Several UK outlets have reported that Ricky Hatton has been offered £2.4 million to face Erik Morales. The Mirror says that the Hatton camp has ruled out that fight -- at least for now -- but that a Hatton comeback seems to be picking up some steam. The Mirror also says that the British Boxing Board of Control are willing to return Hatton's fighting license, which he had revoked last year after a drug scandal. He maintained his promoters' license.
At BoxingScene.com, Lem Satterfield reports that Richard Schaefer says the report of the offer is bogus:
"I have not heard a word about that. Absolutely not. That's total news to me. That's total news to me. I actually talked to Oscar today about Erik Morales, and Ricky Hatton's name did not even come up," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"So, you know, Oscar wouldn't go and offer Ricky Hatton money without talking to me. We would discuss it. I talked to Oscar today. I talk to Oscar every day."
It's hardly the first time that something has come back as "news to" Schaefer that was reported as an Oscar de la Hoya business move, and generally speaking that happens when word is back that whatever the proposal was, has been rejected.
Schaefer does say that a fourth fight between Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera might be possible. Barrera has most recently fought for Top Rank, but says he's a free agent who fights for whatever promoter can get him the best fight. If "the best fights" Barrera could get with Top Rank were Adailton de Jesus and Jose Arias, you can't blame him for being willing to return to the warm embrace of Golden Boy Promotions, a company he helped turn into a power alongside Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins. Barrera left Golden Boy after his 2007 rematch with Manny Pacquiao.
Morales-Barrera is a rivalry that has a lot of personal history for me. It pit my favorite fighter (Morales) against one of my personal least favorites (Barrera), both men whose resilience, heart, desire and skills I greatly admire. But the same can be said for the Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez series, which I always thought of as sort of the perfect storm, a mix of Morales-Barrera and Gatti-Ward. And the fourth fight between those two, which came too late, was a depressing spectacle in which one man simply could not approach his old level.
What would we really see with Morales-Barrera IV, if it were to happen? Something similar? Morales used his brain and turned a shoulda-been blowout against Marcos Maidana into a stirring epic. And both Barrera and Morales still have it mentally, if not physically. They're both blown up far past their best weights.
Is that a fight that really interests you? Between the two, and I would have said this prior to the Maidana fight, too, Morales has a lot more left, and I think it's not so much physical as an actual desire to still be fighting. Barrera's comeback, which started in November 2008, has been dreck. He's fought four non-factors and Amir Khan in a regrettable and forgettable fight. Morales at least fought fringe contenders as soon as he came back. Watching Barrera last year against the woefully crude Adailton de Jesus, he looked like someone without the speed or power or chops of Barrera doing a mediocre Barrera impression. Morales, at his worst in the comeback, has just looked kinda fat and slow compared to his prime.
Honestly, which would you rather see: Morales-Barrera IV or Morales-Hatton? Neither? Both? Should they all just take turns beating up Jose Luis Castillo?
Schaefer also says that Morales' next fight could be on July 30.