Ricky Hatton: Why I have decided to come back and fight Antonio Barrera

When Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jnr had their exhibition fight a few years ago, I thought any former professional fighter, or any former world champion given the opportunity would to do the same and jump at the chance.

Of course, our best years are behind us. I made my comeback in 2012 and I still stick by what I said after that. I wanted to find out of I still had it and I didn’t. So my fighting days are over.

But having a move around with some like Marco Antonio Barrera, a fight legend and a friend of mine, is a great opportunity. We all know how good he is and for me to have an opportunity to find that out first-hand, you can’t put a price on it.

I am doing this for those who struggled during Covid

It has been a difficult time with lockdown with people struggling with their mental health. I have lost friends during Covid, I have lost friends through mental health struggles. It was a horrible time. So now we can have a bit of a celebration, not a boxing fight, but a celebration. Ricky Hatton coming back for one last dance at the Manchester Arena.

We will have live bands on, we will have celebrity boxing matches on the undercard, we are celebrating, putting on a show. And we will raise money for mental health causes in the process.

Of course, me and Marco have seen better days. But we are retired, we are not dead! We are still champions. It will be competitive, but there will be no liberties taken, me and Marco are friends. It is an exhibition and I think the fans will love and appreciate that.

It is great to see your heroes fight one last time knowing they won’t get hurt. And that is what people worry about. You don’t want to see people you love get hurt and you won’t see anyone get hurt here. It is an exhibition, not a fight.

We will do this the right way

I think some of these sort of fights have not been done very well in the past. Evander Holyfield got put in a proper fight last year, that wasn’t good at all. We want to do it right. This is the first one to take place in Great Britain and we want to make sure the calibre and quality of it all is just right.

I don’t want my fans going home thinking: ‘What the f**k was all that about?’ I have got a reputation for putting on a good show and I’m not going to ruin what I’ve built over the years by allowing this to become a shambles. Trust me, everyone is going to love this.

It is good for my mindset too. You have got to give yourself something worth getting out of bed for in the morning. If you have that mindset, anyone who has struggled with their mental health will be better for it. I know I am. That attitude is why I am in a position to do this.

Ricky Hatton vs Marco Antonio Barrera will take place at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday 2 July.

For more information ticket registration, head to HattonBarrera.com

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