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Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 09:59 UK

Hatton criticised for lifestyle

Ricky Hatton v Juan Lazcano, IBO light-welterweight title
Date: 24 May Time: From 2130 BST Venue: City of Manchester Stadium
Coverage: Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website

Ricky Hatton
Hatton is known to balloon in weight between fights

The trainer of Ricky Hatton's next opponent believes the "Hitman" is not the fighter he once was because of his lifestyle choices outside the ring.

Ronnie Shields, who is preparing Juan Lazcano to fight Hatton on Saturday, said his diet of takeaways and alcohol is finally taking its toll.

The bout at the City of Manchester Stadium is Hatton's first since his loss to Floyd Mayweather in December.

"I think his lifestyle has finally caught up with him," said Shields.

"Ricky has a lot to prove because he got knocked out by Floyd Mayweather.

"Floyd's not a puncher, he's never knocked anyone out, he's a decision guy. For him to KO Ricky, it wasn't because of Floyd's punching power, it was because Ricky has gone downhill.

"The Ricky in the Mayweather fight wasn't the Ricky you saw against Kostya Tszyu or the other guys he's beaten.

Juan is a veteran of the boxing game, one of the best fighters I've seen in a long time

Trainer Ronnie Shields

"I had Ricky ahead after five or six rounds (against Floyd) then all of a sudden he gets hit with shots he normally wouldn't be getting hit with and he gets hurt.

"I think the lifestyle is catching up on him. Whether Ricky realises that or not I don't know."

Hatton stepped up to welterweight to fight Mayweather, regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and blamed the defeat on his failure to execute his game plan.

Saturday's bout sees the Briton drop down to his preferred weight as he attempts to defend his reputation as the world's best light-welterweight.

But veteran American trainer Shields believes Lazcano, 33, has the potential to cause an upset in front of an estimated 55,000 fans.


"Juan is a veteran of the boxing game, one of the best fighters I've seen in a long time," he said. "I've never seen him more hyped for a fight and I've been around him for 20 years."

"I used him as a sparring partner for Pernell Whitaker and Zab Judah and he has always been able to handle himself."

Although his trainer believes Hatton is past his best, Lazcano has praised the Manchester-born fighter's spirit.

"I tip my hat to Ricky," said the Mexican. "He's stepping out so soon after his last fight and I really have to commend him for that.

"He's not your ordinary fighter. He's proved he's got a lot of 'cojones' to do what he's doing."

Hatton himself has come out before the fight and revealed his regret at not representing Great Britain at the Olympics.

He decided to turn professional in 1996 instead of remaining an amateur for the 2000 Sydney games.

"It's everyone's dream. Some of the proudest moments of your career are when you represent your country for the first time," he said.

"But immediately after the 1996 Olympics I turned 18 so it was another four years to go and I made the decision to turn professional rather than wait another four years.

"It is something I will strongly regret. But I still stand by the decision of what I did, the timing just wasn't right."

see also
Hatton's battle with the bulge
30 Nov 07 |  Boxing
Hatton puts fans before US cash
01 May 08 |  Boxing
Hatton set for five more fights
19 Dec 07 |  Boxing
Bank Holiday weekend on BBC Sport
19 May 08 |  TV/Radio Schedule

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