Boxing: Hatton risking the wrath of Warren

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The Independent Online

Hatton fought 39 times without defeat for Warren and made a total of 16 defences of his World Boxing Union light-welterweight title but the pair started to squabble last year and the split 10 days ago was inevitable given the nature of the boxing business.

On 26 November, Hatton will fight for promoter Dennis Hobson at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield in a unification fight against Colombia's World Boxing Association champion Carlos Maussa. The fight will be screened live on Sky and possibly on a delayed basis in the United States.

Warren, meanwhile, had anticipated yesterday's announcement and prepared an offer to Hatton of £2.5m for a fight against the current welterweight champion Zab Judah, who is one of the world's best fighters. However, Hatton will clear £2m for the Maussa fight which, it has to be said, is a far easier test and that partly explains why there is no American television deal in place for the fight, which will take place in Sheffield.

So with Hatton already back in Billy Graham's gym dropping weight for Maussa and Warren consulting his lawyers it looks like being a lively end to the year for the British boxing business which has been in the doldrums for much of 2005.

"You cannot say 'never' in this game when it comes to fighting for Warren again but it would be a difficult situation for me," Hatton said. "First of all if Warren has an agreement, a contract, why not show it to everybody to silence me?"

Ironically, Hatton's victory against Kostya Tszyu for the International Boxing Federation light-welterweight title back in June was both the best night of the year and the crowning glory of the Warren and Hatton relationship. That glorious evening at the start of the summer now seems like something that happened on another planet.