Graham evokes spirit of Duran

RICKY HATTON will evoke the spirit of Roberto Duran in his quest to become the first man to defeat Floyd Mayweather and establish himself as the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

That is the view of Hatton’s trainer Billy Graham, who said news of a verbal agreement between representatives of Hatton and Mayweather for a December fight in Las Vegas is “a dream come true”. Contracts are expected to be signed in the coming days for a fight which is set to earn Hatton around £8million, and Mayweather much more. It is expected to take place on December 8 in Las Vegas.

Referring to Duran’s famous win over Sugar Ray Leonard in their first fight in Montreal in 1980, when Duran lured his opponent into a brawl and claimed a points win, Graham said: “This is Ricky’s Sugar Ray Leonard fight.

“It’s the first Duran-Leonard fight all over again. Look at how Duran won that fight and you will see how Ricky will beat Floyd. I have been studying Floyd for years with a view to this fight.

“I never doubted this fight would be made because they are both true warriors who want to fight the best. But I know Ricky will win.”

Hatton’s father Ray confirmed this weekend that he had reached a “verbal agreement” with Mayweather’s camp shortly after returning from a trip to Las Vegas to watch Bernard Hopkins’ victory over Winky Wright.

Mayweather announced his retirement after his win over Oscar De La Hoya in May, but appears to have been riled back into the ring following disparaging comments by Hatton.

Hatton’s representatives will sign a one-fight deal with De La Hoya’s ‘Golden Boy’ organisation to promote the fight. Dennis Hobson will not be involved, although he will continue to be Hatton’s British promoter.

Graham added: “I already think Ricky is the best pound for pound fighter ever to come out of Britain but a lot of people don’t agree with me. This fight is going to leave no room for doubt.”

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