Ricky Hatton is expected to officially announce a return to boxing tomorrow, for a fight taking place on November 24 in Manchester, and Hall of Fame fighter and current boxing analyst and commentator Barry McGuigan says he's in support of the decision, which has drawn some skepticism.
"It is not ridiculous. There's every chance we'll see 90% of the Ricky Hatton we saw a few years back and that will be good enough to beat someone like Paulie Malignaggi."
Surely this quote will raise Malignaggi's eyebrows at least. The Brooklyn fighter, currently holding the WBA welterweight title, has expressed great desire to face Hatton again should he return to the sport. Hatton would first take at least one tune-up, and then possibly face Malignaggi in a money fight in 2013. The two fought in 2008, with Hatton dominating Malignaggi in Las Vegas.
But McGuigan isn't ignoring the chance that Hatton, whose body has been through a lot more outside the ring than in it, perhaps, just won't be himself anymore:
"Will Ricky have the same body punching ability, the same relentless aggression? Or will he be a different fighter? Ricky is a lovely, lovely man and he's been great for British boxing so it would be devastating for him and British boxing if he came back and was a pale comparison of his former years. But I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think he'd come back if he didn't think he could be almost as good as he used to be."
Hatton (45-2, 32 KO) has not fought since a 2009 knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao. Malignaggi will defend his title on October 20 in Brooklyn, facing Pablo Cesar Cano on Showtime.