By Mark Vester
According to IBF junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, the "old Hatton" is back, and his younger brother Matthew agrees. Trainer Billy Graham had to actually break the two of them up from a tough sparring session.
Hatton is preparing for toughest fight of his career since Kostya Tszyu, when he meets Jose Louis Castillo in Las Vegas on June 23. Hatton tells UK media outlet The Sunday Mirror, that his performances against Luis Collazo and Juan Urango have been lackluster, but he plans to show the Hatton of old when he meets Castillo. He wants to use Castillo as a door to big fights against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya.
"I don't blame people for thinking I'm coming to the end of my career after my last two bouts. But if they saw the way I've been performing in the gym they'd see that's far from the truth. I never take anyone lightly, but maybe I wasn't right mentally for those two fights," Hatton said. "You find that little bit extra the bigger the challenge and that's what this fight against Castillo is. I feel as excited about this as I did when I fought Kostya Tszyu to win the world title. I just can't wait for this fight. I realize it's important for me to be back at my exciting best and I'm confident I will be. I want to show everyone that I'm far from finished. I've got five or six fights left in me."
Hatton is dreaming that two of those six fights are against Mayweather and De La Hoya. After watching the May 5 clash between Mayweather and De La Hoya, he is booming with confidence that he can beat the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
"I hope Mayweather is a possibility because I'm more convinced than ever that I can beat him after seeing his fight with De La Hoya," Hatton said. "It all depends on whether he wants to continue fighting. De La Hoya has always said he would like to fight in England and again it's down to him. These are the fights I want."
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