Former junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton is finding out that the promotional end of boxing can also be very tough.
When Hatton first got into the promotional business he was armed with a slate of television dates for his company on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and was having great success. But Hatton lost those dates when the contract expired and Sky elected to go exclusively with Matchroom Sport as its promoter. That left Hatton (and other promoters) out in the cold and he has struggled for the past year without a TV deal.
But on Thursday, Hatton Promotions announced that it has made a deal for its fighters, including middleweight contender Martin Murray and European junior middleweight champion Sergey Rabchenko, to appear exclusively on all-boxing subscription channel BoxNation in the U.K.
"Hatton Promotions had been bobbing along and surviving without TV dates which, obviously, made it extremely difficult, so it's amazing news for my fighters now to get the chance once again to appear on TV thanks to BoxNation," Hatton said.
Because Hatton was struggling to get a new TV deal, he lost Scott Quigg, an interim junior featherweight titlist and one of the top young fighters in England. Hatton was bitterly disappointed when Quigg left his company to sign with rival Matchroom Sport while Hatton was getting his television deal sorted out.
"Scott came into my office for a meeting, rightly concerned after the loss of the TV dates," Hatton said. "I explained to him how difficult it had been and told him to give me a few weeks to sort him a deal. I told him then that if I couldn't get him a deal I would give him his contract back, shake his hand and sincerely wish him all the best. I did not wish to stand in the way of his career and progress. Scott agreed and thanked me."
Hatton said he worked out a deal with Golden Boy for a three-fight co-promotional deal that would have seen Quigg fight in the United States, including on the Sept. 14 Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez card. Hatton said that Quigg, however, declined and wanted to continue fighting in England.
"I could feel an issue was coming because even after that we got him the chance to fight in the UK on a televised bill with 10 weeks' notice, he refused again, this time stating he needed 12 weeks to prepare. ... In a last ditch effort to reassure Scott of his future, [Golden Boy's] Richard Schaefer and Oscar De la Hoya agreed to do a conference call along with myself and Scott to advise him on what was the best way forward for his boxing career and what we could do for him. When Scott was offered this chance he told Hatton Promotions that he'd already made up my mind up. He wanted to leave."