'Cherry On Top': Hungry Hatton Gobbles Malignaggi Up, But Who's Next?
By Vivek Wallace: Well, the 140 lb landscape has suddenly become a bit more legible. Paving the way for that movement was the effort of British phenom Ricky Hatton who stormed the MGM Grand last Saturday night, devouring Brooklynite Paulie Malignaggi in the process. Leading up to the fight many - (yeah, myself included) - openly pondered whether or not the 'Hitman' could regain his form with Papa Mayweather in the corner and to the delight of many, he did that and then some.
Article posted on 25.11.2008
Now that the smoke has cleared and the picture is a bit more transparent, we take a brief glimpse into the proverbial crystal ball to see what the future may hold for the 'Rickster'.
Option 1 - The Bradley Effect: With Ricky Hatton showing the great discipline he displayed against Malignaggi, one can only wonder how great it would be to see a fighter with his style tango with Mr. Desert Storm, Timothy Bradley. For Bradley, this is a very welcomed fight that he's already gone on record as openly stating that he would love to entertain.. Hatton showed great improvement after only one fight with Mayweather, and would be utterly ludicrous to part ways with him after such an invigorating victory. The positive benefit of Mayweather in the corner of Hatton seemed to manifest more so from the standpoint of Hatton controlling his aggression. The classic "know-when-to-hold-'em-and-when-to-fold-'em" agenda. That was all well and good against a fighter who only used one hand and wasn't too powerful with that one. Trouble is, Bradley punches much harder than Malignaggi and is totally deft at using both hands, quite powerfully might I add. Hatton's style would make for a great fight against Bradley, but will his promoters milk him for a few more mega-paydays before they dangle him over the lions den? It'll be interesting to find out the answer to this one.
Option 2 - The Za-Judah Triangle: Ok, ok, I know someone out there isn't quite feeling this one, but truth is, Zab Judah is lurking behind the scenes and despite his often tough luck, the guy has never met a challenge he didn't like! Zab's southpaw stance, swift delivery, and to be honest, pretty decent skillset would make for another intriguing affair. Zab is probably the closest thing to Mayweather that Hatton could square off against, so considering that Hatton feels he can lure Mayweather back out of retirement, this may be his tune up of choice. I fall in that silent majority that actually thinks this would be a helluva fight. People are quick to judge Zab for his losses, but quiet as it's kept, Judah never belonged above the 140 lb weight limit anyhow. This would be a great fight for both men. How Floyd Sr. prepares Hatton for those sneaky uppercuts and keeps him from letting Zabs yappin' throw him out of his game plan would be a huge test in and of itself. This is another interesting one to keep an eye one.
Option 3 - Goldie-Rocks!!!: Yeah, you guessed it....Oscar De La Hoya plays a role in this whole scenario as well. Hatton and Oscar have a promotional deal in place so how do you think this could not happen? My money says a blind man can see this one coming a mile away. An Oscar victory over Pacquiao, even if questionable and ugly, will seal this deal. Hell, with an Oscar victory, this one will be signed and all before he leaves the locker room after facing Manny, if you wanna know the truth! Trouble is, this fight would be a joke in my mind. I'm in that group that had to SERIOUSLY warm up to the notion of Oscar facing Manny, but Hatton? Are you serious? We all know that if it makes dollars it makes sense, but that's just not right so I probably wouldn't care who's left....Most would simply rather see another fight if it came down to it! This fight would be another mockery of the sport in my mind. There are far too many worthy opponents for Oscar to even consider taking a stab at this one. Try filling up a stadium in Mexico against Margarito. Or Puerto Rico against Cotto. Not the U.K. against another mini-opponent. Who next, 106 lb Ivan Calderon?
Option 4 - The Hat-Pac: Of all the possibilities, this is the one - aside from Bradley - that I'd probably like to see most. Years ago I was laughed at for saying I'd love to see these two square off. Well, we know I'm not always right, but it's funny how the few times I am, I always seem to do it alone! (Ok, my shot at redemption there didn't seem to work, but anyhow). This fight is closer to happening than many people think, and a win for Manny against Oscar would make this a global fight of epic proportions. Hell, even a loss against Oscar and I think this is still the safest, most entertaining fight that either man could make. Probably more money too. I think the style of both men would set the stage for a classic affair, equipped with a potential rematch, and if we're lucky, even a trilogy. And besides, Oscar won't be too mad. With his promotional deal in place with Hatton, he'll be promoting this one too, so he'll win regardless.
At the end of the day, any of these fights can be made and it'll be very interesting to see where this whole debate stands when the new year rings in. Kendall Holt remains another interesting figure to put in the mix, but he's in that 'Winky-Margarito' mode right now. Meaning he's probably more risk than reward, so he wouldn't get the nod if he paid for it himself. Anyhow, I just dropped four options for Hatton to choose from. I have my thoughts, now what are yours?
(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).
previous article: Naseem Hamed Praises Kell Brook, Calls The British Welterweight Champ Sheffield's Most Exciting Fighter!
next article: De La Hoya-Hatton Could Be On Next Summer, But Who Will Mayweather Snr Train? - "Whoever Pays The Most."