Boxing Scene is reporting that Virgil Hunter, named by many as the Trainer of the Year for 2011 due to his work with super middleweight champion Andre Ward, has stated that a fight between his charge Amir Khan and returning British superstar Ricky Hatton "will happen at some point" assuming they are both successful in the immediate future.
Here's what Hunter had to say about the potential mega fight: "I'm quite sure if Ricky and Amir successfully roll forward that the fight will happen at some point. Amir and RIcky are two pugilists that will present each other with a different set of problems. The fight outcome will come down to preparation and stamina."
I don't think what Hunter is saying here is anything overly surprising. I do believe that there is a very legitimate chance Khan and Hatton could face each other eventually if they are successful in their return bouts. It would be a serious superfight, especially in England, where Hatton seems to have an amazing, cult-like following. His comeback fight had already sold 18,000 tickets before an opponent was even announced. A fight between the two would do incredible business. In fact, watching and listening to the crowd could be more entertaining than the fight itself.
I'm not totally sure how big the fight would be in America, however. Hatton had some lively crowds (to put it lightly) when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Luis Collazo in the States several years ago. But most of those were fans that had traveled from England, not local American supporters.
I feel Khan's American business is largely the same. He's just not a very big name in the U.S. either. He had a good crowd for his fight with Lamont Pterson in Washington D.C., but that was due to the fact that D.C. is Peterson's hometown.
It's also interesting to discuss where the fight would be televised in the U.S. if it did happen. Golden Boy seems to be taking all of their business over to Showtime, and they would promte the show for Khan's behalf at least. While Hatton had become an exclusive HBO fighter toward the end of his run (except a fight against Juan Lazcano on Versus), he had an extensive amount of fights on Showtime during the development part of his career.
In the past, fights involving two Europeans didn't do great ratings for American premium channels. The Joe Calzaghe - Mikkel Kessler clash in 2007 was pretty huge in Europe, but the HBO ratings left much to be desired. It should be noted that Hatton is a bigger name than either of those two, but I wonder if the final ratings would reflect that fact.
Both men were stopped in their previous fights, though under very different circumstances. Hatton was blown out by a prime Manny Pacquiao in two rounds which prompted him to go into his mini-retirement. Most expected him to lose, though the way he was utterly manhandled was a bit of a shock.
Khan, on the other hand, was heavily favored when he faced Danny Garcia this past summer. Regardless, he was stopped in four rounds, another surprising setback in a career that has already had a few. It was this result which prompted him to fire Freddie Roach and hire Hunter as his new trainer.