By Shaun Brown: In light of the recent Ricky Hatton performance, and some of the criticism that followed, you could find it easy to understand why the vultures are circling. Parts of the boxing media thought he seemed easier to hit in his fight with Juan Lazcano, that his punch resistance was dropping. Is the Hitman now seen as something of an easy target? Is he now more of a pull because of his name rather than his boxing abilities?
Team Hatton are perfectly entitled to think the opposite. He is still the best light-welterweight in the world but unfortunately due to the weakness of the division he doesn’t have much competition at the moment. Junior Witter’s shameful defeat to Timothy Bradley all but ended his hopes of a domestic dust up with Hatton. And the new WBC champion, Bradley, will have to make significant strides in a short space of time to challenge Hatton for his title as the best at 140. Ricardo Torres still has a lot to prove and whilst Paulie Malignaggi, may be the next opponent for the popular Mancunian Saturday night’s rematch with Lovemore N’dou did nothing to convince anyone that he is the best at 140 pounds. Ricky Hatton is still undefeated at his natural weight which is a terrific achievement regardless of the opposition. And lets not forget he beat the top dog at light-welter, Kostya Tszyu, to become top dog and no-one has knocked him off his perch since.
Unfortunately, Hatton still believes he can once again take on Floyd Mayweather if circumstances are different. But Golden Boy Promotions seem to think differently. They have apparently lined up a trio of fighters that they want to see as Hatton’s next opponent should he dispose of Malignaggi in November. Manny Pacquaio, Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis are the mouth-watering names being mentioned.
We know that since last year a fight between Pacquaio and Hatton has been discussed. With Dubai being discussed as a possible venue! In terms of figures this fight would be enormous. They both carry with them huge fanbases and both have crowd pleasing styles. I feel it would be a difficult fight to make due to location and money. Pacquaio’s value increases with every fight and there is no doubt he and his team would possibly feel that he is the bigger name therefore wanting a bigger slice of the pie, even though he would be challenging Hatton for his light-welterweight crown.
Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis are interesting names to be attached to Hatton as well, and should both certainly not be dismissed.
After two thoroughly dominating performances against Acelino Freitas and Julio Diaz the Texan looked like something of a superstar in the making until he came unstuck against wily veteran Nate Campbell. That seems to have done nothing to his credibility – and now that he’s left Don King – I am expecting a strong showing against Joel Casamayor, although not confirmed, in September.
Popular Aussie scrapper Katsidis was another fighter on the up, his all action style attracting new fans – but then he too came unstuck against another veteran in the shape of Cuban fighter Casamayor.
All three of the fighters that Golden Boy are looking at as possible opponents for Hatton carry an enormous threat to the Hitman. Should they carry all their abilities up to 140 they all could provide Hatton with a very difficult fight. Pacquaio’s power, speed and work-rate. Diaz’s lethal combinations and relentless style. And Katsidis’s stubbornness, heart and of course power.
If Lazcano was able to shake Hatton’s boots (all the way into them being forced to have their laces tied again) then the three lightweight contenders could possibly shake him from head to feet.
I think the most makeable fight is one with Katsidis. Golden Boy see the Australian as a new Arturo Gatti and will be keen to market him as one by putting him in potential epic fights. Interestingly enough he has already fought in Britain, not that long ago when he put Graham Earl to the sword in a five round thriller. Thus making the chances of holding the fight in the UK a real possibility, the Australian – English sporting angle could be another selling point. It would be a real phonebox fight. Two come forward fighters that don’t know the meaning of the word defence and two men that simply to refuse to back down. And with Hatton already a huge box-office draw and Katsidis on his way to being one it could be a classic. However, that could all go down the pan if the Aussie does not win his next fight against Jesus Chavez, again not confirmed, in September.
After watching Hatton v Lazcano on Saturday you couldn’t blame the three of them if they smelled blood. The chance to take on boxing’s biggest attraction in a super-fight, the chance to possibly end his career, the chance to make a potful of money and have their own reputation escalate on to a ridiculous scale. Who could blame them?
However, I’m sure that Team Hatton will relish the fact that people are startng to write the Hitman off. They would love nothing more than to once again ram words such as those down the critics throats.
One thing is for certain. Golden Boy are going to ensure that his remaining fights will be some of the biggest and most memorable of recent times.