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Hatton vs. Pacquiao For November, Malignaggi To Step Aside?

hatton33353535.jpgBy Eric Thomas: In the latest boxing news, there is talk of former light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton facing Manny Pacquiao in November in Las Vegas. According to the Manilla Bulletin website, Top Rank’s promoter Bob Arum is talks with Bob Schaefer of Golden Boy about the possibility of a November fight between Hatton and Pacquiao. Of course, for this to happen it would mean that Paulie Malignaggi, the IBF light welterweight champion and the one that Hatton is scheduled to fight in November for his title, would have to agree to step aside and let the Hatton-Pacquiao take place.

Even if Malignaggi would agree on such a thing, which is still debatable, it would likely take a substantial feel for him to do such a thing. After all, Hatton, who hasn’t looked good in quite some time with a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a poor showing in his most recent bout against Juan Lazcano, might very well lose to Pacquiao if they were to actually fight. That would leave Malignaggi with a greatly diminished bout since boxing fans would probably have less interest in seeing Hatton face Malignaggi if he were to lose to Pacquiao, and the cry would likely be for an immediate rematch between Hatton and Pacquiao, thus further causing Malignaggi to even more.

In theory, by the time that Malignaggi ends of facing Hatton, Ricky could very well have two more losses on his record, making him much less of an attraction than he would have been otherwise for Malignaggi.

Before Hatton can face Pacquiao in November, which still remains doubtful at best, Pacquiao much first defeat WBC lightweight champion David Diaz, whom he faces on June 28th. As much as boxing fans haven’t been giving Diaz much of a chance at beating Pacquiao, he may very well do that and ruining any possibility of a bout between Hatton and Pacquiao in November. Pacquiao looked poor at times in his recent March 15th bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, a fight which Pacquiao won by a split decision, and by most accounts, Pacquiao appeared to have lost the fight.

Now, instead of finishing his business with Marquez, Pacquiao is moving up in weight to take on what very well could be an even tougher fight against an even bigger, stronger fighter than Marquez. Perhaps Pacquiao may very well win, but he might not get through the fight in one piece and take considerable punishment in the process. It’s doubtful that he would sustain any injuries that would put off a potential November bout with Hatton, for there would seem to be more than enough time for Pacquiao to lick his wounds and make it into a bout with Hatton at that far distant date.

However, if the fight turns into a grueling bout, somewhat like Pacquiao’s tough give and take war with Marquez in March, we could be seeing a more worn out Pacquiao. At his age, 29, he’s at the stage of his career when things start wearing out and this could be a problem for him if he does eventually sign up for a bout with Hatton.

In Hatton’s case, an argument can be made that he hasn’t looked good since beating Carlos Maussa in November 2005, and has been on a downward spiral since that time. He’s still done well, winning all of his fights save for the bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December 2007, and he has not looked all that impressive for the most part along the way.

There are many people who still consider Hatton to be the number #1 light welterweight in boxing, but that seems to be less and less a case now that newly crowned WBC light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley has emerged as the top guy in the WBC.

Recently, Hatton did an unheard of thing, turning down a bout with Oscar De La Hoya, who needed an opponent badly to step in for an open September date which had opened up suddenly when Mayweather Jr. – De La Hoya’s opponent in September – announced his retirement. Instead of taking the bout with De La Hoya, which would have given Hatton a tremendous payday, he instead opted for the much lower paying fight against Malignaggi.

Some people thought that Hatton wasn’t thinking clearly, but it appears that Hatton knows just what he was doing. The fight fight against De La Hoya, a fighter much bigger than him, would have likely have been a bout that Hatton would have lost, making it two losses out of his last three fights for him. That would be a hard thing for many people in the boxing community to swallow, I imagine, even with some of Hatton’s biggest fans. For that reason, the Malignaggi fight, even though not particularly interesting to most fans, would seem like the better option. At least Hatton could go on winning for a little while longer and prolong another beating.

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