Oscar De La Hoya Hopes To Set Up Fight With Ricky Hatton For 2008

04.12.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Despite the fact that the majority of boxing scribes, myself included, and the betting public are predicting a Floyd Mayweather victory over Ricky Hatton on December 8th, many fighters have weighed in on the latest big match up and are leaning towards the challenger. I should clarify that I think Ricky will make this bout a much more competitive struggle than I initially felt when the bout was first announced and a Hatton victory wouldn’t shock me. One of those fighters who have pegged Hatton to win is Oscar De La Hoya..

The “Golden Boy’s” assessment aside, it should be noted that not only is he Hatton’s promoter he is actively looking for a noteworthy opponent for 2008. Although a rematch of his May 5th bout against Mayweather is not entirely out of the question it is not nearly as appetizing from a marketing standpoint as a fight with “Hit Man” Hatton. Oscar has also stated that he would like for his next bout to be held in an outdoor stadium, possibly Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. A venue like that would placate the thousands of Hatton fans who have invaded Las Vegas for Hatton’s fight on Saturday night sans tickets. It’s become a source of contention not only for Hatton fans but boxing fans in general that tickets for main events like this are nearly impossible to come by. The majority of them are giving out to the casinos, high rollers, sponsors and ticket brokers. Hatton was granted about 3,300 tickets but he has more than 10,000 screaming countryman in Vegas right now. Mayweather was given just about the same. The MGM Grand only holds about 16,000 people. On top of that tickets that were made available to the public on the MGM Grand website ran from about $1000 to $13,000. Oscar, now more promoter than fighter, is aware of the discrepancy and knows that a huge outdoor stadium will allow his rabid fan base and an attractive opponent’s fan base to actually see the fight live in person. And with more people gobbling up tickets the monetary gain would exceed that of a Casino fight.

Which leads us back to a possible fight against Hatton. Now, indications are that De La Hoya would gladly change venues from California to Wembley Stadium in England. The giant stadium can seat 80,000 people and would become an event not seen since the days fights were held at Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds. Well, at least on American soil. In Europe bouts such as the recent Joe Calzaghe – Mikkel Kessler super middleweight unification match held at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales was witness to upwards of 50,000 spectators.

“The chances are very strong,” said Gareth Williams, Hatton’s lawyer, as reported by BBC Sport. “We have strong links with Golden Boy (Promotions) and Oscar De La Hoya and we have had discussions with them about fighting Oscar in London at Wembley. It would be the perfect venue and it is widely anticipated we would sell over 80,000 tickets. If you look at what Oscar’s achieved in his career and he has done everything bar fighting in Britain and holding the record live gate. Being realistic, he’s not going to achieve that in the United States and he could achieve it if he fought in the UK against Ricky Hatton.”

It may seem a bit odd that news of this potential mega-bout are surfacing just at the moment Mayweather is set to defend his title against Hatton but that is both the businessman in De La Hoya and the ego driven superstar who craves attention. It’s almost akin to New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s agent Scott Boras announcing, mid-game during the World Series, that his client would (at the time) be seeking free agency. It reeks of bad taste but whether he would like to admit it or not Oscar already has the snake oil salesmanship of a Don King or a Bob Arum oozing out of him.

Williams went on to add that the proposed fight would take place regardless of what happens on Saturday night. Oscar has yet to comment as he has a final press conference to attend tomorrow hyping Hatton – Mayweather.

Article posted on 05.12.2007

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