Franchise Thoughts: When it Comes to Options, There's Only One Ricky Hatton

There are numerous boxers who are in position to make the upcoming year a big one. None though, seem like they will have as much fun deciding what to do in 2009 as Ricky Hatton.

It seemed like it was only seconds after Manny Pacquiao defeated Oscar De La Hoya that speculation began about Pac Man facing the Hitman. Now it appears that fight is almost a done deal, probably for May 2.

Retired former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather already owns a lopsided victory over Hatton. That didn't stop reports from surfacing that Money's people were feeling out the Hatton camp, trying to determine if there was interest in a rematch.

Lightweight stars Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz look like they're on track to fight each other. But they, too, have inquired about Hatton's availability.

As recently as this past summer, it didn't look good for Hatton to be in a position like this. After suffering his first defeat at Mayweather's hands last December, he returned to the ring in May and earned a decision over Juan Lazcano that was nowhere near as easy as the scores would suggest.

That left the Hitman looking vulnerable, so much so that it wasn't hard to find people predicting he would lose to Paul Malignaggi last month. When he knocked out Malignaggi instead, he suddenly found himself in his current state of high demand.

To paraphrase The Joker, why so popular? A big part of it is the large and rabid group of fans Hatton brings to the table. They've shown they will travel well, even during a slumping global economy.

Hatton also fights with an aggressive, crowd-pleasing style that plays well on television. Prospective opponents absolutely see dollar signs.

But another factor can't be ignored: despite a 45-1 record and the improved boxing skills he showed last time out, everyone thinks they can beat Hatton. Mayweather's already done it, a sniper like Marquez would easily find his head and you can bet that if the Pacquiao fight really comes off, it won't be long until we hear Freddie Roach stating that his man's speed will give Ricky fits.

It's tough to feel too sorry for the Hitman, as he'll probably end up with millions of reasons to smile when the year is over. There's only one Ricky Hatton, and for right now, he's in the driver's seat.

1 comment:

uatu said...

The crawl on ESPNNEWS is reporting that the Manny-Hatton fight is close to being made for May 2nd. I love the fight, and I like Manny to win by stoppage due to cuts. It should be an action packed fight for as long as it lasts.

Dan Rafael on ESPN.COM is reporting that "Money" Mayweather has given permission to his manager Leonard Ellerbe to sniff out some big fights. Which would make Money's unretirement the least shocking of all time, which is saying a lot. It is right up there with Sugar Ray Leonard, Bernard Hopkins, Jay-Z, and countless professional wrestlers.