News May 2019

21.12.07 Hatton to face Witter in UK ?

Hatton may bite the Witter bullet and cash in

Mark Staniforth
Thursday December 20, 2007
The Guardian

Ricky Hatton's long-time nemesis Junior Witter has offered the Manchester boxer a major financial incentive to fight him next summer.

Hatton is hunting for a suitable opponent for a projected homecoming in the city in May as he attempts to kick-start his 140lb career after failing to dethrone Floyd Mayweather.

As the current holder of the most prestigious of the light-welterweight belts, the WBC champion Witter would appear to fit the bill perfectly for Hatton - guaranteeing a large gate and a possible stadium venue. But Hatton has always been reluctant to grant a fighter he clearly dislikes the biggest pay-day of his career, and potential issues over the size of the respective purses have stalled the contest.

As champion, Witter would normally expect the bigger cut but his promoter, Mick Hennessy, yesterday indicated for the first time he would be happy for the more popular Hatton to receive the "lion's share".

Hennessy said: "It's never been about the money with Junior and we could make this fight in a flash. All Junior wants is the opportunity to prove that he is the best light-welterweight in the world. If Ricky can continue to bring the same level of profile and support, we won't be greedy and we would be happy for him to take the lion's share of the purse."

Hatton's refusal to contemplate a fight with Witter so far is a source of frustration in boxing circles given the qualities the improving Bradford man now offers.

Witter clattered the former champion Vivian Harris to the canvas in round seven in Doncaster last September, suggesting he has what it takes to trouble Hatton. His one drawback is his lack of pulling power but that would hardly be an issue for an all-British fight at a stadium.

Hatton's advisers remain reluctant. The promoters Golden Boy would like him to stay in the United States and go straight into another big fight, possibly against the lightweight champion Juan Diaz.

Another name mooted is the IBF champion Paulie Malignaggi but, though hugely popular in his native New York, his name would gain nowhere near the recognition of Witter on this side of the Atlantic.

Hatton's father Ray has said a Witter fight could happen "down the line" but his lawyer Gareth Williams said personal reasons remained a sticking point.

Williams said: "Ricky feels Junior has been trying to piggy-back on his success and that he's never given him the respect he deserves. Ricky resents the thought of giving Witter his biggest pay-day. Ricky took thousands of fans to see him fight in Las Vegas while Junior Witter had his last fight in front of two men and a dog in a phone box in Doncaster."

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