Erik Morales returns to the ring on July 30 via HBO pay-per-view, and rumors have flown around who he could face. Juan Manuel Marquez (seems unlikely), a rematch with Marcos Maidana, Robert Guerrero, and even Ricky Hatton have come up as names. BoxingScene.com reports that the "other" Hatton brother, Matthew, is now in the race, too.
Morales' father Jose talked about possibilities:
"Maidana and David Diaz have prevented Erik from winning his fourth world title in a fourth weight division. We would want a rematch (with Maidana) in July but Oscar de la Hoya would be happy to put him in with Matthew Hatton."
Morales, in his quest for a fourth weight class belt, lost close to David Diaz in August 2007, left the sport for about three years, and on April 9 lost a close fight to Maidana, which I guess qualified as it was for one of the interim belts, which probably wouldn't count to anyone but Morales, but then that's a story for another time.
Matthew Hatton (41-5-2, 16 KO) lost an admirable decision to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on March 5, fighting up a few pounds from his normal welterweight limit. Though Hatton was blown out by Alvarez on the scorecards, he proved his durability and ability to make an entertaining fight, even in defeat. He also likely proved that he's not a viable threat to a top fighter, which is also a story for another time.
I think Morales-Matthew Hatton would be quite a tough sell to a U.S. audience, who see Matthew as an inferior "little brother" with a famous last name, which to be fair isn't far from the truth, just a harsh way to put it. Matthew is a capable fighter who works hard and has maxed the ability he does have, but he's a lot less than a star. Given that Maidana-Morales sold horribly, it would be tough to get $50 out of a paying audience for Morales-Matthew, wouldn't you think? Even though Morales gave the impression that he was not as washed-up as advertised, Matthew has zero drawing power in the States.
The July 30 show will be in Las Vegas, too, says Jose, instead of Mexico where Morales wanted to fight. This isn't much of a surprise. Very, very few major U.S. TV broadcasts come from Mexico.