SHEFFIELD, England -- Much to their disappointment -- because the fight could not be held in Manchester as usual -- Ricky Hatton's fans gradually are coming to this cold and grey town to support their hero.
They all are convinced that IBF junior welterweight titlist Hatton will add another belt to his collection Saturday when he faces WBA current king Carlos Maussa of Colombia at the 12,000-seat Hallam FM Arena (PPV, 4 p.m. ET).
Hatton comes off an 11th-round technical knockout victory over Russian great Kostya Tszyu in June. The triumph is considered by many here to be the greatest victory of British boxing in the last 10 years.
That night, in front of 22,000 wild fans in his hometown of Manchester, Hatton was crowned the new IBF champion and promised that his next bout would be a unification.
He delivered on his promise. Yet in order to make it possible he had to go through an ugly legal battle against his former promoter Frank Warren, who had been by his side during all of his professional career.
After several legal chapters, an English judge ruled that Hatton could fight under a new promoter, Dennis Hobson, yet will have to pay a part of his $300,000-plus purse to Warren.
Will all the mental stress that he had to go through have any impact on Hatton's performance Saturday?
"All I know is I would have liked it to be different with Frank. But that's over now. I've trained perfectly and I'm really focused for this very important fight as Maussa is always a dangerous opponent," Hatton told ESPNdeportes.com.
"Some people would not know Maussa, but I do. I'm aware of his punching power and durable chin, so I know I will have to work hard to beat him."
Everybody knows that Hatton (39-0, 29 KOs) is a soft-spoken and very respectful guy. He has tried hard not to talk about possible opponents beyond Maussa, out of respect for the Colombian.
However, Hatton cannot disguise his interest in one foe: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Even though Mayweather seems destined to continue his career at 147 pounds and higher, a fight with Hatton for 140-pound supremacy is one bout coveted by fans on both sides of the Atlantic.
"It is interesting that Mayweather said months ago that he'd come to Manchester to give me a whipping and now he is fighting in a different division. Maybe he changed his mind. As for me, I am still willing to go there [to the United States] and fight him," Hatton said.
Meanwhile, Maussa (20-2, 18 KOs) does not have a say on that matter, as he seems to be only focused in providing yet another big upset. He scored one in June, when he beat Vivian Harris to become the new WBA champ.
"Nobody believed in me but I came home with the belt. And it will be no different on Saturday. I came to England as the underdog, but I don't care about odds. I only care about my power to knock out anybody that stands in front of me," Maussa told ESPNdeportes.com.
"I had the flu last week so I didn't have an ideal training camp, but the important thing is that I am totally recovered and ready to become the first Colombian to ever have two belts."
At the official weigh-in ceremony Friday, Hatton had no problems to make 139¾ pounds. However, Maussa didn't make it until his third attempt, after he was overweight by half a pound first (the limit of the division is 140) and by almost a quarter of a pound on his second try.
Buenos Aires-based Sebastián Contursi is ESPNdeportes.com's boxing analyst. He has covered more than 80 championship fights for various publications in the United States and Argentina.