Mayweather On Verge Of Return - ‘Pretty’ Exciting 2009 In Prospect

Floyd Mayweather Jr.By Conor Ward: Rumours surrounding the possible return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ring have gathered further momentum today, with reports that Mayweather’s camp have approached Ricky’s Hatton’s advisers with a view to a rematch with the ‘Hitman.'

Hatton’s lawyer Gareth Williams and his father Ray Hatton have confirmed that they have been sounded out by Mayweather’s representatives. As every British boxing fan knows only too well, Ricky suffered the first and only defeat of his career to date against Mayweather in December 2007 via a brutal tenth round TKO. As they also know, Hatton has bounced back well from that defeat, his impressive and comprehensive victory over fellow light-welterweight Paulie Malignaggi last month putting him right back in the shake-up at the top end of the world scene.

Of course Floyd and Ricky are just two of the characters in this plot, one which is thickening by the day. The fighter very much in the middle of it all is Filipino legend and current pound-for-pound king Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao. Since Pacquiao’s recent dismantling of Oscar de la Hoya at welterweight, everything has been pointing towards a summer 2009 showdown between Manny and Manchester’s Hatton. But five-weight world champ Mayweather – who announced his retirement from the sport in June of this year – remained as the elephant in the room when contemplating the prospect of a Pacquiao-Hatton match-up.

It’s all basically good news and exciting stuff thus far for fight fans. Even if Floyd stays home to count his mound of cash and doesn’t bother to darken the door of his Vegas gym any time soon, Pacquiao-Hatton is a genuine “dream match” (in contrast with the over-hyped Pacquiao-De la Hoya), a mouth-watering prospect, proper Grade A pound-for-pound entertainment. Most of us would probably settle for that as the biggest spectacle of ’09 – well, at least as a joint title-holder with another Cotto-Margarito slugfest.

But the prospect of Mayweather returning has thrown a few gallons of fuel onto my flames of anticipation. Throw the guy who is probably the most skilled and accomplished fighter of his generation (that’s the Pretty Boy) back into the mix, and my hands are rubbing themselves with a warm glee before I even asked them to.

While Floyd’s return is by no means an absolute certainty at this stage, it would seem unlikely that he could resist the lure of at least one mega-money match-up in the next twelve months and the chance to put himself back on that perch as the sport’s number one exponent.

Floyd spoke a lot about building his legacy over the last couple of years of his career and made no secret of his claim to being not only the greatest fighter of his own time but of all time. His critics have often questioned whether his achievements are sufficient to place him among boxing’s all-time elite. It’s my own view, for whatever it’s worth, he belongs well up there amongst the greatest ever seen – the Robinsons, Durans, Chavez’s and Leonards of this world – and any of those guys would certainly need to bring their ‘A game’ before they could begin to think about taking him down. A triumphant return for Floyd, especially against a fighter of Pacquiao’s quality and star status, can only enhance his legacy and win him yet more admiration which he surely craves.

Turning 32 in February, Floyd is still in his prime of health, having never suffered major punishment inside the ropes and with a good year off from the rigours of training behind him. What’s more, his last outing saw him right at the top of his game as he pulled just about every trick out of the locker in dismantling Hatton.

The presence of Mayweather Sr. in Hatton’s corner adds a delicious bit of extra spice to a Floyd-Hatton reunion, along of course with the prospect of the event taking place in front of a baying British public below Wembley’s glaring lights. Floyd-Pacquiao sells itself – the current pound-for-pound top dog against the returning former king.

My own “dream” scenario for ’09 would see Hatton face Pacquiao in the summer, and the winner to take on Floyd later in the year – that’s two blockbusters not to be missed. Floyd could choose to take a tune-up fight in the meantime, but with such little doubt over his own abilities to weigh on his mind, one gets the feeling that “Pretty Boy” would be happy enough to step right back in at the deep end. Virtually born with gloves already laced on his hands, it’s hard to believe it would take him long to get his bearings in those treacherous waters.

Article posted on 19.12.2008

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