Inside Lines: Hatton wants another Juan in test before Khan showdown

Six months after being left wide-eyed and legless by Manny Pacquiao, Ricky Hatton is getting itchy fists again. We hear the Hitman is poised to announce a New Year comeback against Juan Manuel Marquez, the 36-year-old Mexican last seen losing to another Hatton nemesis, Floyd Mayweather Jnr. Although he still declines to confirm his intentions, the word in boxing is that his desire not to go out a loser has been rekindled by the build-up to last night's Valuev-Haye scrap. He acknowledges he misses the big-fight atmosphere and insists there would be no problem getting back into shape at "Hatton House", the new £2 million fight HQ he has built near his Manchester home. "Sometimes when you've been doing this game for so long, you need to recharge your batteries and then you can come back with a bit more fire in your belly," he says. "There are things I know I can put right, and if I give it another go it will not be an eight-rounder after beating some of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. It's got to be a fight that will get me excited." Marquez has already been earmarked as a trial horse for a hoped-for meeting next summer with Amir Khan which Hatton, 31, insists he must promote himself. "That would not be negotiable, otherwise it's a non-starter." Hatton's novice promotional expertise will be tested on Friday when he stages his first "world title" fight, featuring his welterweight brother Matthew, who meets South Africa's Lovemore Ndou for the little-regarded IBO belt – which Ricky himself once held – in Stoke. The following night will bring back painful memories when he watches the Filipino Pacquiao attempt a similar demolition job in Las Vegas on the more resilient Miguel Cotto in a classic tear-up.

Slings and 'arrers

Our view that Jenson Button would not be the worthiest recipient of this year's BBC Sports Personality award continues to attract responses ranging from hearty approval to opprobrium. Peeved petrolheads are blowing a gasket, but sensibly there seems to be a groundswell of grass-roots support for the gymnast Beth Tweddle and "Ironman" Chrissie Wellington. However, 'arrers are being fired from the oche to remind us that Phil "The Power" Taylor is not only one of Britain's most prolific world champions, but one of the most popular. Maybe, but you can bet the Beeb are trembling at this prospect as much as Simon Cowell is at the thought of Jedward winning 'The X Factor'.

Lamb the rain man

When running the ECB, Tim Lamb endured more than his share of rainy days. So it is with some satisfaction that his new employers, the CCPR, have engineered a deal that will see an end to the Ofwat-regulated "rain tax" (a charge for drainage by surface area rather than rateable value) which stopped water companies offering concessionary rates to sports clubs. This will save hundreds from potential closure. The successful lobbying of parliament was concluded, appropriately, on St Swithin's Day.

No Olympic cover-up

More than 5,000 of the condoms distributed free to competitors in Beijing were left unused, and have now been put up for auction at 8p each. Obviously sex in the Olympic city wasn't all it was cracked up to be, even though the wrappers carried the official Games motto: "Faster, higher, stronger".

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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