So it was on Saturday night, as King came bringing gifts unseasonably early in the form of a January 19 fight between Felix Trinidad and Roy Jones Jr before Miguel Cotto defeated Sugar Shane Mosley, and then heard that fight’s co-promoter Oscar De La Hoya, drop a strong hint that he fancied a match with the British world champion he sought to face.
HBO executive Mark Taffet said he thought he was working too hard and sleeping too little when he arrived at his Manhattan office on Saturday to see the demonic grin of outlandish promoter King beaming from underneath a red Santa Claus hat.
But the truth was there for all to see as New York’s boxing press gathered in a hotel ballroom across from Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue to hear, between numerous “Ho, Ho, Hos”, another pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza announced between two modern era legends of the ring.
American Jones and Puerto Rican Trinidad have earned 13 world titles between them in seven different weight division from welterweight to heavyweight and they will go toe-to-toe in a 12-round fight at or below the catch weight of 170lbs in front of what King hopes will be a record-breaking PPV broadcast.
De La Hoya-Mayweather in May registered 2.15 million PPV buys and Hatton-Mayweather in Las Vegas on December 8 could top that but King was as bullish as ever.
“This is not a fight, it’s a happening, an event,” he said. “We’re going to crown a people’s champion, one that everyone can relate and identify with and we can beat the pay-per-view record with these two legends. Our goal is three million households.”
It was the Hatton-Mayweather showdown that exercised most minds inside the Garden, however, as Cotto just did enough to earn a unanimous decision over a rejuvenated former four-time world champion Mosley.
Now unbeaten in 31 fights, 25 wins by KO, Cotto said he would next want to face either the winner of the December 8 meeting in Las Vegas WBC welterweight champion Mayweather and undisputed light-welterweight champion Hatton, or its promoter Oscar De La Hoya..
De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions co-promoted Cotto-Mosley with his own representatives Top Rank and Cotto said: “I’ll fight Oscar, Mayweather or Hatton or whoever (Top Rank) tell me to, no exceptions.
“I feel real strong in this weight division and I’m ready for anyone.”
De La Hoya may have something to say about that. After Saturday night’s fight he predicted an upset victory for Hatton and then hinted that he could fight the British fighter next year.
“Hatton can cause a surprise against Mayweather,” De La Hoya said.
“Hatton is determined, he’s strong, he’s fast. I think it’s kind of like when Mayweather fought Jose Luis Castillo except that Hatton is that much better and smarter and faster (than Castillo).
“He’s going to do everything that I didn’t and I believe he’s right now weighing 145, 146lbs so he’s in tip-top shape.”
As for a fight with Hatton, De La Hoya said: “Oh yes, it’s one of the possibilities. People keep asking what I’m going to do and at what weight I’m going to fight, and I’ve got this feeling Hatton is going to be in the best shape of his life to pull off an upset.
“It’s going to be a great fight and a lot of things are going to happen after that fight. Big decisions.”