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Hatton's great dilemma: Floyd or Oscar?

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

There could be a wrinkle in the proposed Hatton/Mayweather fight, and the wrinkle's name is Oscar de la Hoya.

Boxing's king moneymaker has said that he would love to fight Ricky Hatton, and has even said he'd like to do so in England, remarking, "Ricky and I could fill Wembley Stadium."

While it's absolutely true that a Hatton/Oscar fight could do bonanza business both as a live gate in England (or Vegas) and on pay-per-view, Hatton has now been reverse called out by the best boxer in the world after extensive trash talk, and if he were to take a fight with Oscar over Mayweather now, it would look very bad.

But what Ricky Hatton has done now is become backed between a rock and a hard place. A fight with Oscar is a fantastic business opportunity and a better matchup for him. Mayweather is a bad matchup on terrible (which is being kind to Hatton) and a big payday, but probably not as big.

So what can Hatton do? From a fan standpoint, Ricky Hatton has to fight Mayweather now. Floyd has laid it out there: If Hatton wants to fight him, he's going to do it, and he wants to hurt him. Ricky can't back down from that now. It's too late in the game. I don't know if Hatton thought he'd actually get the fight, but I don't for a second doubt that he genuinely wants it, and that he's thrilled at the prospect of testing himself against Mayweather.

Short-term, a fight against Mayweather is a huge step up for Hatton. Long-term, it could damage him. If Mayweather outclasses Hatton badly, which is a very real possibility, then what does Hatton do? He's no longer undefeated, and he will be considered badly exposed by a truly great boxer.

If Hatton fights Oscar, he could still very easily lose that fight. Hatton had a hell of a tough time at 147 against Luis Collazo, who is not near the level of Mayweather or de la Hoya. Hatton's style plays into Oscar's strengths, and the "Hitman" has never proven to be a truly effective fighter over 140 pounds.

Right now, it's both good and bad to be Ricky Hatton. He's got the world at his feet with the best fighter in the world and the dollar-for-dollar king of the sport. But there's only one real answer as far as legacy and things of that nature go, and that's Floyd Mayweather, Jr. If he doesn't fight Floyd now, he looks bad. If he does, he might look even worse.

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