By Terence Dooley
Promoter Frank Warren has revealed why the potential match-up between Ricky Hatton and Junior Witter never came to fruition. Warren appeared on Sky Sport's Ringside show, and when turning his attention to the Hatton-Witter rivalry, Warren had this to say. "Ricky Hatton, when I was promoting him, had it written into his contract that he'd fight him (Witter) but Junior had a really bad performance on the undercard of one of Ricky's fights, Sky and Showtime were broadcasting it. He fought a guy from Belgium and looked pretty bad in that fight. Vic Wakeling, who was Sky's head of boxing at the time, and Showtime said that they didn't want Junior as an opponent."
Warren was presumably referring to Witter's fourth round EBU-EU title win over Jeurgen Hack; the fight took place on the undercard of Ricky Hatton's points win over former world champion 'Cool' Vince Phillips. If this performance shot a torpedo into a Hatton showdown, Junior can count himself unlucky as he had looked impressive in his previous outing, a two round demolition of Giuseppe Lauri. Junior, however, was fighting against perception during this period of his career. An insipid points defeat to Zab Judah for the IBF light-welterweight strap in 2000 had soured his image. Although Witter's performance was nowhere near as negative as some have portrayed it to be, the fight lived long in the memory for all the wrong reasons and left the Bradford boxer, who later won the WBC light-welterweight title, out in the cold.
Witter, 37-3-2 (22 KOs), takes on Victor Puiu, 18-1-2 (9 early), at the Hershey Centre, Ontario on February 19 as he seeks to get his career back on track; 'The Hitter' has not fought since losing his title to Devon Alexander in August 2009; the 36-year-old needs to post an impressive result if he is to get his name back into the title mix.
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