Floyd shows Ricky the old ways are best

RICKY HATTON is looking forward to reawakening his boxing talents when he fights Paulie Malignaggi at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Hatton, 30, returns tomorrow night, to defend his Ring Magazine Light-Welterweight championship belt, to the venue where he suffered the first defeat of his career last December 8 when he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Yet he will climb into the same ring to face Malignaggi with his confidence restored and morale boosted by working with a new trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Hatton hired Mayweather Sr after splitting with long-time handler Billy Graham following his defeat of Juan Lazcano in his native Manchester in May.

The Englishman believes the American trainer can bring out the best in him once more, resurrecting talents he has shown fleetingly and after what he feels has been a series of one-dimensional fights leading up to his defeat by Mayweather’s estranged son.

“People say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, but I’ve always had those tricks,” said Hatton.

“Look at my performances against (Ben) Tackie, Ray Oliveira and the first six rounds against Juan Urango – I’ve always had that in my locker. I just haven’t shown it.

“In the Castillo fight — probably one my best results — I got him early, so it probably didn’t matter. It was 100 miles an hour, crash bang, wallop — a hell of a fight.

“I was never going to outbox Floyd but I think I should have shown a little bit more method to my madness. My over-eagerness in the end got me chinned.

“But I’ve always had this boxing ability — and working with Floyd, he’s brought it right out of my locker.”

Hatton intends to moderate his tactics this time.

“On Saturday night, you’re not going to see Ricky Hatton on his toes, jabbing and moving, switching and doing the Ali shuffle — but you’re going to see Ricky Hatton moving his head as he comes in, jabbing as he comes in and setting up his attacks,” he predicted.

“People tell me they remember me from years back when I always used to set up my body shots, throw little combinations first or move to the side.

“You haven’t seen that in a couple of years, and it’s come back in this training camp.”

Hatton admits that although his trademark, come-forward style might have served him well in the past, it is no longer adequate to beat the best in the business.

“Since I bulldozed Kostya Tszyu (in 2005), maybe — without realising it — I began to feel like I maybe had an invisible shield around me, an indestructibility about me.

“(Luis) Collazo, I just bulldozed in; (Jose Luis) Castillo I just bulldozed in; Mayweather I just bulldozed in. You can’t do that at this level, and that is what has been drilled into me again.”

That is not to say Hatton is abandoning his old ways completely.

“You’re still going to see body punching, putting the pressure on him,” he said.

“I don’t want people to come out thinking I’ll be boxing and jabbing and moving, because I’m not.

“I’m going to be jumping all over Paulie but I’m going to be doing it in a manner where I’ll be setting up my attacks, jabbing as I go in, changing the angles, combinations to set up my body shots and my big punching.

“People are saying ‘Oh you can’t turn him into a boxer all of a sudden’ — but I’ve always been able to do this. I’ve always had it in me; I’ve just never had the chance to bring it out. But in working with Floyd, I’ve been able to do that — and it’s coming to the forefront.”

Hatton is also enjoying his training again, being in a busy gym and working with the charismatic Mayweather Sr.

“It’s entertaining,” he said.

“Some boxers like to play mind games. It’s not me, but I don’t need to with a trainer like Floyd.

“He’s a character; he’s got a wonderful sense of humour — and so training, as hard as it’s been, has been fun as well.

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