The Mancunian, currently the world’s top light-welterweight, today confirmed he will face Pacquiao on May 2, 18 months after losing to Mayweather at the same MGM Grand venue.
But even though he has got a second shot at becoming the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, Hatton still holds out hope of settling a score with the now-retired Mayweather, the only man to beat him in his career.
“How much further can you go than the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world?” said Hatton.
“If I was to win it I would have achieved my ultimate goal but then the only last thing I would like to do would be to have a crack at Mayweather.
“I keep going on about how I thought I was outdone by the ref. Let’s find out if it was the ref or whether he was that good. I’d like to do that to prove to myself.
“If I beat Pacquiao it gives me more power to say [to Mayweather], ‘You come over here — and I’ll pick the ref!’”
Hatton knows he does not have that much time left in boxing and a potential re-match with Mayweather is what is spurring him on towards the end of his career.
There were some who felt he should have hung up his gloves after a sloppy win over Juan Lazcano — an option the boxer considered himself.
But he fought on and after a good win over Paulie Malignaggi in November feels rejuvenated.
However, he faces a considerable test in Pacquiao, who confirmed his status as the world’s leading fighter with victories over Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz and Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.
“It will be an absolute honour to fight Pacquiao. I don’t think I have seen Manny Pacquiao in a dull fight and if I was not fighting Manny I would be a fan of his.”