Hatton vows to continue fighting


Boxing:  Ricky Hatton surrendered his unbeaten record to the classy Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas but vowed he will fight on.

Mayweather forced a 10th-round stoppage in an eagerly anticipated WBC welterweight fight by flooring Hatton to extend his unbeaten record to 39 fights.

But a defiant Hatton insisted he is not ready to throw in the towel on his career.

"Knock me down but I keep coming back," Hatton told Sky Box Office. "Ricky Hatton is not finished."

Hatton could not disguise his bitter disappointment at not being able to deliver a memorable win for his travelling fans.

"My pride is hurt more than the punches hurt," he said.

"I thought I fought well. I was forcing it but maybe he's very good at making you miss. I thought I was in the fight but he had a good round, he was better inside than I thought and he got me."

On his all-action game-plan the Stockport-born fighter conceded: "What I was doing made sense but I wasn't quite good enough to apply it tonight."

Mayweather paid tribute to Hatton's bravery.

"Ricky Hatton is one tough fighter. He is still a champion in my eyes and I'd love to see him fight again," he said.

"Ricky Hatton is probably one of toughest competitors I've faced. I hit him with some big ones but he kept coming and I can see why they call him the 'Hitman'."

Hatton, stepping up to welterweight for only the second time in his career, admitted that Mayweather was a natural at the weight.

"It sounds daft because he knocked me down but I don't think he is the biggest puncher but he is very accurate," Hatton said. "He is more natural at the weight than me and it showed at times.

"He is very clever at using his arms and elbows to get out of the way. He hit me with a few sneaky ones on my way in but it's not a tickling contest.

"I think I was forcing it and doing well but I should have had a little more care."

"I didn't think I was out of the fight but I think I could have been a bit more solid in my approach. I was a little bit over eager.

"I don't think he was murderous but there was not quite enough quality from me. I wasn't quite smart enough and I wasn't subtle enough.

"He was using his elbows a bit and hitting me on the break with his forearms but good luck to him. I would have done it to him.

"He picked his punches well and fair play to him. He did what he said he would do. He was picking his moments and that was that.

"It is all right me criticising my performance but I've also got to give praise to my opponent. He is a very clever fighter."

Hatton's chances were hurt by referee Joe Cortez who docked him a point for aiming a punch at the back of Mayweather's head, even though the punch actually caught the ropes.

Asked if he thought Cortez had been on his case from the start, Hatton replied: "I thought so. I was trying to get in. When the point got taken off I was a little bit frustrated. How many times did he (Mayweather) catch me on the back of the head?"

Hatton was asked if he would now return to light-welterweight following his defeat against Mayweather.

"I could have stayed at light-welterweight," he replied. "I had one fight before at welterweight (Luis Collazo) which didn't go as planned but I still dared to have a go and move up again.

"I didn't have to come out here and fight but I did so there is nothing wrong with my heart."