With the abdication of the three belts he won beating Kostya Tszyu, Carlos Maussa and Luis Collazo behind him the irony of the IBF’s threat to withdraw light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton’s belt wont be lost on the wider boxing public. It’s hard to malign Hatton for preferring to fight Jose Luis Castillo in June before his mandated obligation to Ben Rabah or Lovemore N’Dou, who contest a final eliminator soon, but surely Hatton soon has to stick rather than twist.
Both Rabah and N’Dou offer nothing to Hatton’s quest for legacy and respect, and whoever prevails between the two it is very unlikely HBO, Hatton’s paymasters would sanction a clash at the terms Hatton demands. In truth N’Dou has been repeatedly proved to be dogged but short of the class required to unseat elite performers like Cotto, Mitchell and latterly Junior Witter and Rabah, though the consensus victor over Juan Urango in their own IBF title clash, failed to get the judges nod and therefore has a defeat to Hatton’s last ‘victim’ on his resume.
Hardly the form of legends. The circuitous route back to the IBF title and now these mandatory obligations does beg the question, why didn’t Hatton simply fight Rabah back in 2005 when he first held this belt and the tricky Australian was mandatory?
Hindsight is of course, 20-20. But could we really witness Hatton relinquishing ANOTHER belt rather than observe the IBF’s regulations? It seems ludicrous and implicitly damns Hatton’s proclamations that the belts substantiate his post Tszyu career.