News December 2007

04.12.07 Hatton to fight Oscar next... ?

Ricky Hatton's reward for shattering the unbeaten record of Floyd Mayweather will be the title of the best fighter on the planet - and a triumphant Wembley homecoming against Oscar De La Hoya.

Hatton's lawyer Gareth Williams has confirmed that talks are already at an advanced stage for the super-fight which would be expected to shatter box-office records at the new national stadium next May.

The news will provide another massive incentive for Hatton, who is desperate to fight back in Britain as a reward to thousands of supporters who have once again followed him across the Atlantic.

Williams said: "The chances are very strong. We have strong links with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy (Promotions) and we have had discussions with them about fighting Oscar at Wembley.

"It would be the perfect venue and we could look at selling in excess of 80,000 tickets. Oscar has achieved everything in boxing bar recording the record live gate - and he could achieve that if he fought in the UK against Ricky."

A projected fight with De La Hoya will take place irrespective of Hatton's success or otherwise against Mayweather, and take place at a time to suit both the British fans and the American pay-per-view giants.

Williams added: "It wouldn't be a 3am fight. We'd looking to do it possibly on a Sunday evening. Americans have a tradition of watching sport on Sunday afternoons so it would be ideal that way."

However, one problem could be stadium availability with several high-profile football matches due to take place at Wembley in May.

De La Hoya has long spoken of his admiration for Hatton's fighting style and has been a regular in the Hitman's off-Strip gym this week to help him put finishing touches to his game-plan for Mayweather.

Having dropped a narrow split decision to Mayweather earlier this year, there could hardly be anyone better than the experienced De La Hoya to present Hatton with a blueprint for victory.

Hatton has studied tapes of De La Hoya's performance and is utterly confident that he possesses the necessary extra dimensions to succeed where the 'Golden Boy' only just failed.

Hatton said: "It seems funny me criticising him, but if you look at De La Hoya he is a tactician and a combination puncher. Mayweather wants you to throw combinations so you miss a lot and get tired.

"Oscar has told me that he believes he would have won the fight if he could have done in the last six rounds what he did in the first six. He watched me train on Monday and believes I can do that."

Hatton held court with the British media at his rented house in the Las Vegas suburbs on Monday evening and bristled with confidence.

Part of Hatton's remarkable self-belief stems from the suggestion that Mayweather is taking him lightly, as perhaps underlined by the American's choice of the one-dimensional former opponent Carlos Baldomir as his sparring partner.

Hatton added: "I was delighted when I saw he was sparring Baldomir. I get the impression that they view me as a strong, come-forward fighter who comes in straight lines. They don't feel I am as good as I am.

"Baldomir and Lovemore N'Dou are the two worst sparring partners he could have picked, in my opinion. They are slow, ponderous, plod forward and don't change angles or have the volume and variation of punches I have.

"I don't know if it's ego that he feels he only has to turn up. I couldn't care less about any lack of respect that might imply.

"I don't look at who he's beaten, or how many titles he's won, or who he beat in his last fight. I pick him apart bit by bit and think, 'can I beat him?' And the answer is, 'definitely'.

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