By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
RICKY HATTON has told humbled heavyweight David Haye he can win a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko – if he launches a US comeback.
Britain’s most popular fighter of the modern era finally announced his long-awaited retirement last week.
It came more than two years after his last fight, a two-round knock-out defeat to boxing’s pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.
Hatton, 32, was a hit inside and outside the ropes, attracting more than 25,000 fans to watch him against Pacquiao and American Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
The Hitman suffered just two defeats as he won world titles at light-welterweight and welterweight, recovering from a knockout loss to unbeaten Mayweather to fight Pacquiao.
And Hatton insists Haye can also become world champion again.
Londoner Haye, 30, has been slammed for his tame effort in a landslide points defeat to Germany-based “Dr Steelhammer” Klitschko last weekend.
Haye – like Hatton a world champion at two weights – blamed a broken little toe on his right foot. It is still unclear if he will ever fight again after insisting he would hang up his gloves in October.
But Hatton has advised Haye to hit the comeback trail leading him to Vegas, the world capital of boxing. There he can win over American fans and then target Klitschko after two fights.
He said: “I don’t think he should retire, no. He has lost to the best heavyweight in the division and there’s no shame in that.
“I’m sure he would have liked to have done better but some nights it doesn’t quite happen and there’s so much more he can offer.
“He’s the most exciting heavyweight in the world and still has plenty to offer but everyone’s different. He will know his own mind and what he should do next.
“He would be up against it in a rematch, there’s no doubt about that – but he certainly has the ability and the punching power to win it.
“I would say, ‘Go to America, go to Vegas and see your name up in lights. Get a good opponent, the right opponent and shine against him’.
“Then maybe have a homecoming and then, if he has two fights and bounces back in style, there’s no reason why he can’t fight Vitali or Wladimir again.
“He should be very proud of what he has done for British boxing. He’s unified the cruiserweight division and challenged the best heavyweight in the world.
“I would like to see his name up in lights in Vegas now, so I think he has plenty to do.”
Hatton has sympathy for Haye’s SDHpexcuse of a broken little toe.
He added: “David said his toe was broken and he couldn’t push off. From a boxing point of view, I understand that to a degree.
“I still think maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned it, he was giving it the big ‘I am’ before and seemed like he did as well after. I don’t think that did him any favours.”
Hatton, who is now a promoter, has also revealed his plans to begin training boxers from September.
He said: “My biggest ambition is to train a world champion – I’ve not applied for my licence yet but come September I can – and promote world title fights, or bring a world champion through promoting-wise.
“I want a small stable so I can concentrate my time better – five or six.
“We’ll play it by ear and see who knocks on my door when I start training.”