Ricky Hatton insists he could have beaten 'anyone including Floyd Mayweather' on his greatest night against Kostya Tszyu

"But the right tactics on the right night at the right time? Even the best can be beaten"

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Hatton believes his performance against Tszyu would have been enough to beat Mayweather

Ricky Hatton believes his career-defining victory over Kostya Tszyu was a performance good enough to also beat Floyd Mayweather.

Fifteen years ago Hatton upset pound-for-pound feted Tszyu in his home city of Manchester to capture the IBF light-welterweight title, his greatest result. Two years later in 2007 his undefeated record was taken by Mayweather in Las Vegas.

"Against Kostya Tszyu, with a referee who let the fight flow at a distance and up close, I would have beaten anyone that night including Floyd," Hatton told The Boxing Show on Sky Sports.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. poses during the weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 7, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. will fight Ricky Hatton of England for the WBC welterweight championship on December 8.
Image: Mayweather beat Hatton in 2007

"I'm not saying I was a better fighter than Floyd. But the right tactics on the right night at the right time? Even the best can be beaten.

"If I fought him on that night, I think I might have beaten him."

Hatton said about the glorious night in Manchester when Tszyu failed to answer the bell for the 12th round: "They called that my Mount Everest. Once I reached the pinnacle where do you go?

"I won four world titles in two divisions. I fought Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Paulie Malignaggi, Jose Luis Castillo. I climbed Everest a few times!

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"I would have done better against Mayweather and Pacquiao if I hadn't burned the candle at both ends.

"People said that one day my lifestyle would catch up to me. When it came to those fights, it caught up to me."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 4:  Ricky Hatton in action against Kostya Tszyu during the IBF light welterweight title fight at the MEN Arena on June 4, 2005 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ricky Hatton; Kostya Tszyu
Image: Hatton forced a late stoppage

Hatton was a major underdog against Australia's Tszyu on June 4, 2005, and 15 years later remembers the nerves he felt.

"In the build-up we were confident, training hard, we had our game-plan," he said. "On the day of the press conference I saw the amount of coverage and interest. Then at the weigh-in.

"On the night I thought to myself: 'I've had a lot of big nights especially at the Manchester Arena but this is the Premiership now, this is the real McCoy'.

"There was a nervous tension in the atmosphere because everybody wanted me to do it, but 80 per cent of my fans thought I wasn't going to.

"When the fight is thrust upon you, you look across the ring at Kostya, you need to have faith in your game-plan and ability. That got me through it. You've got to have the confidence to apply your game-plan even against a formidable fighter like Tszyu."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 4:  Ricky Hatton celebrates beating Kostya Tszyu during the IBF light welterweight title fight at the MEN Arena on June 4, 2005 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ricky Hatton; Kostya Tszyu
Image: Hatton's glory against Tszyu was a career-best win

Hatton explained: "The tactics? Make a fast start because he was the older man and had been knocking people out so quickly. He hadn't had plenty of rounds under his belt. I had to stay safe and not take chances.

"We got off to a good start.

"Kostya, after two rounds, knew he had to up the pace to stay with my work-rate.

"He settled into a rhythm where he was putting rounds in the bank. I felt it was slipping away. [My trainer] Billy Graham said: 'Keep working and eventually he will break'.

"After nine rounds Billy asked: 'How does he feel?'

"I said: 'He feels weak as a kitten now'.

"He said: 'Then now is the time to jump on him!'

"That's what I did. It was hard. But I knew it was my chance. The game-plan we'd worked on. I knew I could be a few rounds behind but when he dwindled, I had to put my foot on the gas and take advantage.

"I knew I might have to dig deep.

"Down the home straight I recaptured the momentum and he quit on his stool. I can't describe that feeling."

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