Junior Witter Looks For A Ricky Hatton Grudge Match

ricky hatton12.12.07 - By Matthew Hurley: In the aftermath of his knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather questions were raised about the future of Ricky Hatton. The one consensus opinion seems to be that Hatton should return to junior welterweight, the division where he is most comfortable, and leave the bigger boys at welterweight alone. Talks of a bout with Oscar De La Hoya that preceded the Mayweather fight can now be taken for what they really were – Oscar looking for an easy opponent and Hatton looking for a way to cash out with a monster pay day.

But Hatton is a proud fighter and a hugely popular one as well. His fans were still cheering him on even after he lay befuddled on the canvas following Mayweather’s final assault. They will continue to support him and the ‘Hit Man’ is already intent on reestablishing himself after taking an extended break and filling up his belly with Guinness and fried food.

One fighter that has his sights set on the pride of Manchester represents not only a potential grudge match but Hatton’s most difficult task in the junior welterweight division and a challenge that probably should have been met some time ago. Junior Witter, the WBC junior welterweight champion, has been calling out Hatton for some time now. Now, after Hatton was literally beaten back down into the division, Witter believes that a showdown is mandatory.

“He has shied away (from me),” he told BBC Sport Radio, “but I am number one (as) recognized by the The Ring Magazine and he has just lost to Floyd. It should happen. It is the fight the public deserves. Boxing is flying in the country at the moment and that is the fight they want.”

Witter also has a point when he says that Hatton’s forays into the welterweight division have left the true supremacy at junior welterweight in question.

“He wants to reclaim the mantle as the best light-welterweight in the world and to do that he has to beat me.”

As for Hatton’s performance against Mayweather, Witter was dismissive.

“He tried hard but Floyd had too much skill. His skill level was two to three times higher and it showed through the fight. What shocked many (people) was that Floyd was better on the inside.”

Witter, who in the past has tried, almost desperately, to shame Hatton into a fight with insults is somewhat resigned however as to whether or not the bout will ever come off. He knows there is a possibility that Hatton won’t fight him next, preferring an easier touch, so he is leaving his options open.

“Ricky thinks I have disrespected him but I think he has got in my way getting all the attention (I deserve). But that’s life. He was in the right position at the right time with all those Manchester City fans behind him. Manchester is a boxing town and Bradford, where I’m from, is not.”

Witter did offer a conciliatory note when he added, “He’s going to want to fight me more than Mayweather. He hates me and I don’t mind. When I box, I box the best and he is one of the best in the world.”

Article posted on 13.12.2007

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