Boxing


Witter offers Hatton winner takes all!

16.01.07 - Junior Witter believes long-term rival Ricky Hatton is a ‘coward’ and a ‘bully’ who is ‘hiding behind smokescreens’ and has called for him to settle their long running feud in a massive winner takes all showdown for the sake of the British public. The two are fighting on the same Sky Sports Pay Per View Event this Saturday night, but on different promotions.

Witter headlines a Hennessy Sports show at the Alexandra Palace in the ‘First Defence’ of his WBC Championship against Mexico’s Arturo Morua before coverage switches to Vegas, where Hatton takes on Juan Urango for his old IBF title. The biggest hope within British Boxing, however, is that the two will actually share the same ring. The desire to see what could be the biggest fight the country has ever seen grows every day, apart from it seems within Team Hatton.

Between them ‘The Hitman,’ his trainer Billy Graham and his latest promoter Dennis Hobson have claimed that there wouldn’t be enough money in the fight, that HBO aren’t interested in Witter and that they don’t want to give the Bradford man a pay-day. Witter has treated the comments with the contempt they deserve..

“I just see it as excuse after excuse,” said the 32-year-old. “I think Hatton and his team are hiding behind smokescreens. I don’t think they believed I would have the opportunities to get through to where I am now and put him in this position, but thanks to Mick Hennessy I have.

“Hatton is by no means the only fight out there for me. As WBC champion I have plenty of options in front of me. If I don’t get to fight Hatton it’s not a problem. I will go on and secure my own legacy, but I think he’s acting like a coward and it’s annoying me.

“I don’t believe he’s being a man and admitting the real reason he won’t fight me. Every time I bump into him I can see in his eyes that he’s scared. I saw him at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and I could see the fear. He doesn’t want me near him. It must be killing him inside that I’m WBC champion.

“I think he is scared to do anything about it. I think he’s a bully and likes to pick his targets and he doesn’t want to pick me. Most people have been taken in by his win over Kostya Tszyu, but he had been inactive. He’d fought three rounds in 18 months and I was getting reports that he was getting beaten up in sparring beforehand. Unless you are Ray Leonard, you can’t be inactive at this level and get away with it.

“Look at his two opponents since. I understand he had the opportunity to fight both Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, but instead he chose to fight Carlos Maussa and Luis Collazo. I reckon he thought they would both be easy fights and it was convenient that he could hide behind the matches because they had titles.

“Now he’s fighting Urango. He’s tough, he’s game, be he’s also a 18-fight novice. Now tell me he’s not a bully. When you have the sort of financial clout he has with Sky Box Office and HBO you have the opportunity to fight the very top fighters. I feel sure Cotto and Mayweather wouldn’t have moved up if he would have fought them. I see Cotto now has his old title at welterweight. Why couldn’t that fight have been made?

“He has no right criticising my opposition. I have beaten dangerous fighters like Lovemore N’Dou - who offered to fight Hatton on many occasions - and DeMarcus Corley, I held my own as a novice against a peak Zab Judah and I have been prepared to take on anyone in the division. It’s not my fault if no one wants to fight me, including Hatton. I chased Floyd Mayweather. I fought to become his mandatory for the WBC title and wanted a fight to happen, but instead he chose to move up a division. I was devastated because I want to fight the best.

“But Hatton has moved back into the division, so now he and his team are having to give reasons not to fight me. None of them wash. He says I am off his radar and that I have nothing he needs. I am the WBC champion. I seem to remember him saying a while back that the WBC title was something he wanted and that if I won it a fight could happen. Has something changed? And what about the opportunity to prove yourself in the fight everyone wants to see? The fight is certainly on everybody else’s radar.

“He has always said I am just trying to make publicity off of his back. What he needs to realise is that is not why I have called him out in the past on so many occasions. I have called him out because he has always been my closest rival and I know I can knock him out. He is going round claiming his is the best light welterweight in the world. He is not even the best light welterweight in Britain.

“Aside from the chance to win a WBC title, the fight would also give him a massive payday. Apart from someone like Oscar de la Hoya, which is never going to happen, this is the biggest money fight out there for him despite what has been said. The Sky Box Office could potentially do a record PPV, there would be a 40,000 plus gate and I’m sure HBO would be as interested as they are in the Urango fight. There would be no problems with satisfying his purse demands. The money is a red herring.

“As is the talk from Hatton and Dennis Hobson about HBO not being interested in me. If that’s the case, why did they ask me to headline a show last November? Unfortunately I couldn’t take the fight because I had been out of the gym a while and had a few niggling injuries, but there are talks going on for me to box on HBO later this year. Obviously me against Hatton has no American interest, but If anyone thinks that HBO are more interested in fights like Hatton-Urango and Hatton-Maussa then they need their heads testing.

“Then there’s the old chestnut that he doesn’t want to give me a payday. Hiding behind a personal issue shouldn’t be a reason for denying everyone an historic all-British world title unification showdown, but here’s a solution that he can appreciate being in the gambling capital of the world today.

“Hatton and his trainer Billy Graham tell anyone who will listen that he will beat me easily. Graham even said he would ‘kill’ me. So how about this: winner takes all.

“If you and your trainer are that confident you will beat me, then pay me nothing. Give me a good hiding. That can be the ultimate way you can deal with me. I’m not in it for the money. I believe in myself and this gives you the chance to earn a huge amount of money.

“Otherwise just be honest and admit why you don’t want the fight that the public deserve on prime time Saturday TV. Admit what I suspect: this is all about money and I’m too dangerous a fight. I think you know I will knock you out.”


###

Hennessy Sports Proudly Present
First Defence
@ Alexandra Palace
Saturday 20th January

Tickets priced £40, £80 and £200 on 0870 060 1795.

12 x 3 WBC Light Welterweight Championship
Junior Witter vs. Arturo Morua
(Bradford) (Mexico)

12 x 3 British Light Welterweight Championship
Lenny Daws vs. Barry Morrison
(Morden) (Motherwell)

10 x 3 British Light Welterweight Championship Eliminator
Alan Bosworth vs. Ashley Theophane
(Northampton) (Paddington)

8 x 3 Lightweight
John Murray vs. Ben Odamattey
(Manchester) (Ghana)

8 x 3 Cruiserweight
Troy Ross vs. Hastings Rasani
(Toronto) (Birmingham)

6 x 3 Super Bantamweight
Esham Pickering vs. Frederic Gosset
(Newark) (France)

6 x 3 Middleweight
Matthew Thirlwall vs. TBA
(Bermondsey) ()

6 x 3 Light Middleweight
George Hillyard vs. Tony Rendall
(Canning Town) (Birmingham)

For more information please visit www.HennessySports.com.

Article posted on 17.01.2007



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