Hatton and Barrera to hold July exhibition bout in Manchester

Ricky Hatton will share the ring with Marco Antonio Barrera for an exhibition bout | Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The exhibition craze has mostly died off, but Ricky Hatton and Marco Antonio Barrera will meet July 2 in Manchester.

Ricky Hatton has announced that he will do a July 2 exhibition bout in Manchester, England, where he’ll face Marco Antonio Barrera on a card that will also feature ex-UFC fighters Dan Hardy and Diego Sanchez squaring off.

Hatton, 43, retired after his brutal second round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2009, but came back in late 2012 for a real fight against Vyacheslav Senchenko, also in Manchester, where Hatton is of course massively popular and made himself a genuine boxing superstar. He fought OK against Senchenko before being knocked out on a body shot in the ninth round, and then retired again, sticking to it that time.

In the last near-decade, Hatton has stayed near the sport, trying his hand at promoting and training, and his son Campbell has become a regular on Matchroom cards since turning pro last year, racking up a 7-0 (2 KO) pro record to date with a lot more discussion than most middling prospects get in seven fights, because his last name has made him a featured attraction on cards.

Barrera, 48, probably should have retired after 2007 losses to Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, but hung around to win a couple club fights in 2008-09, one of which set him up for a terrible fight with Amir Khan in 2009. Khan dominated the smaller, older man for five rounds, winning a sweep technical decision after the fight was stopped due to a cut on Barrera, which had really been caused six weeks earlier in his fight with Freudis Rojas, who brutally headbutted Barrera in the only notable and also last thing the Cuban ever did as a professional boxer, resulting in a disqualification.

Hatton and Barrera are both generally good-natured guys, and Barrera has done some of these exhibitions before, so you can probably expect this one to be more along the lines of the entertaining but clearly not all-out Tyson-Jones or Chavez-Arce exhibition bouts, and not the mess Triller and the Florida commission allowed last year with Vitor Belfort embarrassing a nearly 60-year-old Evander Holyfield.

Hatton retired with a pro record of 45-3 (32 KO), with Barrera, who had his last real fight in 2011, retiring at 67-7 (44 KO), both greats and true stars of their era.

The exhibition craze has mostly died off, but the fun type can be a good time for fans who want a chance to see legends perform. That’s the sort of thing I’d imagine this to be, with Hatton and Barrera giving Manchester a show.

The 39-year-old Hardy last fought in 2012 in MMA, while the 40-year-old Sanchez fought and lost on March 11 in an “Eagle Fighting Championship” bout in Miami. They’ve had media and social media beef before.

Furthermore, someone called “Casper Walsh” will “fight” someone called “Don Strapzy.” They appear to be musicians of some sort who are in good physical condition.

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