Ricky Hatton's Comeback Fight With Juan Lazcano Approaches Sell-Out Status

by James Slater: The eagerly awaited return of Manchester's Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton has reportedly resulted in an almost completely sold out Manchester City stadium - capacity 55,000. Less than 5,000 tickets remain, with just over one month to go until the first bell. The 29-year-old Hatton faces the world class Juan Lazcano, the former WBC lightweight title challenger, on May 24th, in a bout that will contest the lightly regarded IBO 140 pound championship..

The fight will, of course, mark Ricky's first return to the ring since his 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather Junior. Anxious to get back with a win, Hatton, 43-1(31) will now get the chance to do so in front of an absolutely massive crowd of his passionate fans. Any thoughts that these fans would diminish at all now that Hatton has lost the zero on the end of his record have proven to be utterly without foundation. Ricky is clearly as popular as ever.

The fight with the 33-year-old Lazcano, 37-4-1(27) is a decent one for Hatton to return with. While also scheduled to box on the same bill is Paulie Malignaggi, the man who currently holds Ricky's old IBF light-welterweight title. Malignaggi, 24-1(5) is likely to face Lovemore Ndou, 46-9-1(31) in a second fight (Malignaggi won the first encounter with a clear points win). This addition to the card will not only give the paying fans more value for their money, it will also wet the appetite for a possible Hatton-Malignaggi bout later this year. For should both men do as expected and win on May 24th, a clash between the two is in the works for the end of 2008 - possibly in Madison Square Garden, New York.

So what can the fans expect on May 24th? Hatton-Lazcano first. I see Hatton restoring his confidence with a good, workmanlike points victory over the usually durable Mexican. Ring-rust may well figure to be the visiting fighter's main problem, as Lazcano has not boxed since back in February of 2007 - when he lost on points to Vivian Harris. Hatton, on the other hand, is returning from the Mayweather fight after only five months out. Hatton should be sharp enough, then, to get a clear points victory.

The Malignaggi-Ndou rematch looks likely to go the full twelve also. Paulie, as even his biggest fans would have to concede, is no big puncher. And while Ndou can bang, he is unlikely to stop the IBF champ. After all, he was shutout in their first fight back in June of last year. I see Malignaggi doing something similar this time as well.

Then, hopefully, we can look forward to a Hatton-Malignaggi showdown for sometime before winter.

Article posted on 22.03.2008

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