'Hitman' to map out route back to the elite

Ricky Hatton against Oscar De La Hoya at Wembley Stadium next summer was just one fight that was over before the contract was drawn here on Saturday night and it was probably dropped in the opening few rounds.

So Hatton will need to win again and then win again to rejoin the elite of the sport and it is an elite group that, thanks to his two other fights in Las Vegas this year, he was very much a member of. Hatton will fight on and endorsements for his continuation in the fight business started with his mother, Carol, and ended with Floyd Mayweather, the man whose brain and fists ruined him.

"There are still a lot of big fights out there for Ricky Hatton," De La Hoya said. "He has established himself as a major player in boxing in the USA and he will be back."

However, his own planned fight with "the Hitman" is for the moment a non-starter. Billy Graham, Hatton's trainer for the last 12 years, echoed De La Hoya's claim but insisted that his days of fighting at welterweight were over.

"He's a man in his physical prime and if I thought he was slipping in any way I would tell him to retire. He will fight on but it will be at light-welterweight and I don't care how much money there is at welterweight," Graham said.

Hatton will take a break from the gym and relax before looking at the options but there will most definitely not be a shortage of offers. It is always the same when an unbeaten fighter loses and suddenly every promoter thinks his fighter can be the next to inflict a loss.

"Ricky will move back down to 140 pounds [light-welterweight] because there are fights there that have been talked about. He will remain popular because he lost like a champion in the ring," said Richard Schaeffer, who with De La Hoya runs Golden Boy Promotions.

Mayweather claimed he was bored with boxing and would go back into his retirement until the right offer arrived on his desk.

"Ricky will be a champion again. Me? I'm going to wait until another fight comes along that will bust the bank. That's the truth in this business," said Mayweather.

One option for Hatton is a long overdue domestic fight with Bradford's Junior Witter, the current World Boxing Council light-welterweight champion, who has been goading and chasing Hatton for five years. There would probably be a huge dispute over cash with Witter demanding a 50-50 split and Hatton, assuming his people promote it, rejecting the notion.

There is also a chance of a fight with New York's Paulie Malignaggi, the International Boxing Federation champion, and the possibility that having fought three times in Las Vegas, a move to America's other coast and a fight at Madison Square Garden would help with Hatton's appeal. It is also a fight the men at HBO would be likely to fancy providing Hatton gets a win first.

But long before there are any big adventures on the American market there will be a fight back in Britain. It will be Hatton's first since November 2005 and it will get the boxer back into his winning mindset and in some small way thank the fans who have followed him on his unique tour of Las Vegas this year.

But Hatton will stay a little longer in Las Vegas to take care of business and there is a night in the company of Tom Jones and the Spice Girls to consider. He will, hopefully, shut himself away from the press and cry on the shoulders of his family and loved ones.

He looked close to tears late on Saturday night as he stood on a podium at the post-fight press conference next to Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marco Antonio Barrera, Bernard Hopkins and De La Hoya. He must know that it will take something special to get back in their company.

Who next for Ricky Hatton?


He and Hatton have begun talks about a projected showdown at Wembley next year. But the weight discrepancy may prove crucial and it's no longer the best option for Hatton to bounce back to the top.


Such is Witter's contempt for his British rival that the chances of a domestic super-fight remain slight. But Witter is the WBC light-welterweight champion and public interest dictates that this remains by far Hatton's most attractive option.


The Welshman holds the WBA 140lb title so there's something in it for Hatton but it is unlikely Rees would be up for the challenge. Promotional rivalries also make the fight almost a non-starter.


The big-punching Colombian holds the WBO light-welterweight crown and boasts a record of 32-1. A good and a potentially explosive fight.


New York's IBF junior welterweight champion is a sharp stylist. His attraction is his ability to sell tickets at Madison Square Garden where he is eager to top the bill.


Cotto is now making his mark as a fully fledged welterweight so a fight which once seemed natural is now almost out of the question.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the Jurassic World trailer

Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environmentNepenthes zygon had been growing for almost a decade and helping to keep down cockroaches
This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Search Account Manager

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive

£25000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an acknowledged...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Central London, Bank

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Systems Developer (C/C++, Ruby/ Perl) - £40k

£40000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Systems Developer (C/C+...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital