Hitman Strikes Gold: Hatton Signs With De La Hoya

First, Floyd Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya and enjoyed the experience so much he agreed to do more business with Oscar's Golden Boy Promotions. Apparently Ricky Hatton got the same kind of feeling when he fought Mayweather - even while getting knocked out - because it was announced recently that Hatton has also inked a deal with Golden Boy.

As part of the deal, Hatton will also have his own promotional company, the aptly named Punch Promotions, working together with Golden Boy. And the new alliance has already paid off by lining up an opponent for the Hitman's return to the ring: Juan Lazcano, who he'll face in Manchester on May 24.

While Hatton's loyal (some would say fanatical) fans are going to be thrilled to see him fighting on his home turf once again, the real intrigue here is seeing how aligning himself with De La Hoya will help the Hitman in future fights here in the United States. Despite his loss to Mayweather, Hatton has the personality and fighting style to be a big star, and since it's a given that his countrymen will travel well, all that remains to be seen is how many American fans jump on the bandwagon. Teaming up with Golden Boy can only help in that regard.

With Hatton on board, it's almost impossible to make an argument against Golden Boy Promotions as the power in the current boxing landscape. Along with aging stars like Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and De La Hoya himself, the company's umbrella also extends to fighters currently in their prime, like Joan Guzman and Juan Manuel Marquez, and just enough of the next generation of boxers (think Demetrius Hopkins, Daniel Ponce-De Leon and Rock Allen) to ensure it remains a major player for the foreseeable future.

Now the question will be, do they have too many top fighters? The public is always going to be a little wary when two guys who do business together square off, wondering if they will be taking it easy on each other. Fortunately, going easy on anyone isn't Hatton's style, and he'll likely be able to laugh off any allegations all the way to the bank.

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