Boxing: Ricky Hatton tipped to fight old foe Paulie Malignaggi on comeback
Wednesday 12 September 2012
Ricky Hatton is expected to target a world title rematch with former foe Paulie Malignaggi when he announces his decision to return to the ring at a press conference in Manchester on Friday.
Hatton, who turns 34 next month, last night issued a press release promising a "major announcement" - believed to be details of his first fight since a brutal second round knockout by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.
Hatton has shed almost three stone in training this year, sparking rumours of an imminent comeback, which is expected to take place at the MEN Arena in Manchester on November 24.
Hatton is expected to sign a multi-fight deal with a broadcaster which is designed to culminate in a rematch next year with New Yorker Malignaggi, whom he beat in Las Vegas in 2008.
While Hatton went on to be floored by Pacquiao, Malignaggi has reinvented himself and won the WBA welterweight title with a stoppage win over Vyacheslav Senchenko in Ukraine in April.
Malignaggi carries the significant incentive of being regarded as a light puncher - only seven of his 31 wins have come inside the distance - which is a major boost for Hatton after the nature of his knockout losses to Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Some fear for Hatton's punch resistance, pointing out that his comeback fight against semi-retired, light-punching Juan Lazcano in Manchester in 2008 almost ended in disaster when he was caught in the final seconds of the fight.
Others question whether he has the right motive for returning to the ring. Hatton has established his own promotions company but ran into trouble in May when he lost his television deal with Sky.
Hatton's prospective comeback is highly likely to also feature a majority of Hatton Promotions boxers, including Martin Murray, Anthony Crolla, Rendall Munroe and Scott Quigg.
Hatton is in the process of re-applying for a boxing licence with the British Boxing Board of Control, but barring any medical issues it is unthinkable that the 'Hitman' would be rejected.
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