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Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Malignaggi issues Hatton warning

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas Date: Saturday 22 November
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live (start time to be confirmed) and live text commentary on BBC Sport website. Live on Sky Sports from 2100 GMT.

By Ben Dirs in Las Vegas

Malignaggi says he is “faster and smarter” than Hatton
Like Hatton, Malignaggi has only suffered one career defeat

Paulie Malignaggi says he is "faster and smarter" than Ricky Hatton and that a stoppage could be on the cards when they meet on Saturday.

Malignaggi, 27, fights Hatton, 30, for the de facto world light-welterweight title in Las Vegas, with both fighters having only ever lost once.

Malignaggi said: "I feel like nothing can break me and don't be surprised if I stop him.

"But I won't be looking for a knockout, I'm a boxer first, a crafty guy."

Malignaggi and Hatton held open workouts on Tuesday, and the Manchester fighter's fans were already very much in evidence at the MGM Grand.

"They never cease to amaze me," said Hatton of his travelling support.


"There's been a lot of fights to deal with recently - Joe Calzaghe in New York, David Haye last weekend - and you've got Christmas and New Year coming up, as well as the credit crunch."

Hatton was knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr at the same venue last December, but is confident of confounding his critics with a "classy" display against Malignaggi this time round.

"I'm very excited about what type of performance I'm going to put in," said Hatton, who has 44 wins and 31 knockouts from 45 fights.

"I went into training camp thinking 'am I past it, have the hard fights finally caught up with me?' But I haven't felt this good in two or three years - it could be the best Ricky Hatton there's ever been."

Hatton replaced long-term trainer Billy Graham with Floyd Mayweather Sr following a ragged points decision over Juan Lazcano in May, and he believes the highly-regarded American has given him a new lease of life.

"It will be the same aggressive Ricky Hatton but with a lot more polish, a lot more use of the jab and a lot more awareness of punches coming back at me," said Hatton.

"Malignaggi will be expecting me to come out like I have in the my last few fights, all guns blazing and with no real thought.

"But Floyd has slowed me down, got me moving my head, showing angles and generally doing stuff I haven't done in recent training camps.

"Everyone who thinks I'm past it will be writing a different script after Saturday and I'd be a liar if I didn't think I could stop him."

However Malignaggi, who has 25 wins and five knockouts from 26 fights, said Hatton was too set in his ways for Mayweather Sr to make any difference.

"I don't think you can teach an old dog new tricks," said Malignaggi, whose only defeat came against Puerto Rico's two-weight world champion Miguel Cotto in 2006.

Ricky Hatton
Hatton says his fans can expect to see a more measured approach

"He'll probably come out with a few new wrinkles, but he's been the same way for many years and there's not too many things you can change.

"But I'll be ready for anything he brings to the table, I'm not really concentrating on him, I'm concentrating on being the sharpest Paulie Malignaggi."

And on his fragile right hand, which has been operated on four times, Malignaggi said there were no concerns, adding:"When the bell rings for the first round I'm gonna punch Ricky in the mouth and see where it goes from there.

"I've never fought in Vegas, so for the first fight to be of this magnitude is surreal. Ever since I won the IBF title [in July 2007], it's a fight I've been looking forward to, and I'm looking forward to cashing in.

"It's a great clash of styles and personalities, but I just don't see how Hatton can win."

see also
Hatton Sr backs coaching regime
19 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Hatton v Malignaggi photos
19 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Hatton's seven best - and worst
18 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Hatton beyond help - Malignaggi
10 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Mayweather Sr will train Hatton
03 Sep 08 |  Boxing

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