By Craig Watt
Following the second round knockout of Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday by Manny Pacquiao there has been much speculation as to whether the former two weight champion from Manchester will return to the boxing ring or will retire from the sport. Today, Brendon Smith, manager and trainer of Australian lightweight contender Michael Katsidis confirmed to Fightnews that a fight with Hatton was originally pencilled in for November in the UK as a “homecoming” fight for the former two weight world champion, prior to the Pacquiao fight. With the loss to Pacquiao however, this fight may be in question, as many people have called on Ricky Hatton to retire, although Team Katsidis are still positive about the possibility.
Smith stated, “We had on-going discussions with Golden Boy Promotions well before the Manny Pacquiao fight and the fight was pencilled in for November in the UK.”
He continued, “This was a fight that was in the works for over 18 months and given both their exciting styles would be a superb spectacle for the fans in England. There is no loss of respect for Ricky due to his defeat by Pacquiao and he was caught by a devastating punch from a fantastic fighter. We have the utmost respect for Ricky and he has had a fantastic career and we would be happy to be involved in a “home coming” fight for Ricky.”
Brendon Smith was keen to emphasise this was not a new challenge to Hatton due to the loss he received last weekend. He confirmed, “I must stress that we are not calling out Ricky Hatton because of his knockout loss – this potential fight was in discussions for many months and we would like that fight to happen. I am sure after such a great career Ricky would not want to go out on such a devastating loss and Michael is improving all the time. His win over Jesus Chavez was an indication of how well he has performed. When Ricky beat Kostya Tszyu in 2005 not many people know that Team Tszyu used Michael as his main sparring partner and the talk in the gym and nickname for Michael was “Mini Ricky” due to his all action style being so similar to Ricky Hatton. The Tszyu fight showed how good Ricky was and a match up with Michael would be such a great spectacle for the fans and I fight that could be suitable finale for such an exciting and popular fighter that Ricky has been. We have the greatest respect for Ricky and he has been a credit to the sport of boxing and the spectacle of a fight between Katsidis and Hatton could be a superb contest.”
Former WBO interim lightweight champion Katsidis is well know to the UK fans and has been involved in some exciting fights in recent years with Graham Earl when he won the championship and his fight in 2008 versus Joel Casamayor was a contender to “Fight of the Year”. His win over Jesus Chavez was impressive last month and has pushed Katsidis to WBO#2 ranked at lightweight.