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Hatton Buoyed By Beckham's Text Messages

The following is from the Sports Ticker:

Hatton buoyed by Beckham's text messages

November 13, 2007
By Mark Staniforth Special to PA SportsTicker

MANCHESTER (Ticker) – Ricky Hatton admits to being star-struck by messages of support from David Beckham leading up to his fight with Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas next month.

The famously down-to-earth Hatton admits he often still struggles to come to terms with the fame and fortune which have been foisted upon him during his extraordinary ring career.

That general air of amazement has been amplified since Hatton struck up a friendship with the LA Galaxy star after being invited to his private box during a recent promotional tour of the city.

“You always exchange numbers but the last thing I expected was to get texts from David Beckham saying, 'how's your training going champ?'” Hatton said. “I'm like, Dad, look who's texting me – it's David Beckham.

“I have to pinch myself and I can't believe it's really him. People say well, if you beat Floyd Mayweather and become the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, he might be saying the same about you. I can't get my head round that.”

Hatton confirmed he will be cheered on by Beckham from a ringside seat at the MGM Grand, although Beckham will not be following in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney, who carried Hatton's belt to the ring for his bout with Jose Luis Castillo.

Hatton is the first to admit the pair might appear to make an unlikely combination, with Hatton's apparent disinterest in diet and fashion contrasting with Beckham's much-massaged role as a global icon.

But Hatton believes they have more in common than might first appear.

“He was a really nice guy,” Hatton said. “To be in the public eye as much as he is and still be so humble shows a real class act.”

Such similarities do not extend as far as the wardrobe. Hatton courted the press in an old Manchester City training T-shirt at his final press call on Tuesday.

“I've never seen a man so groomed in all my life,” Hatton said. “He had only turned up to watch a football match and there wasn't a hair out of place or an eyebrow unplucked. I thought, I've never looked that smart in my whole life!”

Armed with a signed pair of Beckham boots for his young son Campbell, Hatton will head into the biggest fight of his career buoyed by the great recent success of British fighters.

No fewer than seven boxers hold widely acclaimed world titles and three – Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and now cruiserweight David Haye – are universally regarded as the best in their division.

Coupled with the extraordinary success of Frankie Gavin in becoming England's first ever World Amateur champion in Chicago last week, the sport has never been in healthier shape.

“The sport is in its best state since I can remember,” Hatton said. “The Americans have always given us a little bit of stick but now I think the Brits are taking over a bit.

“It definitely gives you inspiration when you see how Joe dealt with a really dangerous fighter in Mikkel Kessler and the way Haye beat Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris last Saturday.”

Now Hatton has a chance to trump all those fighters if he beats Mayweather.

“If I could beat Floyd Mayweather it would be the icing on the cake. When was the last time the fighter who is regarded as the best in the world wasn't an American?” Hatton asked. “Now I've got this opportunity to be number one across all weight divisions and I've never been more confident. I've got the same buzz I had before the Kostya Tszyu fight when everybody wrote me off.

“Nobody is giving me a chance again but I've proved that I save my best performances for my biggest fights. Put my back against the wall, tell me I've got no chance of beating Floyd Mayweather, then watch me go.”

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