Ricky Hatton is set to get his wish of a career-defining super-fight against Floyd Mayweather after his father Ray confirmed he had reached a deal “in principle” with the American’s representatives.
Hatton said a verbal agreement had been struck between lawyers for both parties, including, crucially, over the financial split of what would be a multi-million dollar bout.
But Hatton said he would remain cautious until contracts had been exchanged between both parties.
He added that no date or venue had been agreed, but it would likely take place on November 10 or December 8 in Las Vegas.
Ray Hatton told PA Sport: “We have agreed a deal in principle. The date and venue is up in the air but we agreed via our lawyers what the financial side of it is going to be.
“I can’t honestly tell you a deal has been done until I see the signatures on all the documents. But what I can tell you is that both sides were happy with what we finalised verbally.”
It is believed the fight could be officially announced as early as Monday, with Mayweather’s advisers telling US media sources that it was a done deal for December 8.
The speed with which such a big fight appears to have been put together will stun many observers who have grown used to seeing so many potential super-fights mired in politics and financial issues.
Hatton had called out Mayweather after his magnificent June 23 win over Jose Luis Castillo.
Mayweather, who was supposed to have retired after his May 5 win over Oscar De La Hoya, responded by saying he wanted the fight.
The American’s representatives flew Ray Hatton and the family’s lawyer Gareth Williams out to Las Vegas to watch last week’s fight between Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright.
Hatton said negotiations were “cordial”, but that the pair had flown back to England with both camps “far apart” on the financial aspects of the fight. However, a deal has been reached over the telephone in recent days.
“It is a great fight for Ricky. How many times do you get to fight the best fighter in the world? I see it as a win-win situation because Ricky cannot fail to impress,” Hatton added.
“Floyd is coming off a great win over De La Hoya and Ricky over Castillo. Between them they are unbeaten in 81 fights. There is nowhere else it could happen. It would be an unbelievable fight.”
Neither fighter will go into the ring bearing a recognised title belt. Mayweather handed back the WBC light-middleweight belt he won over De La Hoya because he had no intention of remaining at that weight.
But both Mayweather and Hatton possess the Ring Magazine’s belts at 147lbs and 140lbs, respectively. It is likely Hatton would agree to move up to meet Mayweather at the higher weight.
Mayweather’s adviser Leonard Ellerbe said Hatton deserved praise for taking the fight.
He told USA Today: “I never thought he would do it, but Ricky Hatton deserves credit for stepping up to the plate.
“He asked for it and now he’s going to get it. Floyd is extremely excited. He wants to show Hatton that he’s never fought at this level before.
“He’s going to show him what it’s like to step in the ring with the best fighter.”
Hatton will relish the challenge. Despite affording Mayweather due respect as a supremely skilful fighter, the Manchester man has routinely derided what he perceives as his negative, back-foot style.
The Mancunian described his win over Castillo as “more exciting than all of Floyd Mayweather’s fights put together”, and it appears he has succeeded in rankling the self-styled ’Pretty Boy’ out of retirement.