Ricky Hatton wants to give his fans fireworks as he returns to the ring to face Mexican icon Marco Antonio Barrera during the pair’s exhibition at Manchester Arena this Saturday.
The British boxing legend is wearing gloves for what may be the last time in an event where he has been credited for helping his mental health by setting goals.
Expected as a celebration of two glittering careers they both admired, Hatton made no secret of his respect for his former multi-division world champion rival.
“It was great to meet Marco, I spoke to him a few days ago, he is in good spirits,” Hatton said. Sports sky. “The build couldn’t feel any better, I couldn’t feel any sharper than it feels now, beautiful and crisp and explosive.
“Now we are only a few days away from perfecting it. All that matters is the performance and the show for the fans, which is always a priority for me and Marco. It’s going to be very exciting.
“We’ve had a lot of great times over the years, we’ve had kids. Campbell turned pro, Marco Jr there taking care of dad and translating, lovely kid. Now I Grandpa already!
“We’ve had a lot of good times in our fighting careers and I’m cheering for Marco, he’s cheering for me, I’m taking him to the ring, he’s leading me to the ring.
“I never thought this could happen because he’s a real, real hero of mine. If you’re a boxing fan and he’s not your hero then you’re not. Must be a boxing fan.
“Me and Marco said ‘nobody is leaving Saturday yawning, no chance,’ I said I don’t want to do that. He said ‘I know exactly what you mean, Ricky’ and that’s it. its beauty”.
“It’s going to be interesting, but there’s a little bit of pride in the profession as we’re both former champions, I don’t want him to come and appreciate me, I’m sure he would say so. everything will be fine . “
Hatton stressed the importance of not being hurt by the fans who have idolized them over the years, and welcomed the opportunity for both to showcase their skills.
Barrera returned to Manchester Arena for the first time since his defeat to Amir Khan at the end of his career in March 2009, before which he was the world champion in featherweight, super featherweight and super bantamweight.
Hatton said: “Needless to say he is a legend.
“Then he showed the great boxing that he had against Naseem Hamed. He’s a great boxer, a great boxer, he has a lot of heart and if I’m going to go back to an exhibition, it has to be against someone like Marco Antonio Barrera because I value him that much.
“Getting into the shape I’ve been in has to do with who I’m going to step into the ring against.”
Barrera joked that he was so nervous going into battle to be greeted by a physically “different” Hatton when he arrived in England than the last time the two met, which is the weight loss much of his later.
“It’s Ricky Fatton!” joke The Hitman.