It’s been 15 years since Ricky Hatton fought Floyd Mayweather in a bid to become the first boxer to beat one of the sport’s greatest.
That didn’t happen for him and Hatton, the nation’s favorite fighter, “felt cheated” in his knockout loss in the blockbuster 2007 fight in Las Vegas with the WBC belt on the line.
In fact, in 2020, ‘The Hitman’ – who returns to the ring to face Marco Antonio Barrera on Saturday – admitted it still bothers him that he never got the chance to make his mark in the ring – and on Mayweather’s body – because of referee Joe Cortez.
Hatton was stopped by ‘Money’ in the tenth round of their glitzy show in Las Vegas for the Welterweight World Championship, but the Manchester native was frustrated with the official not allowing him to work inside on the body as he had done so many times. throughout his distinguished career, including when he beat pound-for-pound king Kostya Tszyu in 2005.
Mayweather has always struggled with body punches during the brief glimpses of trouble fans have seen throughout his undefeated career and Hatton believes Cortez has helped the American.
In the BT Sport interview he said: “I gave him a good run for his money.
“I feel a bit cheated to be honest with you, because I felt like I wasn’t going to send it and I wasn’t going to pass it, but if I was allowed to get closer I would definitely throw more punches than him.
“I never had the opportunity and that’s what will always eat away at me – the referee never gave me the opportunity.
“The only person who was allowed to get stuck and intimidate him and who was allowed to fight up close was Marcos Maidana and he pushed him very close.
“Castillo was allowed to get closer and a lot of people thought Castillo had won so I felt a rat that night with the ref and I don’t think I was given a good kick .”
Hatton and Mayweather faced off in Sin City on December 8, 2007, with the Englishman bringing thousands of raucous fans to the United States as he did everywhere he went.
Despite winning the hearts of fans around the world, Hatton ended his career with a 45-3 record – his other two losses to Manny Pacquaio and Vyacheslav Senchenko.
However, while he can look back on his career with enormous pride, there is always the element of ‘what if’ for the 36-year-old.
Hatton told Sky Sports: “Against Kostya Tszyu, with a referee who let the fight go long and close, I would have beaten anyone that night, including Floyd.
“I’m not saying I was a better fighter than Floyd. But the right tactic on the right night at the right time? Even the best can be beaten.
“If I fought him that night, I think I might have beaten him.”
There is only one Ricky Hatton.