By James Slater: For weeks now we’ve heard the rumours: Ricky Hatton is set to make an unlikely ring return. Well, now it’s official. U.K tabloid The Daily Star released the exclusive, and a number of publications and web sites have carried the story since it broke this morning.
Hatton, age 33, will announce a two-fight deal some time in the coming fortnight, and his first fight will be in November. Thus far no venue or opponent has been confirmed, but according to The Daily Star piece, it will “almost certainly be old rival Paulie Malignaggi in November.”
Hatton is said to be planning to get a TV station interested in taking the two planned fights, with his own company Hatton Promotions promoting.
Hatton, who has been working extremely hard in the gym, has reportedly shed at least 34-pounds and is on his way to making the welterweight limit. As fans have no doubt read, Malignaggi, the reigning WBA 147-pound champ (who must come through okay against Pablo Cesar Cano on October 20th to secure the Hatton rematch) is ultra-keen on getting the chance to avenge his 2008 late-rounds TKO defeat to the Manchester legend.
Hatton’s return will absolutely guarantee a ton of interest, on both sides of The Atlantic, as well as generate a lot of money. And, if Hatton can defeat “The Magic Man” for a second time and become a world champion all over again, the sky could be the limit. Already, again according to The Star article, there is talk of Hatton thinking about going for a rematch with Manny Pacquiao should he look good against the slick New Yorker.
Pacquiao is of course the last man to have fought Hatton, sensationally KO’ing him in the 2nd-round in Las Vegas just over three years ago. It’s still very, very early days for it to even have a chance of taking place, but imagine how many shockwaves a Pacquiao-Hatton rematch would send through the sport! And, letting myself get carried away no doubt, imagine if Hatton were to reverse his crushing loss?
Hatton has always maintained that a poor, disorganised training camp severely hampered his chances in May of 2009, and even now a rematch would attract massive interest/curiosity – even if most if not all Hatton fans would watch the fight behind trembling hands; their eyes only half open.
Hatton’s comeback will divide his fans. Some will say he has his place in history and therefore nothing to prove by coming back. Others still will say Hatton can achieve more and, like his hero Roberto Duran, succeed in a comeback that followed a brutal KO loss.