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Hatton To Fight Malignaggi In November, Denies Rumor Of Pacquiao Bout

hatton33335.jpgBy Eric Thomas: As much as boxing fans and writers alike would like to see light welterweight Ricky Hatton (44-1, 31 KOs) face pound-for-pound boxing great Manny Pacquiao (46-3-2, 35 KOs) in November, that idea was quashed yesterday when Hatton came out and said that he won’t be fighting Pacquiao in November, and had never said that he was going to be fighting him. Instead, Hatton will carry as usual with his plans to challenge IBF light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi for his title in November, a bout that has so far has done little to interest most boxing fans.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, there was a report from the Manilla Bulletin, which stated that Malignaggi would be paid by the Hatton camp to step aside temporarily, and let Hatton take what will likely be the more appealing bout against Pacquiao in November. However, Hatton’s lawyer shot that idea down quickly yesterday, saying in effect that Hatton is under contract for a bout against Malignaggi in November and won’t be veering from that course to fight Pacquiao.

Hatton, 29, is coming off a string of disappointing performances, which includes a 10th round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December and his most recent bout against Juan Lazcano, who hurt Hatton on a couple of occasions in their May 24th bout. Hatton recently had a chance at facing Oscar De La Hoya for a fight in September, but turned it down to fight Malignaggi for a fight that will bring in much less money than what he would have received for a fight with De La Hoya. Hatton, however, is interested in the IBF light welterweight title and wanted to get the belt.

It’s interesting to note that Hatton didn’t show interest in challenging Timothy Bradley, the WBC light welterweight champion, or Ricardo Torres, the WBO champion, both of which are far more dangerous than the light-hitting Malignaggi, who has won two fights in succession with controversial decisions over Herman Ngoudjo and Lovemore N’dou. From many accounts Malignaggi – the fighter with much more fan appeal in the U.S. – lost both fights and was given a gift decision. Whatever the case, he didn’t come close to looking good in either bout and didn’t exactly perform like a champion as he was forced to scrap by with close decisions. However, he still remains popular in the U.S., though mostly on the East coast where he comes from.

Pacquiao, 29, will be facing WBC lightweight champion David Diaz next week on June 28th for his lightweight title. Pacquiao is moving up in weight to challenge for the title. Like Hatton, Pacquiao’s move is a curious one, as the Diaz fight appears much less an attractive fight than a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez, who Pacquiao just recently defeated by a questionable 12-round split decision in March.

Many boxing fans, and this writer included, thought that Marquez actually won the fight. However, instead of taking him on in a fight that would no doubt be much more appealing than a fight against Diaz, Pacquiao has chosen to move ahead and go for his WBC lightweight title. If Pacquiao is successful in winning the title, it opens up options for Pacquiao to face tough lightweights like Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell and Michael Katsidis, all which would be more than willing to fight Pacquiao. It’s doubtful, however, that Hatton will fight any of them. Instead, he’ll likely quickly move ahead for a fight against Hatton in 2009.

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