LAS VEGAS – British boxer Ricky Hatton believes he has claimed a vital psychological blow ahead of Saturday night’s much-hyped WBC welterweight title clash with Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
The Englishman stood up to his also-unbeaten American opponent as an obligatory head-to-head photo session degenerated into a shoving match on Wednesday night.
He even made a throat-slitting gesture at Mayweather as tempers flared.
Hatton said: “I think Floyd preys on that confidence and that’s why he did it. I think it’ll hurt him more than me. I’ll go away and forget about it now, but I think he might be seething. I think I rattled him.
“He leaned on me a little bit, I just leaned back on him and he spat his dummy out. He isn’t pushing me back.
“There’s a time for me to laugh and joke and be my usual sarky self, but the fight’s two days away now and I’ve done my laughing and joking.
“When I leaned back on him, he said, ‘Don’t touch me, don’t touch me’. I gave him a little bit of the ‘You’re dead’ gesture then I smiled at him. If he’s annoyed at that, wait until the bell rings.”
Mayweather, who has engaged in a battle of bravado with Hatton since the fight was announced months ago, sought to shrug off the incident afterwards.
“Look at my hand – do I look like I’m shaking?” he said. “He can’t get under my skin. I’m not at all worried about that.”
The 30-year-old is seeking to defend his title against Hatton, who is hoping to become known as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Mayweather, known as “Pretty Boy Floyd” due to his millionaire lifestyle and stints on television shows such as Dancing With The Stars, has won six world titles in five weight classes without a loss from 38 fights in the past decade.
“I am the greatest and this is my time,” he said. “I’m not disrespecting Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. I’ve accomplished something no other fighter has. I’ve reigned for a decade and lost to nobody.
“I don’t think I will get the credit I deserve until my career is over and I give the sport all I have.
“I’m not arrogant. I’m cocky. I’m abnormal. I bring something different to the table. I came from a harsh background.
“I don’t think Ricky Hatton has ever seen his father shot. I don’t think Ricky Hatton has been on drugs. I don’t think his dad has been to prison. I come from a neighborhood where people dying is normal.
“To come from that life and fight my way to the top, that’s one hell of an accomplishment. I truly believed in myself when nobody believed in me. I don’t think it’s cocky. It’s just super-confident.
“When everybody was doubting me, I never complained, I never cried. I just kept proving them wrong.
“I live my life the way I live it. He lives his life the way he lives it. If he wants to drink beer and throw darts, that’s his life. My life is a little bit different.”