By Mark Vester

The UK media has jumped on the theory that Ricky Hatton is now the frontrunner to become the next opponent for Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya was scheduled to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a September rematch. Those plans came crashing down when Mayweather announced his retirement last Friday. In the next few days, Richard Schaefer, CEO for Golden Boy Promotions, is going to reveal De La Hoya's next opponent.

Last year, De La Hoya was pushing hard for a fight with Hatton, but changed his mind very quickly after watching the Manchester superstar get dominated and knocked out by Mayweather last December. A few weeks ago, De La Hoya told Setanta Sports that he was not interested in Hatton fight.

"I'm a naturally bigger guy in a different weight class so I would rule it out," De La Hoya said. "Ricky's doing a tremendous job at 140 pounds where he feels comfortable. Where he can do a lot of great things. I would rule it out. Ricky's fighting at 140. That's where he feels most comfortable and that's where he belongs. I wouldn't advise him to go up to 147. Those few pounds make a big difference. If he feels comfortable at 140 he should stay there, which I am sure he will do."

Several weeks ago, Hatton signed a promotional contract with De La Hoya's company, Golden Boy. Based on the attendance figures of their recent most fights, Hatton is now a bigger draw than any other fighter in Golden Boy, including De La Hoya. Experts don't think Golden Boy is ready to "cash out" their new "cash cow" by throwing him in the ring with De La Hoya so quickly. Hatton's last performance against Lazcano did not convince anyone that a fight with De La Hoya is competitive bout.

The smart business plan is for Golden Boy to move Hatton along slowly by matching him against smaller opponents like Pacquiao or fighters who don't pose a physical threat like Malignaggi. Golden Boy, as a company, stands to make more money by getting the most fights they can out of Hatton.

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