Steve Skerry of the Daily Mail is reporting that Ricky Hatton's ring return in 2010 looks almost definite at this point, and that a summer clash in Manchester with Juan Manuel Marquez is a decent bet.
Hatton Promotions chief executive Gareth Williams said: ‘It would be an ideal fight for Ricky to take on Marquez. He is an elite flighter, just like Ricky, who will want to challenge the best.’
Hatton (45-2, 32 KO) turned 31 in October, and Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KO) turned 36 in August. The fight would be at 140 pounds, five pounds up from the last time we saw Marquez look good. It is Hatton's best weight.
This became a rumor pretty shortly after a bloated Marquez was routed by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September, and I said I liked the idea then, and I like it just fine now, too. Marquez is still the lineal champion at 135 pounds, a weight where he seems to be pushing it. I don't think he'd be particularly great at 140 pounds, to be quite honest, but I also don't think Ricky Hatton is going to be particularly great in a comeback fight either. Given that he's now in his 30s, this balloon in weight and then crash down to 140 strategy of his is bound to catch up to him in a major way.
What I think makes it interesting is it really could be next summer until this happens, and it's possible neither will fight until then. If they were able to work out an agreement in the near future to hold off until June or July for a big date in Manchester, there'd be little incentive for either to take anything more than a clear tune-up bout against an unqualified challenger. It's not like Marquez would be wise to risk Hatton-level money on a fight with Michael Katsidis or something.
Considering Marquez probably realizes he's near the end of his fighting days, the money is probably very important. He got a great payday against Mayweather, and he'd get a very good one against Hatton. Hatton may fight on for the financial security, but I see a lot of it as pride, too. I think there's something eating at Hatton when he looks at his record. He's got the win over Kostya Tszyu, but it's now pretty well buried in the global image of him, beneath the losses to Mayweather and Pacquiao. Marquez remains a pound-for-pound top ten guy, top five for many. He could look at that as some form of redemption.
Either way, count me in for this one. I still think it's a fun idea. Boxing has plenty of room for fighters as proud, brave and likable as Hatton and Marquez, even if they're past their very best days.