Forget Khan and Froch, here come the Hattons
By Shaun Campbell: Now that the curtain has been pulled down over a sensational year for boxing in 2009, attention now turns to possible fights within the coming year. In 2009 Britain crowned new world champions, but unfortunately lost one as well. Amir Khan realized his potential by winning the World Boxing Association light-welterweight crown in a 12 round battle with Andreas Kotelnik. David Haye took on a massive task in challenging the biggest heavyweight champion in history.
Haye traveled to Germany to take on Nikolai Valuev for the WBA heavyweight title, and although the fight wasn’t exactly filled with exciting moments, the heavyweight division did gain a new exciting champion. Carl Froch entered the super 6 tournament where he defeated both Jermain Taylor, and Andre Dirrell, while looking somewhat disappointing. For some fans in Britain, he has made his name slagging off Joe Calzaghe, which earned him a shot at Joe’s old belt. But never the less, he is the champion.
Whether 2010 will finally be the year where Amir Khan goes to take America by storm, who knows. There’s no doubt he wants it, but looking at the quality of his last opponent Dmitry Salita, one can only hope that he doesn’t become a protected fighter that Frank Warren is trying to keep him. Warren has a history of that. Joe Calzaghe finally broke away from Warren to get the big fights, Ricky Hatton became a hit in the States when he left Warren, but we can only hope Khan gets given opposition that will test his chin, and his championship credential. Froch on the other hand will be facing Mikkel Kessler, who himself is looking to regain a title. If Froch cannot overcome this hurdle, he can no longer claim his is “better” than Calzaghe.
Now the title of this article could be seen that I am telling you to ignore the great talent in Amir Khan and WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch, but that is not the case. Yes these two are champions in their own right, but they cannot command the popular following of future hall of fame fighter Ricky “Hitman” Hatton. With rumors of a comeback seemingly cemented in place with those around Hatton, it looks like he’ll be returning to the ring in the summer before the football world cup. Sadly for Hatton, the dream of becoming pound for pound king was killed at the hands of the sensational Manny Pacquiao. While he has been taking a break, the boxing world has continued moving forward and developing, making a comeback both easy and difficult. Easy because there is no shortage of opponents after him, but at 31 is the Hitman still able to pull the trigger?
Britain will never have another fighter like Hatton. There are no American fighters that could have taken 35,000 of their fans half way around the world (after disgracefully only being given 3000 tickets to the actual fight). Not even Oscar De La Hoya could do that. For that reason Ricky Hatton is a legend. However, rumors of a comeback have made those that care about him, including this writer, feel uneasy. His former trainer and friend Billy Graham has said Hatton needs to take a leaf out of Calzaghe’s book and stay retired. He also said that he doesn’t think Ricky wants to fight on, but it is those around the Hitman that want him to continue.
This was a little worrying as it reminded many of Muhammad Ali saying he would quit after facing Joe Frazier in the Thriller in Manila, then to be convinced by his team that he should carry on. Whatever Hatton decides to do, though, he will have the famous following of us beloved Brits. It seems most likely that a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez will be the offer that tempts Ricky to get back in the gym. However other fighters such as Katsidis, Malignaggi, and even Amir Khan are all possible match-ups that could happen. Hatton probably will just have this last fight, then win lose or draw, call it quits.
2010 may also prove to be a massive year for Matthew Hatton. For so long he was labeled as Ricky’s younger brother, but recently he proved he can mix it, and hold his own against world champions. It looks certain he will get a rematch with IBO champion Lovemore N’dou, possibly in South Africa or Australia. Should he win that there has been talk of a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather. Now this is not the fight the boxing world wants to see, as Matthew Hatton isn’t Manny Pacquiao, but no one could possibly criticize Matthew for taking this fight should it be offered to him. Magic Matthew Hatton has finally broken out of his brother’s shadow, and hopefully it can be a big year for both the Hatton’s.
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