LAS VEGAS – Oscar De La Hoya is the last man to have fought Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he could very well be the next one to face Ricky Hatton.
The Golden Boy, who is promoting Saturday night's showdown between unbeatens Mayweather (38-0, 24 KOs) and Hatton (43-0, 31 KOs) for the WBC welterweight title on HBO Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand Garden, raves about Mayweather's talent.
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And he's just as impressed with Hatton's pluck.
What he's most pleased with, though, is that the fight will generate significant business. De La Hoya and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer are adamant that the pay-per-view will surpass 1 million buys and approach 1.5 million. De La Hoya and Mayweather set the single-fight pay-per-view record when they sold 2.5 million units for the May 5 bout that Mayweather won in the very ring he'll take on Hatton Saturday night.
"All the revenue streams are tracking consistently at about 60 percent of what my fight with Mayweather did and that's usually the way the pay-per-view comes in, too," De La Hoya said.
De La Hoya might have a vested interest in a Hatton victory, because if the popular Briton wins, it's all but a certainty that he and De La Hoya would meet in what would be a promotion of near-epic proportions.
The odds are creeping downward below 2-1 in favor of Mayweather, largely thanks to the massive influx of Brits who are steadily backing their man.
Mayweather has riled the British fans with taunts of what he says are Hatton's crude skills. And De La Hoya concedes that the bad-boy image Mayweather plays has helped turn him into a pay-per-view attraction.
"Floyd really has it down," De La Hoya said. "He's good at being the villain and he's got all of these people who watch his fights want to see him lose. He's got his share of fans who root for him and want to see him do well, but he has maybe more fans who he's aggravated and who want to see someone beat him.
"People want to see him fight, win or lose, which is always good. This is one of those fights where, Ricky Hatton is a popular guy, a lot of people want to find someone who can finally shut Mayweather up and they want to know if Hatton can pull this huge upset."
De La Hoya's final comment says a lot about Mayweather's skills. When you talk of a 43-0 fighter pulling a huge upset, the guy he's facing had better be exceptionally gifted.
Mayweather is the most gifted fighter in the world, which he hasn't been shy about telling anyone who listened. But he eschews the villain role he's playing.
"In every show, there's a good guy and a bad guy and if I get the bad guy role, so be it," said Mayweather, who prefers to be known these days as "Money" or "Money May."
"But I'm not a bad person. I'm a guy who buys turkeys for the homeless at Thanksgiving. I do charitable acts all the time, not because I want attention but because it's the kind of person I am and I want to help.
"I've been blessed by God with a lot of gifts. One of them is for boxing. I've been boxing a long time. I had a dream for years about what I could do as a boxer and now I'm thankful I'm able to live my dream."