Talking with Setanta Sports, junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton says what most expected: if/when he gets past Paulie Malignaggi in November, he'll look to secure a fight with the winner of the December 6 fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. Should Oscar win, the fight will be at 147, where Hatton has proven far less effective. Should Manny win, it would be at 140, Ricky's best weight by far.
Either fight would be a massive payday, and I've long loved the idea of Hatton-Pacquiao. That would be a true global phenomenon -- they may be the two most purely beloved fighters in the world, at least by their own fanbases. They have passionate fans that love their fighter, even if in the case of Hatton that doesn't always mean they're much fans of boxing on the whole. Which isn't really a knock. Just sayin'.
I'm not as big on Oscar-Hatton, because I don't think Ricky is anything approaching world class at 147 pounds. I thought Collazo edged him out, and Mayweather destroyed him. Hatton just does not have the body for 147. Short arms, short legs, and guys that carry 147 well will always give him problems just because of that. I've often wondered how good Hatton could've been if he'd been able to cut down to 135. Can you imagine having had Hatton-Castillo at 135 in their primes? Hatton-Corrales? Hatton-Casamayor (what a dirty, rough, enteraining fight that would've been)? Hatton-Freitas?
I also regret somewhat that Hatton never tried 135 or that he isn't so great at 147, because let's be honest. 140 has been the "in-between" division for Hatton's entire career, with good fighters that generally passed through (Oscar, Mayweather) or plain passed it over (Mosley). It's too bad we never got Hatton-Cotto or Hatton-Judah.
Really, a lot of Ricky's career, in my mind, is what could've been. But either way, he's a likely Hall of Famer and has had a wonderful career. Most of this is hardly his fault.
I do wonder if he's looking past Malignaggi, though, which would be a mistake. Malignaggi is tough and can box his ass off when he's healthy, which he says he is. Every time he cuts a steak he's risking breaking his right hand, but assuming he doesn't break it again during the fight, I think he's got a real shot. Ricky's no spring chicken anymore, and Paulie's not a punk.