Former lightweight contender Michael Katsidis looks like he just might be the opponent for Ricky Hatton's comeback fight on November 24 in Manchester.
About a year ago, Katsidis challenged Hatton to return to boxing and fight him, while Katsidis was preparing for what turned out to be a loss to Ricky Burns. Hatton turned down the invitation and stayed retired. But with his return set, it's a fight that makes some sense.
The rugged Aussie's career has gone down the other side of the hill at this point, but he still wants to fight. His most recent bout was a 10-round decision loss to Albert Mensah on ESPN Friday Night Fights in April, with Katsidis moving up to junior welterweight.
Katsidis (28-6, 23 KO) isn't a contender anymore. But he might be the perfect sort of opponent here. Most likely, one would expect Hatton to return at 147 pounds, not 140. Katsidis isn't really a welterweight, but frankly Hatton's never truly been a welterweight either. He fought twice at the weight, struggling to a win over Luis Collazo that many felt Collazo deserved in 2006, after which he returned to 140 for two fights before moving back up and losing to Floyd Mayweather in December 2007.
The reason we expect Hatton to come back at 147 is that he's put his body through a lot, plus he's about to turn 34. It would seem almost crazy to try to get back all the way to 140. Those extra seven pounds at a weigh-in could be hell on him and pretty much destroy any chance of success he has with his return. I wasn't even going to be surprised if his return took place at a 150-pound catchweight, or something along those lines.
Now, to get back to Katsidis, what makes him a good opponent if this turns out to be true? It's simple: He still has all the heart in the world, as proven by his huge effort against Mensah in what was a terrific fight. That means that he'll be able to at least test Hatton's stamina and actual desire. Ricky could fight someone who would be a lot more of a pushover than a small, fading Katsidis. But Katsidis makes sense because he's going to come to win every single fight he's in.
Style-wise, it figures to be a doozy if Hatton is mentally ready. And frankly, if Hatton is not ready, not really there for this, to the degree that someone smaller and well past his best can give him second thoughts, that needs to be shown on November 24 before we get into a situation that really isn't good for Ricky Hatton.
What do you think? Considering the comeback is happening, is it the right type of opponent? Is this someone who can at least tell us if Ricky Hatton can do this, or at least might be able to do it? And if he can't, does Katsidis have enough left to show us that Hatton should go back to the sidelines?