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Manchester Reaches Boiling Point For Hatton vs. Lazcano

With the excitement in North West England reaching a fever pitch for Ricky Hatton's much anticipated return to his beloved city of Manchester, there are many questions still to be answered surrounding this massive fight card which will be played out in the open air City of Manchester Stadium before a record breaking 56,000 spectators.

The debate rages on between camps of those who maintain that Hatton will resume as the wrecking ball that destroyed Jose Louis Castillo with a devastating bodyshot versus those concerned that "The Hitman" has already left his best on the canvas of the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas when put there by Floyd Mayweather last December.

One point that is beyond contention is the confidence of IBO/Ring light welterweight champion Hatton, 43-1 (31), which has reached sky-high proportions as he relishes performing once again in front of his legion of faithful followers who will pack the massive football ground in numbers that Britain has never before witnessed.

"Lazcano comes to fight and I won't have to go chasing him, that's for sure," said Hatton. "This one is really important for me to get back to what I do best and work off me boxing abilities and not just go rushing in. I think that people will see the best Ricky Hatton that there's ever been."

Hatton's opponent Juan Lazcano, 37-4-1 (27), has been conducting himself with quiet confidence since arriving in Manchester and the highly seasoned 34 year old hasn't come here to play the sacrificial lamb.

"My brithday fell on Easter this year and I truly see his as a Resurrection type thing for me," said the Mexican born American. "I know what I've got to do and I'm going to surprise a lot of people in that stadium. If Ricky Hatton didn't already have a loss on his record, I'd be putting the first one on there."

The mouth-watering undercard is led by a bad-blood rematch between the flashy IBF light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, 24-1 (5), and the man he swept past to win that title, no-nonsense grafter Lovemore N'dou.

Despite his wide points victory over N'dou in their first bout, Malignaggi sees this return contest as a dangerous endeavor that must not take for granted, particularly if he is to get his long called for showdown with Hatton this fall in New York's famed Madison Square Garden.

"Lovemore is going to be a dangerous and I can't afford to look past him," said the brash New Yorker. "Look what happened to Junior Witter recently; he was focused on a fight with Hatton and got schooled by Timothy Bradley. I'm a great fighter but I have to put on a great fight against N'dou."

The transplanted South African N'dou, 46-9-1 (31), has come a long way from his adopted Australia but feels that this rematch will give him a chance to right what he feels are injustices that led to his defeat in the first bout with Malignaggi.

"When we fought in America, the referee wouldn't let me work on the inside and that cost me the fight against Malignaggi," recalled the hard-nosed N'dou."Here in England I think I will get better treatment and have the chance to do my thing, so I will win this fight."

An all-Manchester scrap that has been brewing for some time has now reached a boiling point as Commonwealth welterweight champion Craig Watson, 12-2 (4), puts his belt at risk against the more experienced Matthew Hatton, 33-3-1 (13).

"I just love to fight and I've been really looking forward to this one against Matthew, especially on this bill," said rugged southpaw Watson. "I'll show my win against Ali Nuumbembe for the Commonwealth was just the start and I guarantee I'll win this fight."

Having had a short amateur career led to a long professional development for Matthew Hatton and the eight year veteran could not have picked a better time to start sharing the spotlight with superstar big brother Ricky.

"This is my time now and I won't be denied," stated Matthew. "I've worked hard and have kept improving to reach this point. This is the perfect opportunity for me to show what I can do and there's no way I won't have the Commonwealth title on Saturday night."

Saturday, May 24, 2008 will feature the biggest selling fight in the history of British boxing, IBO/Ring light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton vs. Juan Lazcano, in front of 55,000 fans at City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England on a shared production between Frank Maloney Promotions, Punch Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions.

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