By George Mills, courtesy of The Daily Star

RICKY HATTON suggested old rival Floyd Mayweather’s decision to fight Conor McGregor “rubbished” the sport of boxing. 

Mayweather came out of retirement for a lucrative fight against the MMA superstar last summer, with both men pocketing tens of millions of dollars for the pay-per-view event.

The fight itself turned out to be less exciting than the build-up had promised, with Mayweather emerging victorious after a 10th round stoppage.

Many boxing purists criticised the fight, suggesting it was an insult that a novice would be able to dethrone one of the sport’s greatest ever champions.

And, speaking exclusively to Starsport, former two-weight world champion Hatton appeared to echo the sentiment.

When asked if he felt the sport of boxing was in good health, he replied: “I think the McGregor vs Mayweather fight didn’t do us any favours.

“The fact they’re thinking of doing it again in the f****** Octagon as well now, it just f****** makes me furious.

“I think it is in good health. It’s changed in so many years. It was only a few years ago we were moaning that there were too many belts.

“Now there’s too many belts, too many weights, catchweights, catch-f******-sports, it’s getting a bit silly.

“I went into boxing because I wanted to be the best and I’m thankful that I fought the best in Kostya Tszyu and people like that.

“Now it’s like ‘well, you’ve not made the weight so we’re not fighting for the title. You can do it at the catchweight.’ What the f*** are you doing it for if you’re not fighting for the title?

“Stuff like that winds me up.

“You want to go into it to be the best and sometimes the catchweights and this and that, it’s rubbishing the sport I love.”