It is always a good week for British boxing when two real stars either get back in the ring or announce a return to the ring.
Ricky Hatton now has a proper day job and on Saturday he will be in Monaco with his fighter Sergey Rabchenko, and David Haye looks poised to name a date and a city for another fight this summer.
The truth with Hatton is that all attempts at being a promoter and trainer were cosmetic until he finally surrendered to the inevitable and got back in the ring last year. It was not a great night to remember but it was certainly the type of night that could persuade anybody to change jobs.
The Hatton fight at the MEN and Haye’s brutal scrap with Dereck Chisora at Upton Park in the summer were the two biggest bouts in Britain last year. Hatton’s return never worked, as he painfully discovered, but Haye’s slugfest with Chisora was sensational. It left fans wanting more and that meant Haye could go walkabout.
Hatton will thankfully never fight again and Haye, after months of silence and hints, looks set for a summer return in what is likely to be a repeat pattern of annual fights, which is what the world’s main attraction Floyd Mayweather has done since 2007. Mayweather, who fights on 4 May, has fought four times since beating Hatton in 2007, generates vast sums in pay-per-view revenue and was sport’s highest earner in 2012. He slaughtered the golfers and NFL hunks and he only fought once!
On Saturday in Monaco Hatton will be up in the ring, in the corner with Rabchenko, and next month he goes off on a two-week trip to Brisbane and Buenos Aires to work with fighters. In Argentina, Hatton’s middleweight Martin Murray fights Sergio Martinez for the world middleweight title. Martinez was just named as Argentina’s No 1 sportsman with Lionel Messi at two and – this is a shocker – Martinez has not fought in his home country for 11 years.
“I’m getting calls all the time to work with fighters and not just in Britain,” insisted Hatton. “I’m already working with boxers from Ireland, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Australia.”
A lot of high-profile fighters have ended their careers with a dumb and costly move to promoting and training and, it has to be said, the better the fighter, the easier it is to predict a failure to join Roy Jones Jr, Naseem Hamed, Mike Tyson and Mayweather himself.
It is just possible that Hatton could be the exception to one of boxing’s most predictable rules and actually make his post-fighting career a success. However, the loss of his Sky dates last year means that he is still looking for a full-time television partner and that makes having quality fighters very difficult.
“It is not easy to get a living on either side of the ropes,” Hatton said. “I had to work for it as a fighter and I will work for it as a promoter. I know how to work hard and that is something that my fans liked.”
Haye is also building a boxing empire from his railway arch in Vauxhall with Irish middleweight Andy Lee, former British champion George Groves and a few others sharing his gym and life with his long-term partner in the boxing business, Adam Booth. They had a promotional deal a few years ago with Setanta and now they have enough fighters to fill a Haye undercard.
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