This is the kind of article that most boxing writers would start off with "You know, I don't mind tune-up fights so long as..." and then go on to tell you why so and so has really chosen the easy way out.
Well, I flat out hate tune-up fights, espescially for big stars like Ricky Hatton. If someone's got ring-rust to work out then do it in the gym. That's what sparring is for. Don't waste the public's time with mismatches that are the equivelent of a public workout session all at the expense of some poor schmuck. Journeymen aren't heroes that help build the sport, they're victims that help keep cycling a broken system.
Okay, maybe it's going too far to call Juan Lazcano, Hatton's next and now officially announced opponent, a journeyman, but make no mistake about it: this is a tune-up fight. And it couldn't have come at a worse time.
Coming off of a huge KO loss to the world's finest pugilist, Floyd Mayweather, this is when Hatton really needs to bounce back and show he is still one of the P4P best fighters in the world. You don't do that by choosing a sacrificial lamb. They're going to hold this fight in the UK and call it a homecoming. Really, it's a sanctioned mugging.
Juan Lazcano has lost twice in his last six outings. One being his most recent fight with Vivian Harris (February 2007!), and the other to Jose Luis Castillo, who Hatton absolutely steamrolled when they fought.
If this weren't distasteful enough, Team Hatton has ruled out no-brainer matchups against Junior Witter or Gavin Rees. Two proven fighters with world championship belts who just happen to both be based within walking distance of Manchester. You'd think that these two would be logical choices for a "homecoming fight." Particularly Witter, who many claim Hatton has been ducking for years.
Not to mention the ultimate coup de gras: Witter's last fight was a KO win over Vivian Harris. The same Vivian Harris who outpointed Juan Lazcano in his last outing! And somehow this all adds up to getting Lazcano a shot at Hatton over Witter?
To add insult to injury Hatton's camp has been quoted as saying that Witter is not a big enough draw with America TV audiences to be a credible option. Hatton himself has said simply: "I will fight Junior Witter when I want to...I'm not saying I won't fight him. You can never say never but I will fight him when I choose to."
What kind of bizarro world is Team Hatton living in where an inactive Lazcano coming off of a loss means more interest from the HBO faithful than Witter, a fellow countryman who KO'd the last guy to whup Lazcano!?
I'm not impressed with Hatton, his team, or this bogus homecoming fight. If this is the kind of thing that Hatton has to offer us now, then it's just as well that he keeps it off of our shores.