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Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

Mayweather Sr eyes Pacquiao test

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Las Vegas

Ricky Hatton
Hatton celebrates in front of his legion of travelling fans in Las Vegas

Floyd Mayweather Sr said he would prefer Ricky Hatton to fight Manny Pacquiao rather than Oscar de la Hoya after the defeat of Paulie Malignaggi.

"It's Ricky's call, but do I want to see him fight Oscar? Not really," said Mayweather Sr, who only started training Hatton seven weeks ago.

"I would rather see him fight Pacquiao, that's the perfect match for Ricky. But I don't see Pacquiao beating Oscar."

Hatton, meanwhile, said he would fight either man, preferably at Wembley.

"Let's hope my next opponent is the winner of Pacquiao-De La Hoya," he said. "Who am I to say who will win that? In fact, the winner or the loser will be a good fight to be honest.

"I'll be in Vegas for that and watching it with interest and maybe we can get it at Wembley, a 100,000 crowd, and with that performance I'm right there now in the reckoning.

"It has been mentioned a few times so maybe I will get my wish and become the best pound-for-pound fighter."

Six-weight world champion De la Hoya is a heavy favourite to beat Filipino superstar Pacquiao, who started his career at flyweight, when they meet on 6 December.

America's De la Hoya, a former middleweight world champion, would want any fight against Hatton to take place at welterweight, and Hatton has struggled in his two fights in that division.

In 2006 he scraped past Luiz Collazo to claim the WBA welterweight crown, before losing handily to Floyd Mayweather Jr, Floyd Sr's son, last December.

However, having previously said he would never fight at 147lb again, Hatton now says he would be prepared to move back up, if need be.

"There are a lot of good fighters in the light-welterweight division now," said Hatton.

BBC Sport's Ben Dirs
"But as good as (WBO title-holder) Kendall Holt and (WBC title-holder) Timothy Bradley are, they're not the household names that Manny Pacquiao and Oscar de la Hoya are.

"If I'm going to have a couple of years left, what sort of a champion would I be if I turned my back on fighting Oscar or Manny?

"And I'd like to think that with that performance (against Malignaggi) I've put myself firmly in the frame."

Manchester's Hatton added that he thought his 11th-round stoppage of Malignaggi was a "defining fight", in that it proved he was not, as some people thought might be the case, past it.

"I lost against Mayweather and the fight against Juan Lazcano (in May) wasn't great," said Hatton, who now has 45 wins from 46 fights.

"Doubts had been creeping in - have I had too many fights, has going up and down in weight had an effect? But I showed a technical side to my game I've been missing for two or three fights.

"Sometimes the red mist came down and I turned into the old Ricky Hatton, but I quickly settled back down and there was a little more composure there than normal.

"I was moving my head a bit more, jabbing and was aware of punches coming back at me.

Paulie Malignaggi
Malignaggi was stunned when the referee called a halt to the fight

"When you're working on new things and trying to put them into practice probably the hardest person to do that against is someone like Paulie Malignaggi. He's fast and slippery, like a bar of soap.

"But I still managed to put into practice some of the things me and Floyd had worked on, in just seven weeks don't forget. It makes me feel very proud."

Mayweather Sr, a former trainer of De la Hoya, said he was pleased with Hatton's performance, but added he still has much to learn.

Mayweather Sr said: "He catches on very fast. I saw a whole lot different. He was pot-shotting and doing what he wanted to do with Malignaggi.

"He has a lot to learn, but he's willing to learn. There were a lot of things I was trying to tell him to do that he didn't do, but I'm not disappointed.

"Seven weeks is not a long time, Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time, especially in boxing. Ricky did very good with some of the stuff I taught him.

"But I would rather see him fight Pacquiao, that's a more logical fight to me, what with the size and weight and height, it makes more sense."

see also
Slick Hatton defeats Malignaggi
23 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Hatton v Malignaggi photos
23 Nov 08 |  Boxing

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