Ricky Hatton put his exhibition bout with Marco Antonio Barrera up there with among the best moments in his stellar boxing profession.
The 44-year-old former super-lightweight and welterweight world champion returned to the ring after a 10-year absence in his residence metropolis of Manchester to face Mexican icon Barrera in an eight, two-minute spherical contest with no winner or loser on Saturday night time.
Hatton acquired a rapturous reception from his home-city help and was cheered on all the best way by them as he and 48-year-old former three-weight world champion Barrera placed on a memorable show for these watching within the area and on tv.
Sharing a hoop with all-time greats Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, and beating Kostya Tszyu to assert the IBF world title on the identical venue in 2005 are among the many highs of Hatton’s profession, however he believes Saturday’s conflict with Barrera is on the identical stage.
“I’ve finished so many issues in boxing; Vegas, the Kostya Tszyu battle right here all of these years in the past, Mayweather, Pacquiao – nice instances,” Hatton informed Sky Sports activities.
“However, making an allowance for what I have been via and the actual fact I am 44 years of age, to try this with my pal and hero Marco Antonio Barrera is up there with the remainder of it. I’ve acquired an actual sense of feat with what I’ve finished right here.
“He is a gentleman, he is a legend and I really feel privileged. I ran into him within the lodge foyer in Las Vegas all these years in the past and stated, ‘will you stroll me into the ring?’. I walked him into the ring, he gave me the shorts he boxed in, and we stayed in contact and stayed mates.
“Though we do not converse to one another each week, I think about him an actual pal and a pal for all times. He is a stunning man with a stunning household, and what a fighter.”
Hatton underwent an intensive coaching programme to get again in form to face Barrera, weighing in at 11st 6lb through the ceremonial weigh-in the day previous to the exhibition.
He has battled psychological well being issues since retiring as properly, however coaching for this bout gave him new motivation and he couldn’t have been happier with the way it went.
“It is nice – the build-up, to get within the ring, to listen to the roar of the group once more, see my mum and pa and all my family and friends, and everybody who has been there from day one,” Hatton stated.
“Even folks from Sky – I made my skilled debut once I was 18 and I’ve had my final dance once I was 44, and the identical folks have been videoing me and photographing me.
“To share the ring with Marco is sensible. I did not know if I must be working him in shut as a result of each time I went in shut, he backed off and I assumed, as a result of it is my first exhibition, ‘ought to I dig him right here or not?’, however I hope everybody loved it as a lot as I did.”
A potential exhibition rematch with Mayweather, who stopped Hatton within the tenth spherical after they met in 2007 and was concerned in his personal exhibition in opposition to YouTube character Deji over the weekend, has been mooted.
Hatton didn’t rule out returning to the ring for an exhibition in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later, however for now, simply desires to bask within the afterglow of a memorable night time.
“I’d be an fool to say no with how good it has been for me, however let’s simply let me take pleasure in this one first,” Hatton stated.