Ricky Hatton admits he has been below par for his last two fights and is looking for improvement against Jose Luis Castillo next month.
Hatton’s IBO welterweight title fight, in Las Vegas on June 23, gives the Manchester fighter the chance to enhance his reputation as one of Britain’s finest boxers and he is hoping the Mexican will bring out the best in him.
The 28-year-old admits he was under par against Juan Urango and Luis Collazo, and is looking to reach the levels of his famous win over Kostya Tszyu nearly two years ago.
“It’s my toughest fight and my biggest fight apart from Kostya Tszyu,” said Hatton.
“In the last two fights I was expected to win and maybe took my foot off the gas but I think Castillo will bring the best out of me.”
Meanwhile, Hatton has left the door open for a showdown in England with Oscar De La Hoya after the Castillo clash.
De La Hoya, who lost his WBC light middleweight crown to Floyd Mayweather at the weekend, has been suggested as a possible opponent.
“Without a doubt it would be a dream,” said Hatton.
“He’s not even a modern-day legend, he’s a legend with everything he has done.
“He said he would be willing to move near the welterweight division in order to do it, so....
“Joe Calzaghe got a wonderful crowd in Cardiff against Peter Manfredo, around 35,000. Ricky Hatton against Oscar De La Hoya, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t think we could double it.”
Mayweather stated his intention to retire after beating De La Hoya but Hatton still has ambitions to fight him, adding: “That depends on Floyd Mayweather.”
Any fight between either of the two boxing legends and Hatton would require one boxer moving weight division.
The Castillo fight will be screened by Setanta Sports, the ambitious broadcasters who have established themselves as rivals to BBC and Sky Sports.
Hatton’s fights were screened by Sky before the current deal with Setanta, which is for an undisclosed fee.
Setanta have offered a pay-per-view package where buying the fight comes with a free two-month subscription to their channel.
Central to the deal was Dennis Hobson, and Hatton will discuss a new deal to keep himself with the promoter after the Castillo fight.
“I would like to finish my career with Dennis,” he said.