by Charles Jay
Ricky Hatton was a game warrior when he was wearing gloves, but now he’s wearing a promoter’s hat.
So it makes sense that he is thinking like a promoter when it comes to his official advice to Amir Khan.
Hatton is an interesting case in that after beating Kostya Tszyu, who was subsequently elected to the Hall of Fame. he has only lost two fights as a pro, but those fights came against the two fighters who are the most talked about and considered the best pound-for-pound: Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
So he has some gravitas when it comes to talking about what could happen to his countryman, Amir Khan, against Mayweather.
Whenever Hatton wants an audience with British reporters he can get it, and he has told them that this is not the time for Khan to be fighting Mayweather.
Don’t get him wrong; he’s not really saying that Khan is not close to being ready to beat Mayweather. In point of fact, if Khan had to wait for that to happen, he would likely be waiting forever. Let’s stipulate that if Khan was climbing into the ring with Mayweather, regardless of when it is, he is going to be a decided underdog.
But Hatton is well aware of that perspective. In fact, despite a willing effort against Mayweather, he was going to lose to him ten times out of ten, no matter when he fought him, and the result he had against Pacquiao spoke for itself.
When you get to that level of competition, where there’s really no one left to fight but the best there is, the determining factor in pursuing the fight is not whether you are likely to beat the opponent, but how much you can get paid for your troubles.
The exact amount of money Hatton made to fight Pacquiao is hard to put a finger on, but he probably made close to $20 million when all was said and done.
What Hatton is referring to with regard to Khan is that needs to build on his own resume; needs to, in his own words, “re-establish” himself, in order to be a more viable challenger, not to mention having a little more leverage going to the promotion. After all, it’s worth more money to go in as a champion than someone who has lost his last fight and is acting as a possible “tune-up” for Mayweather.
Hatton is certainly thinking like a promoter when he talks like that. While he was still a fighter, he was probably thinking of himself as half-fighter, half-commodity.
That much is evident, if you look at his career. Its trajectory was not al that much different than Khan’s, at least at the start, as he built up his reputation against a number of lesser-lights in the U.K. Of course, Khan stumbled over a road block when he was knocked out in one round by Breidis Prescott, and that didn’t happen to Hatton. And Hatton positioned himself to make some big dollars in a very significant fight, something Khan has yet to do.
After he defeated Tszyu, who was, as it turned out, finished as a fighter, Hatton engaged in a few more title fights, ventured to the U.S. to build some additional credibility with the American audience, and beat another fading name (Jose Luis Castillo) before making himself relevant enough to make big money against Mayweather. In other words, he didn’t rush right into it.
After going ten rounds with Pretty Boy Floyd, he “re-established” himself with wins over Juan Lazcano and Paul Malignaggi, who were not lightly regarded, and that led to the other payday against Pacquiao which became his last ring appearance. But he followed his own advice.
Hatton has suggested that Khan take at least a couple of fights, including a rematch with Lamont Peterson, who beat him last month, and then put himself in a position to perhaps fight the winner of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, if in fact a fight like that were to take place.
“If Amir could put in a good performance against Peterson he will improve his position when he sits down at the negotiating table,” Hatton told the Daily Star (UK). “Plus Mayweather and Pacquiao will then have more miles on the clock and Amir can come in and pick up the pieces.”
That sounds like a model plan – spoken like a true promoter. What Khan and his Golden Boy team would have to do, of course, is to coax Peterson into a fight, which might be harder to do now than before.