In Boxing News: Ricky Hatton’s next opponent

Ricky Hatton will have at least one fight before he takes on Floyd Mayweather. Hatton’s father and manager Ray revealed they will choose another opponent from a list including Arturo Gatti, welterweight champ Zab Judah and lightweights Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales and Acelino Freitas: We will make an announcement by mid- January. It’s intriguing which way we should go. We want a May date. Gatti is reportedly the favorite to face Hatton next, provided Gatti gets past Thomas Damgaard on January 28th.

JE Grant offers his January, 2006 Top 25 Heavyweights list today. I always enjoy looking at Grant’s list, but the impoverished nature of the upper echelons of the heavyweight division is alarming. Wladimir Klitschko at number 3? Wladimir Klitschko has some tools, but a win over Sam Peter (in which he spent a lot of time clutching and grabbing) after some shaky recent performances (Sanders, Brewster and even Williamson) and he’s the number 3 heavyweight in the world? Actually, he might be. Other than James Toney, I couldn’t necessarily put anybody else above him. And how about Shannon Briggs at number 17? Maybe Shannon Briggs is the number 17 heavyweight in the world. But that says it all about the current state of the heavyweight division. When was the last time Briggs defeated a credible opponent? (Please don’t say Ray Mercer.)

Nikolai Valuev will make the first defence of his WBA heavyweight belt during April in Germany. Don King wanted Valuev to fight in the United States, but Valuev wants to remain in Germany for the time being.

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