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Mayweather knew Hatton would bring his 'A' game

After his war with Ricky Hatton, Floyd Mayweather, left, doesn't want to think about fighting for a while. Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS -- All week, welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. had heard the chants, the fight songs and the jeers from thousands of Ricky Hatton's passionate British fans who traveled with him for one of the biggest fights in their country's history.

One song, however, was ubiquitous. Everywhere you walked in the MGM Grand, regardless of what time of day or night it was, somewhere there was a throng of Brits partying, drinking and singing the same song over and over and over to the tune of "Winter Wonderland." A marching band that follows Hatton to all of his fights also endlessly played the song, which I could hear every morning outside my hotel room window -- and I was on the ninth floor.

There's only one Ricky Hatton!
There's only one Ricky Hatton!
Walking along, singing a song,
Walking in a Hatton Wonderland!

The Brits were at it again Saturday night, filling the sold-out Grand Garden Arena with an almost nonstop chorus of the song -- although they did take a brief hiatus to rudely boo and hiss throughout "The Star Spangled Banner."

The singing couldn't help Hatton one iota from Mayweather's precise attack. He picked Hatton apart until dropping him twice and knocking him out in the 10th round to further cement his stranglehold on pound-for-pound supremacy.

When the "Pretty Boy," who was all smiles, came to the postfight news conference he was mostly humble about his clinical performance.

"It's been a long road. It's been a truly amazing experience," Mayweather said. "Ricky Hatton is one hell of a fighter. He's tough. Nothing but the utmost respect … You saw Ricky Hatton beat Kostya Tszyu. And he done something with [Jose Luis] Castillo that I didn't do. He knocked him out. So this was a match that had to happen.

"I had to get extra rest for this fight because I knew this kid was going to bring his 'A' game. He's tough as nails. I had him hurt a few times and he kept coming. And I'm like, 'Damn, he's not going anywhere.' He's one hell of a champion."

Mayweather admitted that he heard the singing and the deafening roar of the crowd of 16,459 every time Hatton did anything positive.

"But I said, 'He ain't gonna get me tonight.' I felt great tonight," Mayweather said.
Then he praised the British contingent.

"The U.K. fans are unreal, unbelievable," he said. Then he invited the marching band to play one more chorus of the song from the back of the room.

Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) did, however, permit himself one moment to brag when he suggested that the lyrics of Hatton's song were due for a change:

There's only one Mayweather!
There's only one Mayweather!
He talks the talk and walks the walk
Walking to the money land!

The next move for Mayweather is up in the air. Many would like to see him fight titleholder Miguel Cotto, the star from Puerto Rico. But Mayweather said it was too soon to decide if he would even continue to fight.

After he beat Carlos Baldomir in November 2006 to win the welterweight crown, he said he was retiring. Of course, nobody believed him and he returned to defeat Oscar De La Hoya in May.

"I'm not talking about fighting. I just fought about an hour ago," Mayweather said. "All I want to do is take a long vacation and spend with my family. See if I want to come back. I'm really bored with the sport of boxing."

But then he mentioned that De La Hoya offered him enough money to end his brief retirement.

"They gave me a price I couldn't resist," said Mayweather, who has earned roughly $50 million for his two fights this year.

While Mayweather showed humility, Hatton (43-1, 31 KOs) showed that maybe in his next career he could play one of the showrooms at the MGM as a comedian. Although he had to be disappointed with the crushing defeat, Hatton was all class.

"I was doing all right until I f---ing slipped," he cracked.

While Mayweather contemplates retirement, there was no such talk from Hatton.

"I wish him all the very best, but as far as my career Ricky 'Fatton' will be back," he said, joking about the nickname he earned because of the amount of weight he puts on between fights. "You'll see me again soon certainly."

Hatton also talked about his fans, who were almost as much a part of the promotion as the fighters.

"The British fans that turned out in droves all week and the band, I don't think I've ever
seen support for a British fighter that they gave me all week," he said. "It brought a tear to your eye."

Then Hatton cracked one more joke that made even Mayweather smile.

"But I'm getting a bit f---ing sick of that song myself," he said.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.