If you are a purist fan of sport and competition, then the impending return to boxing of former World Champion Ricky Hatton may not have you all that excited. The ‘Hitman’ was last seen twitching unconscious under the hot lights at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after being brutally dispatched by Manny Pacquiao back in May 0f 2009, and his retirement has famously included mega gallons of beer and a British tabloid cocaine scandal. Hatton’s retirement also includes a very steep bloat to over 200 lbs, so despite being just 33 years old, he will have a great deal to do to get back to fighting shape. So why should bettor’s care?
Hatton will, without a doubt, go down in history as one of the most popular boxers in the world in the first decade of the 21st century. A massive draw with a huge following in his native England, few can forget the traveling British hooligan road show that Hatton had as a following when he emerged on the world stage. To put it in perspective, he is one of the few draws in the world that has been able to draw both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr into the ring.
That loyal fan base of his is likely to be with him as he returns to the ring. And this could present an opportunity, as Hatton is likely to milk his comeback for a few fights and then walk into a big one that he can’t possibly win.
The word is that his opening match may be a rematch against light hitting Paul Malignaggi, whom he TKO’d in 11 a few years back.
Even that match, intended as a starter match where Hatton’s chin will be safe, represents problems. Malignaggi has done a good job of staying active at a high level, and he has in fact seen his value rise since the first Hatton fight.
And Malignaggi showed the potential to outbox Hatton in the first fight. Hatton took shots and was not hurt, so he was able to stay aggressive.
The match is likely to be at 147 lbs, not the 140 of their first meeting. Hatton has a lot of weight to lose and a lot of gym time to be ready, but he is expected to get through that fight.
Take a look at it, the match is not the gimme Hatton may think it is, and it is a very high profile fight. IF Hatton gets by this one, at some point he is going to bite off more than he can shew.
Hopefully the smart bettors are there to take all those British fans’ money. This is a comeback destined to end with Hatton twitching in the ring – perhapsnot the first fight out of the chute, but it will happen.