Boxing: Floyd Mayweather – Better Than Ali?

So the build up intensifies for the Hatton-Mayweather clash. And it’s no surprise to see it’s the American who is cranking up the pressure. ”I can quit today and be known as the best fighter that ever lived. I respect what Robinson and Ali did for the sport. But I am the greatest, and this is my time.” It is irrelevant if Mayweather is the greatest ever fighter or not. The point of his brazen comments is to get inside Hatton’s head. To make him think for a moment. ‘Is he the greatest?’Mayweather wants to sew tiny seeds of doubts in Hatton’s mind. And to create his own aura of invincibility.

But it’s unlikely this boasting will have the slightest effect on Hatton. He is too down to earth for that. Too sure of his own strengths. The key in taking on any champion is to fight the person not the legend. When you fight the legend then you build a picture of them in your mind. A picture that means you have to try to be perfect to beat them. And trying to be perfect creates additional stress and anxiety that can ruin natural timing and rhythm. It’s why many champions win their battles before they even enter the arena. Their legend has won it for them.

Ricky Hatton does not need to be perfect to beat Floyd Mayweather. He needs to be certain of his own strengths and focused on Mayweather’s weaknesses. He is not fighting a legend or the greatest. Those are the stories that Mayweather tells himself. Stories that he will need to draw on in adversity. As all good champions do.

Hatton is fighting a flawed individual that can fight. Reduce Mayweather down to a manageable size in your mind, then the mental battle can be won.

Posted in Boxing Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.