24.04.08 – by James Slater: Australia’s Lovemore N’dou is desperate for a showdown with Manchester, England’s Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. The former IBF light-welterweight champion shares top billing with Hatton on May 24th, when he goes up against current IBF champ Paulie Malignaggi in a return fight. It’s no secret that the winner – who most people expect to be the New Yorker – will then very likely face Hatton some time later this year.. Well, in an interview with The Herald Sun, the 36 year old N’dou thinks it will be he who gets Hatton, after he regains his world title from the man who took it from him.
“So long as I get a fair shake against Malignaggi, I can beat him,” N’dou claims. “The referee in our last fight (Eddie Cotton) kept breaking us apart and I couldn’t fight my style of fight. We’ve protested to the IBF about that and requested that they appoint a referee who will let the action flow,” the Australian continued.
N’dou certainly talks a good fight, but it’s unlikely Malignaggi will be listening or believing what he has to say. An overwhelming winner on all three scorecards last time, the current IBF ruler is sure he will repeat the job second time round, and that it will be he who gets the big match with Hatton.
Still, N’dou says Malignaggi is not the same fighter as he was when the two first met.
“I thought Malignaggi lost that fight [to Herman Ngoudjo],” N’dou said. “He has slipped since he fought me and if he thinks he’s going to beat in the race to fight Ricky Hatton, he’s in for a big shock,” the 36 year old proclaimed.
Again, it’s unlikely too many fans will agree with N’dou. For while Malignaggi’s fight with Ngoudjo was closer than what the scorecards read, Paulie still looked as fast and as sharp as usual. Clearly, N’dou is wrong if he feels Malignaggi is damaged goods. A little talking before a fight doesn’t hurt, however, even though no further hype can help ticket sales for May’s bill in Manchester – the event sold out a while back.
But what exactly does a Hatton fight mean to N’dou, anyway? The fighter told The Herald Sun.
“I would love to beat Hatton before a huge audience in Manchester to get revenge for Kostya [Tszyu] losing the title over there,” N’dou explained. “If I could defend my world title against Hatton, it would obviously be the biggest fight of my career. But first I have to get the title back from Malignaggi,” May 24th’s challenger stated.
He is obviously confident he can avenge his June 2007 defeat to Malignaggi, the reigning champion will have other ideas.