Fri, Aug 03, 2007 - Page 23 News List

`Hitman' to face `Pretty Boy Floyd'

AFP , LONDON

Floyd Mayweather, second left, poses with his six title belts after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in a split decision to win the World Boxing Council super welterweight world championship bout on May 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

PHOTO: AP

Ricky Hatton is set to fight Floyd Mayweather on Dec. 8 after contracts confirming the bout were signed on Wednesday.

Mayweather is 38-0 with 24 knockouts and the reigning World Boxing Council welterweight champion. Hatton, 43-0 with 31 knockouts, moves up to the 67kg division for only the second time in his career.

"It is a dream of every boxer to fight the best boxers in the world," Hatton said. "I respect Floyd Mayweather immensely for his boxing ability and it will be an honor to share the same ring with him. He is rightly regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. However, I am confident and determined that I will be the first boxer to beat him in the ring and I am looking forward to this fight."

The 28-year-old will receive the biggest purse of his career, US$16 million, for taking on the 30-year-old US fighter, the undefeated Briton's father Ray said.

"The contract provided what we wanted and we are officially signed up," Hatton Sr said. "Now we are just waiting for the date and venue to be made official. Our lawyers have instructed us that the Mayweather camp have also signed at their end. We are delighted with the deal. Ricky's purse is higher than anything he has previously earned."

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas is expected to host the eagerly anticipated contest, with Hatton likely to be watched by more than 10,000 fans from Britain.

Mayweather, who came out of a short-lived retirement to take the fight, believes Hatton and his supporters will go home disappointed.

"I don't know who is the pound-for-pound number two in the world, but there is no fighter in the world like me," he said.

"I am the best fighter in boxing today and I'm prepared for any challenge. With Ricky Hatton it's already personal. He has talked and disrespected me so much in the past months that I can't wait to get him in the ring and show him he is not even on my level. He's definitely getting knocked out," Mayweather said.

"Pretty Boy Floyd" comes off his May split-decision triumph over Oscar de la Hoya, the largest-income fight in boxing history, and plans to make "The Hitman" his next victim.

"Hatton is in for a rude awakening when we meet and he is in for a shock if he thinks I'm like any fighter he has ever faced," Mayweather said. "I'm in the business of blood, sweat and tears."

Hatton's only prior fight at 67kg came when he took a welterweight crown from Luis Collazo in May last year. His most recent contest was a four-round stoppage of Jose Luis Castillo in Las Vegas in June.

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