LOS ANGELES, CA.-It was a tranquil scene as Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton and about a dozen friends sat on the second floor of the Hard Rock Café enjoying a lunchtime meal among friends and promoters. Then suddenly a chant was heard in the distance that sounded louder and louder as a group of men approached.
“Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,” said a small company of men headed by Pound for Pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The actual press conference at Universal Studios on Monday had already ended where a few hundred people watched as junior welterweight titleholder Hatton (43-0, 31 KOs) and WBC welterweight titleholder Mayweather (38-0, 24 KOs) cranked up the first leg of the press tour that will proceed to Grand Rapids, Mich., New York City and eventually London, England.
Though the Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions press conference had ended, the show must go on for Mayweather who saw another opportunity to let Hatton know what looms ahead. Even if no other media was around Mayweather was delivering another message.
“I’m going to make easy money again,” said Mayweather as Hatton sat on a roundtable with his father, trainer and security personnel. “Has he gone down before? Stop telling me he’s been down before because if he been dropped before he can go down there again!”
Los Angeles was the first step toward the mega fight between the two undefeated fighters who will clash on Dec. 8, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The arena sold out today within 35 minutes.
Hatton had arrived a few days earlier and spent time enjoying the pleasant 80-degree temperatures and sunny skies of Los Angeles. He even had time to enjoy a few moments with fellow Brit David Beckham who now plays for the L.A. Galaxy and lives in the posh Hollywood Hills.
“I didn’t know it would be this nice,” said Hatton of the temperatures.
That was all that was nice as Mayweather took the opportunities to bash Hatton’s former opponents, his fighting style and predict eminent doom for the feisty British fighter who’s never been defeated.
Even Mayweather’s advisor Leonard Ellerbee took a few swipes at Hatton but with restraint.
“It gets no better than Floyd Mayweather. He’s the best fighter on the planet. He’s not Carlos Maussa,” Ellerbee said.
At that moment a fan shouted: “He’s Carl Lewis, he’s gonna run.”
Hatton offered no disparaging remarks but seemed amused by the proceedings.
“I want to thank Floyd Mayweather for giving me the opportunity to test my talent and to get a chance to fight the Pound for Pound champion. It’s a great opportunity,” Hatton said to the crowd. “I believe I got the tools to do the job.”
Mayweather, who is a participant on Dancing With the with Stars and who’s partner Karina Smirnoff was present, promised there will be no cha cha’s taking place in the ring against Hatton.
“You want a toe-to-toe battle,” said Mayweather to Hatton. “That’s what you’ll get.”
Mayweather also said after he wins in the U.S. he’d duplicate the feat in England.
“It’s not cocky if you can back it up,” Mayweather said then invited Smirnoff to the stage to show off a few of their new dance steps. “Este muchacho is muy guapo.”
During the face offs for the camera Mayweather refused to budge and spent more than five minutes talking within inches of Hatton’s face and making threats.
“I didn’t listen to half of what he said,” Hatton said after the episode. “He was saying crazy things about this and that. I’ve never heard anyone do that before but it doesn’t matter.”
Hatton talked about his other venture to the welterweight division and how he planned to not make the same mistake of weighing too much. He also spoke about his fighting style compared to De La Hoya’s and Baldomirs.
“I put on a lot of pressure Ricky Hatton style,” he said.
After the press conference Hatton and the promoters walked into the Hard Rock Café where they sat on the second floor eating the different treats of the buffet. About an hour later Mayweather could be heard arriving in the distant.
“You’ve been around a long time,” Mayweather said to press agent extraordinaire Bill Caplan who was eating lunch with his daughter. “You’ve seen me cook a lot of boys right.”
Mayweather grabbed a press kit that bore his image and Hatton’s side by side. He then used a marker to show what his opponent would look like after the fight and penned “The Boss” on his own photo.
Mayweather looked around to see if a waiter was around then shouted: “who’s working this area?”
“You’re working this area,” said one person at the table.
Mayweather called over his photographer to take one more photo before departing.
“Snap me baby!” he shouted. “Get my jet ready.”
As quickly as he arrived Mayweather and his crew walked out of the restaurant shouting the same slogan as when he arrived.
Hatton and company sat back astounded and smiled.