After hiring the father of the only boxer to beat him in an 11-year career, Ricky Hatton plans to try something else new in his IBO light welterweight title fight against Paulie Malignaggi.
Floyd Mayweather Sr is training Hatton for his title defense against the US fighter in Las Vegas on Nov. 22, and his task has been to modify the 29-year-old Englishman’s walk-up style.
“I’ve always been a better fighter when I use my jab,” Hatton said on Wednesday. “I’ve got a great jab, but I never seem to use it. And I’ve got good boxing ability, but I don’t seem to use it.”
Hatton was stopped in the 10th round by Floyd Mayweather Jr in Las Vegas on Dec. 8 to end a 43-bout winning run.
He returned to the ring in May and retained his IBO title with an unanimous, if unconvincing, points win over Juan Lazcano. Malignaggi (25-1, 5 KOs) won a split decision over Lovemore N’dou on the same card.
“Paulie’s going to expect the ‘Crash, bang, wallop’ approach, but he might see a few different things after working with a new coach who has got a little bit more subtle approach and defensive moves. I’m not going to change my style, just tweak it,” Hatton said.
“It should prolong my career. I’m not saying I’m ready for my pipe and slippers yet, but as you get a little bit older with miles on the clock and tough fights behind you, you don’t change your style, but tweak it a bit and be a little bit more cautious.”
Hatton has never repeated the form that forced Kostya Tszyu to retire on his stool and concede his IBF title in 2005, although the fourth-round body punch that stopped Jose Luis Castillo last year raised his hopes against Mayweather.
“In the Kostya Tszyu fight, my tactics were spot-on, but I bulldozed him out of it,” Hatton said. “When you beat someone as well known and popular, and a bigger puncher, I think without realizing it you feel a bit of that invincibility. And in a number of recent fights, I’ve forgotten the subtleties and technical sides and tried to bulldoze too many opponents. I tried to do that against Floyd and it backfired a bit.”
The 27-year-old Malignaggi believes Hatton has something to prove, and is unfazed by any possible transformation under the tutelage of Mayweather Sr.
“I’m sure he’ll come with a couple of different things, but I’m a firm believer that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” Malignaggi said. “His is a rough-and-tumble approach. He’ll bring it to you. If he sits back and boxes, he won’t outbox Paulie Malignaggi. If he thinks that, he’s badly mistaken.”
Between rounds of the N’dou fight, Malignaggi had his dreadlocks cut off because they were impairing his vision. He then hurt his right hand in the sixth round before winning a split decision.
Malignaggi, who was presented with a frame featuring the remains of his dreadlocks by Hatton on Wednesday, said his recovery was ahead of schedule.
“It healed up a lot faster than I thought,” he said. “I’ve already started sparring and I didn’t think I could do that until September, but I started a month ago. Nothing hard, but I can already take impact on the hand, which is always a positive.”