Hatton Promotions – Britain’s Version of Golden Boy or Destined to Fail?
By Aaron Screen, DoghouseBoxing (Aug 1, 2009)  
Ricky Hatton, like an ever increasing number of fighters, has recently established his own boxing promotional company. While Hatton is no doubt optimistic about the potential of his fledgling company, the success rate of boxers both former and current when venturing into the somewhat murky promotional game is surprisingly low. You would think that with the amount of times they have been involved in promotions as a fighter themselves that they would know exactly what is required to make their company a success. A lot of promotional companies set up by fighters usually result in a disappointing outcome for those involved. It is quite rare that these companies remain successful. Considering the fact that fighters have been promoted themselves and are aware of what is required, surely it can’t be that difficult promoting other fights right?

Wrong. In reality these so called promotional companies set up by fighters seemingly do very little actual promoting. Take Floyd Mayweather Jr. as an example. Since its inception “Mayweather Promotions” has been involved in mega fights, particularly Mayweather’s last fight against the Hitman himself. This would lead you to believe that Mayweather Promotions is a potential leader in the sport of boxing along with the Top Ranks and Golden Boys of the boxing world. Although this may well be the case in years to come, the fact that Mayweather Promotions has been involved in highly publicized fights of this magnitude has no real bearing on how the company would actually cope when forced to actually “promote” a fight from start to finish. This is not a slight on Mayweather, who has proved that he is without doubt a remarkable business man, but simply an example to show how difficult it is to actually be taken seriously as a promoter. Ricky Hatton will no doubt face an uphill struggle to get Hatton Promotions where he wants and no doubt believes it should be. Hatton, along with his lawyer and longtime friend Gareth Williams who will serve as CEO, have big aspirations for the company.

In fairness to the duo so far they have made great strides in getting the company up and running and everything points to Hatton Promotions being an unequivocal success. So far they have successfully managed to promote a number of shows in various locations all with relative success; the fact they have had the privilege to remain relevant after their first show speaks volumes as the first show is no doubt always the hardest (ask Joe Calzaghe, whose second show was cancelled following the debut of Calzaghe Promotions, amid rumours surrounding the lack of interest).

There are two fundamental indicators that point to the success of Hatton Promotions. The first being their somewhat controversial eight fight TV deal with Britain’s Sky Sports, which is sure to draw comparisons with Golden Boy’s much criticized (ask Bob Arum what he thinks) deal with HBO sports. This is a big bonus for Hatton Promotions and is almost unprecedented for a company with such little experience. Most established promoters do not have the luxury of a multi-fight deal, so the fact a new promotional company has this in place at such an early stage speaks volumes. I’m sure this multi-fight deal will ruffle a few feathers with established British promoters much like it has overseas with Top Rank. This will give them a great advantage and more bargaining power in regards to new signings, which brings me to my second indicator of success. This guaranteed eight fight deal means more signings of both new and out of contract fighters, potential signings who will no doubt be swayed by the fact they will have a chance to showcase their skills on Britain’s most popular sports channel. Hatton Promotions has already started to make moves by signing former Olympian Joe Murray, who most recently starred in Las Vegas on the undercard of the Hatton v Pacquiao fight, as well as the highly sought after Welshman Gary Buckland, who won his British title eliminator on the 24th July.

Whether this deal is great news for British boxing remains to be seen, but one thing for sure is it’s most certainly good news for Hatton and most certainly bad news for his British rivals. It’s possible Hatton could face accusations of monopolizing the market just as their American counterparts Golden Boy has been accused of with HBO.

The multi-fight deal seems to emphasize the similarities between the two. Hatton, like De La Hoya, has a huge following and could be argued as Britain’s version of the Golden Boy in terms of packing out arenas and being adored by fans and critics alike. He also has a right hand man in Gareth Williams, his very own version of Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who himself has proved an astute business man.

Put simply Hatton Promotions has eight dates to prove that they can be a force in the sport of boxing. If anyone can do it, it’s Ricky Hatton, with his huge fan base and already established Hatton brand he is clearly aware of what is needed to make himself a success outside as well as in the ring. He seems to be going the right way about it judging by his recent signings which is essential, as a crucial element of being a promoter is not just putting the big fights together but also building a fighter from the bottom to the top, the same way Bob Arum has and continues to do across the pond, previously with the likes of Mayweather, De La Hoya and more recently with Miguel Cotto and his Puerto Rican counterpart Juan Manuel Lopez.

It would seem that the world is Hatton’s oyster and it’s possible that Hatton Promotions can one day emulate Golden Boy, Top Rank and the like, but first he must concentrate on being successful in Britain which will be no easy task especially with highly respected promoters such as Frank Warren and Frank Maloney still going strong.

With all issues considered and the way they have come out swinging – not to mention a rumoured partnership and ongoing support from Golden Boy – the future may very well be a bright one… for Hatton Promotions that is.

Please send all questions and comments to Aaron at: aaron_screen@hotmail.com

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