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Hitman gets ready to Mayweather the storm

Following his bodyline demolition of Jose Luis Castillo, whose ambition was dubious, no doubt Ricky Hatton (pictured) will eventually fight Floyd Mayweather in the US. But first he would dearly love to box again at his hometown MEN Arena in Manchester. As he is talking again with Frank Warren, it could happen this year.

Chocs away as Ambassador Caborn flies out

Some may think it a perk, but the last time England had a former sports minister - Tony Banks - as a World Cup bid "ambassador" it turned out to be a poisoned chalice. But Richard Caborn is not fazed. He reminds us: "Most people said we would never get the 2012 Olympics, but we did. I feel the same about the 2018 World Cup." Caborn has an impressive array of Fifa contacts but there's a lot of party-hosting to be done, not least to persuade Sepp Blatter that it is Europe's turn. Good luck, Mr Ambassador. Hope you are are well stocked up on the Ferrero Rocher.

War and piste as Putin calls the shots

The venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be decided in the steamy air of Guatemala City on Wednesday, IOC members obviously preferring Central America to central heating. Rivals PyeongChang (South Korea), Salzburg (Austria) and Sochi (Russia) all have their heads of state on parade. The Russians are so keen to win that even President Putin, a crack skier, is breaking the ice. As we report on page 78, they hope he can do for Sochi what Blair did for London. There will also be a a message of support from the man who helped end the real Cold War, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Purnell gets his turn after a U-turn

It may be a smart political move that Tessa Jowell, given more time to spend with her Olympic "family", is not required to answer to her successor as Il Supremo at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, James Purnell. Although no longer in the Cabinet, Jowell will work from the Cabinet Office and report directly to the PM. Is this because ambitious football fan Purnell (pictured), 37, tipped to wear the No 10 shirt one day, may not quite share her enthusiasm for all things Olympic? Just before the London bid he called it "foolish" and declared the money could be better spent - only to be quickly converted on the road to DCMS when given an earlier ministerial post. Let's hope this fortuitous U-turn means he now supports 2012 as ardently as he does Arsenal.

Sutcliffe to pick up baton if Cabron ends run

As we exclusively predicted in these pages two months ago (see above), the Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe has succeeded fellow northerner Richard Caborn as Sports Minister. We were also on the ball in predicting that Caborn would become Gordon Brown's special envoy for a 2018 World Cup bid, and that Tessa Jowell would be shuffled sideways to concentrate on running the Olympics ministry more or less full-time. So what can sport expect from Sutcliffe? Well, he's a genuine sports nut, who surely punched the air gleefully when Brown called and invited the Parliamentary team's goalkeeper to move into a striking role. The ex-trades unionist, 54, supports both Bradford City and Manchester United (as well as Bradford Bulls) and has hankered after this job for some time. He'll get on well with sports bods, and promises "to place sport at the heart of Government policies". He says: "Sport has tremendous power not just to inspire and delight but to change for the better." But with Jowell firmly on the Olympics beat and Caborn networking in football, he'll need to mark out his pitch.

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