Ricky Hatton & Noel Gallagher – an extract from Vegas Tales
In this extract from his new book Vegas Tales, legendary boxer Ricky Hatton and his good mate Noel Gallagher recall being backstage at one of his many memorable bouts. We kick off with Ricky discussing his friendship with the Gallagher brothers, before Noel explains how they came to accompany him to the ring at his famous Vegas bout with Paulie Malignaggi…
We bump into each other at various functions, and whenever one or other of them are in Manchester, they’ll usually give me a call and we’ll meet up. Not both together, though, because as is well known they don’t get on these days – to be honest, they never did!
As we’re all Man City fans, we’ll meet up at the games. I was with Liam at Wembley when we won the FA Cup final against Stoke in 2011 and also at Manchester City when Sergio Aguero scored the last-minute winner that gave us the league title for the first time since 1968. I’ll never forget that day, because we ended up at the Town Hall celebrating with the team, and I’ve got a great photo of me with Liam and City captain Vincent Kompany.
Although I’m now mates with Liam and Noel, I’m still massive fans of theirs, too. So when I fought Paulie Malignaggi, I thought I’d ask them if they’d carry the belts into the ring. For me it would be a huge honour to have two of my idols with me on the ringwalk, and they jumped at the chance.
We were doing a big gig down in Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium, and Ricky came down with some of his mates. We were having a tear-up in the dressing room when he casually says: ‘I’m starting training in the next fortnight – where are you in the world on these dates . . .’
‘I dunno,’ I said, ‘I think we’re in America.’
‘Would you come and carry my belts out for my next fight?’
I was, like, ‘Fuck, yeah. If we can make it work, we’ll make it work.’
It turned out we were starting our American tour in Mexico three nights after that, so it was perfect timing. It was a great weekend.
On the night of the bout, I’m in the changing room, warming up, when Liam, Noel and the rest of the band come in.
We give Noel The Ring magazine belt and Liam the IBO belt.
Liam says to me: ‘What am I supposed to do with this?’
‘What do you mean what d’you do with it? When you get in the ring you just hold it up above your head.’
‘Right, no problem, Rick.’
A few minutes later, I’m doing my shadow boxing and I look across and there’s Liam standing in front of a mirror practising how he’s going to hold the belt up. I’m concentrating on the fight ahead, but I can’t help but laugh.
We’ve got Oasis tunes blaring out and Liam is getting more and more hyped up. He gets hold of my iPod and changes the song to Acquiesce, one of my favourites of theirs.
‘Hitman! This is the song we want on! Whooooo!’
Then he looks at my new coach, Floyd Mayweather, who I think is wondering who this lunatic is.
‘C’mon, Floyd! He’s going to smash his napper in!’ shouts Liam.
‘What’s a napper?’ replies Floyd.
I’ve never been backstage at a fight before. We got to the dressing room and there were loads of lads from Manchester, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, David Beckham, the guy that does the ‘Let’s get ready to rum-ble’ – he’s in there. Ricky had his iPod on and he was playing loads of Oasis.
There was a good vibe, but then you’re getting towards fight time, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is not my mate anymore – fucking gladiator, this lad.’ You saw him change. It went quiet and it was, like, right, ‘This is fucking show time now.’
Discover more about Ricky’s incredible career in Vegas Tales, his new book that’s out NOW in hardback and ebook