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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Hitman and the Gallaghers
Ricky Hatton has revealed how the Gallagher brothers turned into the Chuckle Brothers when they climbed into a ring for the first time.
The Hitman lifted the lid on the Burnage rockers' antics when they carried his IBO and Ring magazine world title belts ahead of his showdown with Paulie Malignaggi last November.
Hatton has forged a friendship with the Oasis stars, and invited them to join him on the ring walk, holding the championship belts above their heads.
But part-time comedian Hatton, who becomes deadly serious on fight night, was almost reduced to a giggle as the pair warmed to their tasks.
Hatton also told an audience at the Lowry Theatre that the bad boys showed a gentler side on seeing the brutality of boxing close up - even prompting Liam to plead with him to quit.
But the fun started as Hatton and his entourage lined up in the tunnel, ready to make their entrance into the MGM Grand's Garden Arena.
"I handed Liam one of the belts, and he asked me what he should do with it, so I told him to hold it above his head," said Hatton. "When we got in the ring I could hear Liam telling Noel `Look at the floor, there's blood on the floor!'
"Noel said to him `Yes, you're in a boxing ring!"
Hatton also told Liam to show the belt to Malignaggi, meaning from the safety of his own corner. But the Mancunian swaggered across the ring, almost thrusting the belt in the opponent's face, and shouted "Whatcha think about that!"
"I wouldn't mind," quipped Hatton. "But Paulie is a New York Italian, and half of the Sopranos were at ringside."
The Gallaghers took ringside seats for the fight, and were astounded at the ferocity of the contest, even though Hatton's 11-round stoppage win was not one of his hardest fights.
"Liam pulled me over after the fight and asked me how many more I was planning to have," said Hatton. "I told him three or four, and he replied `You must be off your head'. He was pleading with me to pack it in."
Hatton also revealed his biggest hate figure - United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Asked who he would choose if he could knock out anyone in the world, Hatton only hesitated for a moment before answering: "I don't dislike too many people, but it would probably be Ronaldo.
"He is the best footballer in the world, but he is on his backside more times than his feet.
"United were on the telly the other night when I was Hoovering, and when the Hoover bumped into the telly Ronaldo fell over."
Hatton was also asked who he would like to play him if a film was made of his life story. He replied: "They would have to have two people playing me. Johnny Vegas when I'm out of training, Brad Pitt when I'm in it."
Hatton, meanwhile, believes his little brother Matthew is ready to grab some of the limelight.
The 27-year-old headlines the first local show put on by Ricky's own promotions company on March 28, taking on former European champion Ted Bami in an IBO title eliminator in Altrincham.
And his elder sibling is predicting the time is ripe for "Magic" Matthew to blossom into a top-class fighter.
Having split with long-time trainer Billy Graham following defeat by Failsworth's Craig Watson, a superb victory over Ben Tackie in November made a few people sit up and take notice.
And with a new training regime under Lee Beard, and occasionally Ricky's new mentor Floyd Mayweather Senior, Ricky says his kid brother is about to shine.
"His career has stuttered and stalled, but now you are going to see the best of him," said Ricky.
"He is coming into his own. In his fight with Watson he didn't do himself justice.
"In his last few fights under Billy his heart wasn't really in it. Training was becoming very much hard work for Billy due to his injuries, and it was taking all his effort to get his work done with me.
"Consequently Matthew was suffering a little bit and it showed in his performances.
"He is in a new camp now, working on different things. It's the same as it is with me - when you are given new training methods and new and exciting things to work on you get a bit of hunger and buzz back."
via L4e / manchestereveningnews.co.uk
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