Credit: Dan Rafael (ESPN.com)
From the network that has brought you such thrilling encounters as Tye Fields v. Roderick Willis and Hasim Rahman v. Taurus Sykes comes... Ricky Hatton in a junior welterweight double-header that people might actually want to see?
Yep, that's right -- the Versus Network has come to an agreement with Golden Boy Promotions to air the May 24th double-header, headlined by Ricky Hatton's post-Mayweather comeback, with Paulie Malignaggi's rematch with Lovemore N'dou opening the night. Hatton will face dangerous veteran Juan Lazcano.
Who'd have guessed? This, hopefully, will make Vs. an actual player, after promoting lame Top Rank cards that seemingly had no regard for whether or not there was any audience left. Too long has Vs. (formerly OLN) relied on washed-up heavyweights like Rahman or freak heavyweight attractions like Fields. Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer says he hopes to continue making cards with the network. If that comes to fruition -- the network's deal with Top Rank is coming to an end -- let's hope they offer up more attractive cards.
The fight will go up against Showtime's coverage of Kessler-Miranda. Showtime, for the record, was offered the Hatton card, but passed, I'd guess due to costs, even though they offered up a cool million bones for the Kessler-Miranda fight. Rafael says HBO showed little interest, thinking that the main event matchup wasn't interesting and that with it taking place on Memorial Day weekend, they couldn't pull in enough viewers to make it worth their while. That makes good enough sense.
With this, though, Vs. will get to see if they can draw viewers on any scale to an attractive card.
I do have to note that it's quite a fall from fighting Floyd Mayweather, Jr., on a massive pay-per-view all the way down to the Versus Network, though.