Ricky Hatton has warned Tony Harrison that he will be in for a rude awakening if he dares to underestimate Sergey Rabchenko this weekend.
The pair meet in an eliminator for the IBF super-welterweight title on the undercard of the huge Santa Cruz v Frampton bill in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night (July 30).
And Hatton, who has trained Rabchenko for the past four years, believes both Harrison and US fight fans could be overlooking his fighter’s ability due to the manner of his sole defeat.
Rabchenko lacked his usual spark when dropping a highly contestable points verdict to Aussie veteran Anthony Mundine in late 2014, leaving some questioning skills and desire.
“Not making any excuses but Sergey had a few personal problems going into the Mundine fight and he wasn’t himself that night,” Hatton explained.
“If Harrison and his team have looked at the tape and think that’s the same opponent they are getting, then they’re going to be in for a shock.
“Although I believe Sergey did enough to beat Mundine, actually losing the decision has been the best thing for him because it’s given him a kick up the backside and he knows he needs to bring his A game to every fight from now on.
“For this, he’s been back to his best. His hunger and his determination are back and he’s ready to making a statement to the American audience.”
While Hatton feels his man may be looked upon lightly, he’s adamant that hasn’t made the same mistake with Harrison.
“I’ve had a good look at Tony Harrison and he’s a very well-schooled boxer, as they all are out of the Kronk stable,” he said.
“He’s tall for the weight and he uses his jab very well, but his only loss came by stoppage (to Willie Nelson in 2015) and with Sergey being a huge puncher, I think we have the advantage.
“Make no mistake, they’re all hard fights at this level. I just think this is Sergey’s time and he’ll prove it on the night.”