Manchester superstar Ricky Hatton is rumored to be considering a return to the ring this year, and one opponent's name has come up. Keep in mind these are very much rumors, as Hatton has said zilch officially to this day about his future after he was destroyed inside of two rounds by Manny Pacquiao in May.
The Daily Star has this:
Hatton is contemplating one last fight in front of his home fans in Manchester, probably towards the end of the year.
Punch Promotions, Hatton’s new promotional company, has a deal with Sky Sports to screen shows from September.
And one of those is likely to feature the Manc light-welterweight himself.
News of the World (via BoxingScene.com) has this:
There is talk that Hatton may return at 147 instead of 140, at least for his next fight, and the paper reports that one of the names being thrown around as a possible comeback opponent is Steve Forbes. Assistant trainer Lee Beard is expected to replace Floyd Mayweather Sr. as head trainer.
Stevie Forbes? Really? Again, we all like Steve Forbes. Tough guy, nice guy, great punch resistance, tricky skills, but he's feather-fisted and this would be Hatton-Malignaggi II. Ricky's not going to feel anything from Forbes unless Ricky is so beyond shot that he simply can't take a punch anymore, and I doubt that's the case. The bomb Pacquiao put him away with would've knocked out a horse.
If Hatton fights Forbes, it's a total UK fight. HBO won't buy that, Showtime won't buy that, I doubt even Vs. or ESPN2 would want to pick up the tab. It's a clear "here's one for the fans" bout and has no bearing on his legacy or anything of that sort. There is no drama, no intrigue. It's just Ricky Hatton coming back in an easily winnable fight against a veteran that poses him no real threat. Even though Ricky isn't too hot at 147 pounds, Forbes similarly has no business fighting at welterweight, so it's just two blown up guys fighting for the paycheck and so Ricky can tip his cap to the Manchester fans. And there's really nothing wrong with that, it's just not an important fight. It's also sort of Oscar-ish now, this bit with Hatton. Lose to better fighter, take one against mid-tier guy. He did it after Mayweather with Lazcano, and he'd be doing it again with Forbes after Pacquiao. Outside of going out with a near-guaranteed win against a respectable but harmless foe, there's nothing to that fight.
Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian says pretty much the same thing, and I bet this'll be the feeling around boxing: "Forbes has no merit as an opponent, apart from padding out Ricky's career. A win over someone who has lost four times in his last six outings will tell him nothing about his future and do little for his standing in the business."
He's got that right.
I don't know that Ricky Hatton should continue fighting. That's not for me to say. If I'm going with my gut, just having watched him fight, I'd say there's no reason to go on. He's broken down physically, not the fighter he was at his peak, and will lose against guys who can punch. Beating the Paulie Malignaggis and Steve Forbeses of the world should still be attainable, but what does that really mean? He'll still be in there, getting hit in the head, and it's not like that's ever going to be fun or helpful for him down the line.
The other big rumor that had been going around (perhaps more wishful thinking from UK fans than anything) was Amir Khan, should Khan get past Andriy Kotelnik, should that fight actually happen. Freddie Roach now trains Khan and says he'd do it, and Freddie knows Amir's chin problems. Roach is also not a guy that bets wildly, so he sees something again. He has to believe Hatton is fully worn out, just shot to hell. Khan's speed, height, reach and power could make for a short night for Hatton, which would be gutting for his supporters, and probably not do Khan any favors in the long run. I've compared that idea to Oscar de la Hoya twice picking the bones of Julio Cesar Chavez to win the love of Mexican fans, and I stand by the comparison. It's just transparent.