The Manila Bulletin reported that talks between Top Rank and Golden Boy were moving toward a November date for a massive showdown between 140-pound champion Ricky Hatton and 130-pound champion/soon-to-be 135-pounder Manny Pacquiao.
The plan would hinge on Paulie Malignaggi, the IBF junior welterweight titleholder, taking a settlement to step aside for the time being, as Hatton-Malignaggi is all but officially announced for November, and has been in the works since early this year.
Later, Ricky Hatton sent out a statement that he was not going to fight Pacquiao in November, and that the Malignaggi fight is in no danger of being scrapped for the time being. This probably makes Malignaggi very happy. Said Hatton's lawyer, Gareth Williams:
"A fight with Pacquiao is something that has been mooted for next year and it is something we would be keen to do. But it is not going to happen this year. Ricky's only focus is on Malignaggi."
Hatton-Malignaggi should do a great, loud house in New York if they can manage to find a home for it there, and I don't see any reason that fight can't headline at Madison Square Garden. Why not? Klitschko-Ibragimov did it. Paulie's got a great fanbase, and we know Ricky's supporters will travel.
And building to a Hatton-Pacquiao fight in 2009 is much better than rushing into it this year. If Pacquiao looks great at 135, and Hatton can beat Malignaggi (neither are guarantees), then you're talking about a huge, huge fight.