Mayweather Still Interested In Hatton?

Ricky HattonBy Adam Cullen: WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. hasn't ruled out a second bout with Ricky Hatton in the future. Upon being questioned about whether he'd be interested in another bout with Hatton, 29, Mayweather had this to say recently to Sky Sports News: "We don't know what the future holds, anything is possible. Is it possible? Absolutely." Obviously, this is great news for both Hatton and his fans, who would like nothing better for a second bout so that the British fighter could give a better account of himself. Last time out, in their fight on December 8th, Mayweather had little trouble in stopping Hatton in the 10th round of what essentially was a one-sided bout.

However, before such things as rematches occur, Mayweather plans on taking part in a WrestleMania XXIV on March 31, in which he'll be taking on a 7-foot 450 lb. wrestler by the name of "Big Show." It's not real wrestling, naturally, only the fake variety that will be giving Mayweather a nice payday without the risk that boxing brings in. After this event, Mayweather has a scheduled bout with Oscar De La Hoya on September 20th, a rematch of their previous fight on May 5th 2007, that resulted in Mayweather winning by a 12-round split decision. Beyond that, Mayweather will begin to run out of easy fights and will be forced to make a tough decision about fighting one of the top welterweights in the division, like Miguel Cotto or Kermit Cintron. Cotto is clearly the top choice here, but the one that would result in the toughest fight for Mayweather.

The majority of the public would prefer to see Mayweather fight Cotto, but that doesn't mean that he will. Most of the public wanted to see him fight Cotto next, and instead Mayweather has decided on fighting a rematch with De La Hoya. The same could hold true for a bout with Hatton. If Mayweather is smart, he'll bypass Cotto and take the easier rematch with Hatton, thereby making the most money with the least amount of risk. Cotto's still young and will be there for him whenever Mayweather decides to fight him. Hatton, though, seems to be deminishing somewhat as a fighter and may get beaten at some point in the future if he decides on taking on one of the top fighters in the light welterweight division, such as Junior Witter and Ricardo Torres.

Hatton needs to be smart like Mayweather, and bide his time facing beatable fighters until when/if Mayweather comes calling again. I'd strongly advise Hatton to take on IBF super lightweight champion Paulie Malignaggi or perhaps Gavin Rees, the WBA champion, although he'll likely be beaten this Saturday when he faces Andreas Kotelnik. That leaves Malignaggi as Hatton's best option for the easiest shot at a title, while at the same time insulating him from needless risk. Three years ago, I'd have picked Hatton to beat any of the champions, including Witter, but Hatton doesn't seem to be the same fighter he was back then.

I don't know what the reason is for the change in Hatton, but I'd be willing to guess that it's a product of his all-out brawling fighting style, mixed in a little with his ballooning up in weight in between fights. I think that a fighter - or anyone for that matter - can only do that so many times before it starts to have a detrimental affect on them, causing them to age faster. For that reason, I'd prefer that Hatton avoid taking on Witter, Ricardo Torres or Andreas Kotelnik unless he absolutely has to.

I think that if Hatton can win the IBF title from Malignaggi, he may be able to get a couple of fights out of him, and then defend the title against the likes of Herman Ngoudjo and Lovemore Ndou, both of which I could see Hatton beating. Not beating them soundly, mind you, but at least well enough to win the fight and thus prolong Hatton's reign at the top a little longer. Hopefully, after a couple fights against Malignaggi or Ngoudjo, Hatton will have rebuilt his name and Mayweather will come looking in his direction. That would be the best case scenario by far.

Article posted on 21.03.2008

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