Despite several reports that Ricky Hatton is set to defend his WBA Welterweight Title against Oktay Urkal on the December 9th HBO date, the fight is by no means a done deal as of yet. In fact, the WBA recently sent an official letter to Hatton because they are still to recieve any communications from him regarding this mandatory defense. According to the letter, the WBA has set this Friday as a deadline to recieve all documents pertaining to Hatton-Urkal, before it goes to a purse bid.
I've also recently read that Hatton is seriously considering moving back down to 140, particularly if he can secure a fight with Jose Luis Castillo, which would take place before the end of the year. The Hatton-Castillo bout, in turn, may be at stake when Castillo appears before the Nevada State Athletic Comission this Friday. He faces a possible suspension for not having made the 135-pound limit for his aborted rubbermatch with Diego Corrales.
Given how Hatton faced against Luis Collazo in his first ever welterweight bout, it may be in his best interest to return to 140. Nonetheless, I'm not sure how good that will prove to be for his P4P status and, ultimately, for his legacy. I recently wrote a story raving about how loaded the welterweight division is, and Hatton is undoubtedly one of its main players. With Cotto set to move up to 147 before the end of the year, and with title match-ups like Rabah-Urango and Corley-Witter, the 140-pound division is starting to look weak. Hatton's migration back down could be seen as his running away from the best possible competition.
On the other hand, the only worthwhile fight for Hatton at 140 would be Castillo. As long as he'd be willing to come back up to fight the likes of Cotto and Mayweather afterwards, I'd have no problem with him going to 140 for the fight.
But here's the kicker: If Hatton were to move back down to junior welter now, that would have some very immediate effects on the welterweight division. First of all, we'd see Oktay Urkal facing mandatory Carlos Quintana for Hatton's WBA title. With PBF and Winky turning down a Margarito fight, Bob Arum had been looking to make a Margarito-Quintana fight happen on October 7th. That fight would fall through the cracks as well.
What I'm saying is that, come fall, we could see Hatton vs. Castillo, Urkal vs. Quintana, and Margarito vs. yet another 30-8 nobody (unless PBF or Winky reconsider the huge offers Arum has made them). Personally, the best possible scenario I can think of, as a boxing fan, would be for either PBF or Winky to take the Margarito fight (and silence all of those who've jumped on the Tijuana Tornado's bandwagon), and for the two aforementioned fights to happen. I would love to see Hatton vs. Castillo, and I doubt I'm the only one.
I'm not a boxing insider, but from all that I've been reading lately, it seems as though it may all boil down to this: Arum and Margarito are waiting on Quintana, who---along with Urkal---is waiting on Hatton, who, in turn, is waiting on Castillo. With Castillo set to appear before the NSAC on Friday, and with the WBA deadline looming for Hatton, this web should start to untangle soon.
The September 16th HBO Pay-Per-View Card is looking great. It seems as though we may have four very legitimate title fights on our hands, all of them with explosive potential. The main event will be Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Rocky Juarez, in a rematch of their very close fight in May (which was inicially declared a draw). On the undercard, we'll have Jorge Barrios taking on Joan Guzman, in a don't-blink battle of hard punchers. We'll also have Jhonny Gonzalez facing 122-pound champion Israel Vasquez. And, in addition to all that, we'll have Nelson Dieppa vs. the man who took his title, Hugo Cazares, in the rematch of what was a pretty exciting fight last April.
These days, it's quite a rarity to have a PPV show of this caliber. I can't remember the last four-fight PPV card in which I was truly interested in every one of the fights. If none of the four fall through, this might just turn out to be one of the best PPV shows in years. Not only that, it may also be setting the table for a potential 130-pd. unification bout, with the winner of Barrera-Juarez facing the winner of Barrios-Guzman at some point next year.
The September 2nd James Toney-Sam Peter heavyweight fight is also heating up. In a press conference earlier this week, Toney and Peter went at it in LA, and Toney had to be restrained.
This is also a fight I can't wait to see. Is it crazy that I'm really looking forward to this non-title bout, whereas I couldn't care less about the upcoming title fights between Rahman-Maskaev, Klitschko-Briggs and Valuev-Barrett? Am I alone in this?