castillo were great fighters, and though Castillo is clearly past his prime, he's not bad now. Hatton manhandled Castillo. He retired Tszyu. Yet, Ricky Hatton is going to be taking an enormous step up in competition with this fight.
Which is great. Great for Hatton, great for boxing. Top fighters fighting each other. Who'd have guessed? I'm thrilled with Mayweather for wanting to accept the fight.
It's excellent news for boxing. Post-Oscar, Mayweather is a legitimate star now. He won't draw record-breaking buyrates with this fight, though this one is going to make a lot of money. Hatton was a star before hammering Castillo to his knees, and he's a bigger one now. He's recognized as without question the No. 1 junior welterweight in the world. Mayweather is without a doubt the best pound-for-pound. I hope this doesn't wind up being idle chatter where negotiations break down, and I don't think it will. There's a public demand for this fight.
We all want to see Mayweather take on the best fighters. That will firmly establish his legacy. And we all want to see Ricky Hatton fight top competition, either because we like him and think he can do well, or because we don't and want to see a myth busted.
Early talk is that the Mayweather camp is willing to do it this fall, but we'll see. If they go forward right now, I don't think we'll have to wait too long to see Mayweather/Hatton. Could HBO be happier?