Is Mayweather Snr. the right trainer for Hatton or HBO?

I doubt I’m alone in being mystified by the appointment of Floyd Mayweather Snr. to training duties for Ricky Hatton’s Light-Welterweight outing against feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi in November. He is far removed stylistically and geographically from the Mancunian ticket-seller and quite how his bombastic personality will fit with Hatton’s fiercely preserved ‘man of the people’ demeanour is equally hard to contemplate.

Aged close to 30, and with a well documented attitude to life as a professional fighter it is next to impossible to conclude Hatton is anything other than a fighter in decline. Discard the various reasons offered for his less than emphatic displays post-Tszyu and a flawed collection of performances is the sum total of this 3-year honeymoon. Personally, I think Hatton peaked, physically at least, before the watershed fight with Tszyu and in terms of motivation the Tszyu and Mayweather encounters surely cannot be surpassed for providing inspiration to a fighter who has been preparing for 12-round fights since, seemingly, the Suez Crisis.

Those facts accepted, only the massive money Hatton is able to generate continues to improve. Breaking box-office records and remaining in the running for the enormous mountains of cash meeting Mayweather or DeLaHoya would generate in the UK or US strike me as central drivers for Hatton. And I wonder whether it is the bodies who sign Hatton’s enormous pay-cheques who will be most pleased by the eye-catching addition of Mayweather senior.

I’m no different to any other boxing fan, in that a fair degree of cynicism courses through my veins and such a lack of synergy exists between the methods of the two figures, that I’m unable to resist conjuring other drivers for their new partnership.

Hatton had originally plumped for a former assistant at Billy Graham’s Phoenix Gym, Lee Beard – who now acts as Mayweather’s assistant. One wonders how such a low-key appointment would have fitted with the high-profile build up the Malignaggi fight and potential clashes with DeLaHoya, Pacquiao or a returning Mayweather in 2009? In recruiting Mayweather Snr., Hatton will not be entirely responsible for driving his side of the promotion. Mayweather is instantly recognisable, a quotable speaker and I’m sure will help television producers put together marketable promotional cameos.

This isn’t to distract from Mayweather’s considerable qualifications and repute as a trainer of elite performers but can he really eek out improvement from Hatton’s ebbing reserves of stamina and verve? Buddy McGirt unearthed undiscovered depth to Arturo Gatti’s seam of talent and helped him secure sizable purses in the Autumn of his long and punishing career. Perhaps Mayweather will refresh Hatton, maybe he will add tactical discipline evidently lost in the final fights of Hatton’s long run with Graham.

Whatever the motivations, and I have my suspicions they’re not purely related to what occurs behind close doors in Hatton’s usually gruelling 12-14 week preparations, it will be fascinating to watch the contrasting styles and personalities working together.


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