“He’s definitely got it. In fact, sometimes, he’s got a little bit too much, so I’ve got to hold him back. You’ll probably see that a little bit later on. Like he says, the famous words he’s been saying is he wants to redeem himself to everyone. He definitely does. By picking a fighter like Senchenko, he is a good fighter, a world champion; it’s a tough fight to come back to. But he will answer all the questions come fight night. Has Ricky Hatton still got it? Does he want it? This kid will bring it out of him. If he has got it, he’ll get through. If he hasn’t, then he won’t. Simple as that,” stated world-class trainer Bob Shannon, who talked about Ricky Hatton’s long-awaited return to the ring this Saturday. Check it out!
GM: Many in the public were really happy that Ricky went back to his roots and chose a trainer like yourself. Were you happy to get the call?
BS: Oh, fantastic because when you look back at it, my father had his own gym and he trained Billy Graham as an amateur and all the way through his career, and I trained with Billy. So we trained with each other and it was great to see Billy going on doing great things training Ricky Hatton. It’s amazing. My dad was so proud, and now it’s come around full circle and he’s come to me. I think the reasons why me and Billy trained so similar, like my late father; the same methods – bodybag, old fashioned school, as you’d call it, and I think he seen me with Matthew and seen something like Billy. He must of thought, “If I ever come back, I’ll pick Bob,” and he did. He’s a man of his word, so yeah, I’m really pleased.
GM: How has Ricky’s training gone for the fight? Do you see the desire and fire of old?
BS: Oh yeah, definitely. He’s definitely got it. In fact, sometimes, he’s got a little bit too much, so I’ve got to hold him back. You’ll probably see that a little bit later on. Like he says, the famous words he’s been saying is he wants to redeem himself to everyone. He definitely does. By picking a fighter like Senchenko, he is a good fighter, a world champion; it’s a tough fight to come back to. But he will answer all the questions come fight night. Has Ricky Hatton still got it? Does he want it? This kid will bring it out of him. If he has got it, he’ll get through. If he hasn’t, then he won’t. Simple as that.
GM: It’s been much publicized that Ricky shed a lot of weight before training camp had even begun. Has this allowed you to focus a lot more on technique and padwork?
BS: Definitely! I couldn’t have trained Ricky had he been four and half stone overweight. I’d of said, “Go away and come back!” He knows what I’m like. He knows my training is relentless. He knows I’m straight down the middle. So he got his weight off, and I mean to get all that weight off, I think he’s redeemed himself right now. To do that and then go through ten weeks with Bob Shannon, taking him full running, doing this, doing that; that’s redeeming right away. Yeah, he worked really hard before he even came to me.
GM: Have you worked on anything in particular for an opponent like Senchenko?
BS: I’ve just worked on his weaknesses, and that certainly is Ricky Hatton’s defense. I work on a rubber band for his eye coordination and speed work, and it’s very very difficult to use. I haven’t seen any other trainer use it. Look at Ricky Hatton! You tell me if he’s not quick! You tell me if his hands don’t come back! Yes they do.
GM: How has the sparring gone with him being out of the ring so long? Have you noticed rustiness or hesitation?
BS: It was difficult at first because you’ve got to get used to people throwing shots at you again, but I got the right sparring partners at the right time. Now I’ve had to up it and he’s got some top sparring partners, and it’s been very physical and I’m glad to see that as well. I’ve had to see the signs. Can he take a shot? Can he come back from that shot? And he certainly has done in sparring. I had to answer them questions before I put him in the ring, and he has done. I’m really happy with him, but like you say, on the night, it’s a different kettle of fish. Everything’s gone well in training and I know it will go well on the night. But, their is always a but; he has been out the ring three and a half years.
GM: With Ricky stating after his last fight against Manny Pacquiao that he over-trained and he didn’t have a fight left in him, how have you managed his training to ensure that’s not the same this time around?
BS: I think I’m unique as a trainer because I speak to all my fighters every single day and ask them how they feel. “How’d ya feel today? This is what we’re going to do. We can do this today or we can do this tomorrow. We can do technique.” Now, I spoke to Ricky and Ricky is a trainer himself, remember, so he’s got a lot of experience. He’s no fool. So we’ve worked it out together. Most of the time, I’ve done it as it is, and Ricky’s been really happy. You never over-train anyone, ever! You have a hard day, an easy day, and when I say easy, I mean a technical day. We’ve done loads of technical stuff with him and everythings gone really well.