Ricky Hatton: 'As a fighter you always want to meet and beat the best'

World title bout against Luis Collazo looks tricky; I want to fight Floyd Mayweather as soon as I can; When I'm in training, I'm in 'the monastery'; Why my house is called Heartbreak Hotel; It was clear I'd be a better boxer than footballer
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The Independent Online

You are fighting Luis Collazo on 13 May for the World Boxing Association welterweight title. What are his strengths? He's not been the champion too long but he has speed, he is a southpaw and it will be difficult to look good against him. I've studied a few tapes. My trainer Billy [Graham] will take a closer look and then we will go over the fight. He's a well-kept secret, a stylish mover.

Why is the fight taking place in Boston? I signed a promotional deal with the American Art Pelullo, and the people in Boston wanted to bring a big fight to town. I know Wayne McCullough and Steve Collins fought there. It's a great city and I'm really looking forward to the fight.

Collazo is a southpaw. Does that make him trickier than usual? Yes, it does. Luis is tricky. But I have never lost to a southpaw as a pro and I'm not about to start now. We'll work on facing a southpaw in the gym. I have brought over an American sparring partner, who is a southpaw and he's sparred with Luis in the past.

If you beat Collazo, who is next in your sights? When I beat Luis I will fly out to America on 3 June to watch Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo in their third fight. I want the winner. I also want - and sooner rather than later - [Floyd] Mayweather.

You are an ardent Manchester City fan, but should Stuart Pearce be the next England manager? Stuart carried my belt into the ring when I boxed [Carlos] Maussa last year. He's done a great job at City but I don't see him as the next England manager. I do see him as a future manager when he's had a bit more experience.

Would you like Shaun Wright-Phillips back at City? Yes, definitely. I don't blame him for leaving because of the money. But he's not getting regular first-team play and I'd love to see him back. I wish that he had never left in the first place.

You admit to liking a drink, which is unusual in an athlete. Guilty! I do like a drink and I will have the occasional pint of Guinness after a fight. But, when I'm training I'm in the "monastery", as I call it, and I look forward to a drink at the end of the fight. It's how I prefer to unwind. I don't cut corners in training and I have the right to have a drink.

Do people in pubs ever want to have a scrap? No. People recognise me but nobody wants to fight with me. I drink in places that I've drunk in for years. I keep myself to myself.

When did you first meet James, your young fan with disabilities, and does he attend every fight? It was after the [Jonathan] Thaxton British title fight. I met him, knew he was poorly and wanted him to carry my belt; he still does it. He's an inspiration. Sadly, his doctor won't let him travel to Boston for the Collazo fight and I'm gutted. I will call him right after the fight.

What is your least favourite piece of equipment? I haven't got one. I have a love and hate relationship with everything and most of the people in the gym. I'm only joking about the people, I love them all. I know that every piece of equipment is a vital part of my preparation.

If you had a dinner party which four people from any point in history would you invite? Del Boy, Roberto Duran, Colin Bell and Demi Moore. I'd just sit back with a stupid grin on my face. But I wouldn't let Del Boy bring any 100 per cent guaranteed genuine Guinness brewed in Peckham. Cushdy.

What is on your iPod? The Red Hot Chili Peppers really work for me before a fight. I like James Blunt and I have to have Oasis because they are true Mancs. Happy Mondays, Stone Roses because I'm into the Manchester bands. And Elvis. I'm the King of karaoke, I've got a karaoke machine and disco lights and I'm trying to get hold of a fog machine. My house is called Heartbreak Hotel. I've got to have a bit of Elvis.

What are you reading now? I always read Boxing Monthly for Big Daddy's column!

On holiday are you a culture vulture, adrenalin junkie or beach bum? The sun don't agree with me. I just go pink and it's not a pretty sight. I like to stay in the shade and watch the world go by. If it's hot, and I'm with a some mates, and I've got a few beers, then I'm happy.

What is the most extravagant thing you have ever bought? I bought one of the Trotter's vans from the Only Fools and Horses Appreciation Society. I can't tell you what it cost but you know it makes sense. Lovely jubbly. I've also got a box at my beloved City.

Which victory are you most proud of? The win over Kostya Tszyu. He was a great champion and one of the best light-welterweight champions in history. I was the underdog. There were doubts, it was hard but I did it. What a night.

How do you wind down? When I'm not training and after a fight I go out with my mates. I try and live a normal life. People think that I'm joking but I do try and be as normal as possible. There are a lot people in the gym that help keep me acting normal. I love going to Vegas for fights? I'm also a fan. Did I mention that I like a beer?

Who has been the biggest influence on your career? Outside the ring, my parents, Ray and Carol. They have been there through the amateurs and the pros. They go through hell every time I step in the ring. I love them to bits. My dad is also my business manager. Inside the ring I've always admired the entertainers and my all-time favourite is Roberto Duran. I've also had Billy [Graham] at my side since the start of my pro career.

Should the referee have stopped the Calzaghe-Lacy fight? Possibly, but the corner had the chance to come in sooner. Lacy needed a knock-out and that was never going to happen. It was a great fight for Joe and British boxing.

Which fighter from history would you like to share a ring with? My hero Roberto Duran. What a fight that would be. As a fighter you always want to meet and beat the best.

What is your worst boxing memory? The World Junior Championships in Cuba in 1996. I beat the Cuban and the American but then I was stitched up. It was a disgraceful decision and there was an inquiry and some of the officials from my fight were suspended and have never worked at international amateur boxing events again. I think one of them was later shot because of what happened. [There were allegations of bribery at the tournament in which it was said envelopes containing money were given to officials. The sport's governing body held an inquiry and a Russian judge was later killed, allegedly because of the scandal].

Have you ever beaten your friend Phil "The Power" Taylor at darts? The best I managed was winning one set out of three in my local in Hattersley. I think he was just being generous because I've not come close since.

Attachment: The Ricky Hatton lowdown

* Born 6 October 1978 in Stockport. Lives in Hyde, Manchester.

Original job Carpet fitter.

Hobbies Darts and following Manchester City.

Sporting heroes Roberto Duran, Phil "The Power" Taylor.

* Nickname "The Hitman".

Height and weight 5ft 7in/10st.

Training base Phoenix Camp, Salford.

Trainer Billy "The Preacher" Graham.

* Career record 39 wins (29 KOs) 0 draws 0 defeats.

First professional contest 11 September 1997 v Colin McAuley TKO round 1.

WBO Intercontinental light-welterweight champion 29 May 1999 v Dillon Carew TKO round 5.

WBA Intercontinental light-welterweight champion 23 September 2000 v Giuseppe Lauri TKO round 5.

WBU light-welterweight champion 26 March 2001 v Tony Pepp TKO round 5.

IBF light-welterweight champion 5 June 2005 v Kostya Tszyu TKO round 11.

26 November 2005 made successful defence v Carlos Maussa TKO round 11.