Oscar de la Hoya likes Ricky Hatton's chances against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., or else he's trying to help sell the fight. You know -- one of the two. From the Golden Boy himself: "Most people cannot see past a convincing Mayweather win, but I've been in the ring with him recently and I'm giving Hatton a tremendous chance to win. Mayweather didn't like me jabbing at him for the first five rounds in our fight. He didn't know what to do. ... If Hatton enters the ring with the perfect game plan he's my champion."
Well, sure. If Hatton has the perfect gameplan, maybe he might not get embarrassed. I do particularly enjoy the jab discussion, as I still wonder why in God's name Oscar abandoned what was, in fact, a very effective weapon against Floyd in May. It's no secret that Oscar wants Hatton to win to set up a fight with him in England in 2008. And it's not like he has nothing to gain here, since Golden Boy is promoting the bout. But it sounds really empty. "Well, if Ricky jabs more than he ever has in his life, and his jab is actually effective, and everything else goes perfectly..." Come on. That's not an endorsement. It's a prayer.
Mayweather has stated that he'll gladly go toe-to-toe with Hatton, which he almost always says. But the way I see it, he does go toe-to-toe. "Dancing" is the way people that don't like Mayweather explain the fact that his opponents can't hit him. The art of boxing has always been to hit and not be hit. Floyd does that better than everyone else in the world. "Toe-to-toe" does not mean he's going to stand still and let Hatton hit him. Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is not Arturo Gatti.
Nonito Donaire, who is still riding high on the upset of the year and probably the KO of the year, will likely fight again on December 1st against his mandatory challenger. As for Vic Darchinyan, he's returning, low-key, against a journeyman opponent on October 20, and moving up a weight class to boot. I have gone back and watched that fight several times -- it still amazes me how viciously dominant Donaire was. He was punching, hard, with pinpoint accuracy. Over time, I've grown to respect what Darchinyan did in taking the shots he took, because a lot of guys would have been down and out on any number of the blows that Donaire landed.
There has been a little talk that Erik Morales isn't ready to retire after all. Why, I don't really know, but the idea was that he wanted a rematch with David Diaz in January. The fact that Diaz-Morales got a good response from those who ordered the fight (and after watching it later, it was a very entertaining bout with a great crowd) probably helps. HBO might be inclined to promote a rematch a little better. But the Diaz camp says they haven't been contacted by Morales' people, and that they would only do the fight if the money was better than last time, when they feel their man -- the champion -- got the short end of the stick. They've even gone so far as to say, "David does not want to fight him." And I don't think it's because the fight was close, I think it's because beating Erik Morales again wouldn't do a whole lot to further Diaz's career.
For now, the much stronger speculation is that Diaz will fight Australian slugger Michael Katsidis in January, on the first Boxing After Dark card of the year. HBO reportedly badly wants the deal, as Diaz is likely as hot as he'll ever be, and Katsidis could potentially be a fair drawing card with his style, sort of a Gatti type of guy. Katsidis-Amonsot on the undercard of Hopkins-Wright was a brutal affair, and completely stole the show. Katsidis is currently controlled loosely by Golden Boy, and the company has contacted Bob Arum at Top Rank (Diaz's promoter). Arum's response was, simply, "Sure, we'll do it. Why not, if the deal is right." It's a fight I'd like to see, no doubt about that.
Speaking of Arum, you may have heard that he has actual interest in promoting a Kid Rock-Tommy Lee fight in Vegas, with a $5 million purse for the winner. I'd have to favor Lee.
Sergio Mora is no longer scheduled to face Kassim Ouma, as Ouma wasn't willing to take what amounted to a massive pay cut to keep the fight, which was originally scheduled as part of the Marquez-Barrios (then Marquez-Juarez) undercard. Instead, Mora will fight on ESPN Classic on October 16th, against an opponent to be named. That night on ESPN2, Alfonso Gomez will take on veteran Ben Tackie. Mora hopes to fight the winner of Taylor-Pavlik in early 2008. I hope he doesn't, because I think he's a jerk and he sucks.