RICKY HATTON’S IBF light-welterweight title challenge against Paulie Malignaggi has been officially confirmed for November 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The bout will be Hatton’s first since his below-par homecoming victory over Juan Lazcano in front of 58,000 fans at the City of Manchester Stadium in May.
Malignaggi also has plenty to prove after looking thoroughly unimpressive in a split-decision victory over old foe Lovemore N’Dou on the undercard.
Afterwards, Malignaggi blamed an injured right hand for his poor performance but had the cast removed last month and has resumed training.
Hatton will be making his fourth career appearance in Las Vegas and returning to the venue where he suffered his first defeat to Floyd Mayweather last year.
Hatton said: “I am looking forward to returning to America and challenging Malignaggi for his title. Las Vegas is a second home for me. The fans treat me like gold and I promise them another value-for-money fight.”
Despite Madison Square Garden in Malignaggi’s home New York appearing a natural for the contest, Hatton’s team claimed they picked Las Vegas because it was cheaper for his fans.
And the pressure will be on the pair to show plenty of improvement as they bid to live up to the hype generated by a series of fights in the city so far this year.
In their own 140lbs division Kendall Holt won a 61-second, three-knockdown war with Ricardo Torres. And last month at the MGM Grand, Antonio Margarito won a fight-of-the-year contender against Miguel Cotto.