Ricky Hatton has made a pact with his family to retire from boxing after he turns 30 next year, his mother revealed yesterday.
The undefeated fighter is preparing for the biggest fight of his career this weekend when he challenges the American Floyd Mayweather for the World Boxing Council welterweight title here in Las Vegas. There is already talk of a Wembley bout with Oscar De La Hoya should Hatton upset the odds in the early hours of Sunday.
It is thought his trainer Billy Graham is keen for Hatton to retire shortly after turning 30 and his mother, Carol, wants her son to hang up his gloves before he gets "hurt".
"It's the last lap of his career now. He's 30 next year and we all made a pact," she told BBC Radio Five Live. "Two or three more fights. Because, after 30, your reflexes slow down. You've got more chance of getting hurt. He doesn't need the money now.
"How many boxers do you know who come back for the money and unfortunately terrible things happen? You don't get paid overtime - not in boxing, do you? So, get your money, get in there, get it done as quick as you can and let's all go home and have a party."
Hatton is becoming more confident the nearer Saturday's fight against Mayweather gets. "I have a really eager twinge in me. I really want to get in there and do it," Hatton, with a career record of 43 victories and no defeats, said. "Sometimes as the fight gets nearer doubt comes in. It's having the opposite effect on me."
Hatton said the secret to beating Mayweather, whose own career record is an impressive 38-0, was revealed by Mexican Jose Luis Castillo, who lost a disputed decision to the American in a WBC lightweight bout in Las Vegas in April 2002.
The 29-year-old Hatton knocked out Castillo in four rounds in his most recent bout, in June. Castillo pressured Mayweather throughout the 12 rounds of their contest, and several ringside observers felt he deserved the victory. Hatton believes that the weaknesses Mayweather showed that night play to his strengths, and that everything Castillo did, he can do better.
"A lot of people will say that I did a better job than Mayweather against Castillo, and a lot of people will say Castillo had seen better days," he said. "But when Castillo was in his prime, was his footwork as quick as mine, was he as physically strong as me? Was he as explosive as me? Was he as good a body puncher as me? Was he as hard a hitter as me? Did he have the variation of shots I have? I would have to say no to every one of those questions. And a lot of people think that Jose [beat Mayweather].
"Jose had the pressure; I've got the skill and the pressure. I think that is going to be the difference. And there's the heart factor. You've never seen one fight where Floyd has had to dig deep, grab the bull by the horns and pull the fight out of the bag. He's going to have to do that Saturday night to win."
Hatton said he thought Mayweather underestimated his hand speed and his punching power.
Although Hatton feels that Mayweather is "training as hard as ever", and is taking the fight "very, very seriously", he pointed out that the champion has been denigrating him publicly.
The Manchester fighter believes Mayweather's words will come back to haunt him. "He has referred to me as over-hyped, fought a lot of has-beens, fat, beer-drinking," Hatton said. "How embarrassing it is going to be for him to get beaten by someone like that."