- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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The ongoing saga of who, where and on what network junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton will fight is nearly over.
The British sensation will move up to 147 pounds and face welterweight titlist Luis Collazo of New York on May 13 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, co-promoter Artie Pelullo told ESPN.com Wednesday night.
The only remaining piece of the puzzle is for Pelullo to complete Hatton's television deal with HBO, which is expected shortly.
He said that although rival Showtime has made a "very competitive" offer, they were leaning toward the HBO multi-fight agreement.
"The Collazo deal is done and now we are finalizing the HBO contract," Pelullo said.
Pelullo had struck a deal for Hatton (40-0, 30 KOs) to face Collazo (26-1, 12 KOs) a couple of weeks ago but his trainer, Billy Graham, wouldn't give his approval, and the hunt for an opponent continued with several names in the mix.
They finally agreed to a deal with contender Juan Lazcano, but he suffered a broken finger and was forced to withdraw.
Pelullo said that Graham agreed to take another look at Collazo and had a change of heart, which allowed him to resurrect his deal with Collazo promoter Don King.
"The trainer was concerned about the Collazo's southpaw style, but he has reviewed the tapes again and has since reconsidered," Pelullo said. "Don King has agreed for Collazo to fight Ricky Hatton on May 13."
Rather than holding the bout at the Foxwoods resort in Connecticut, as originally planned, Pelullo said Foxwoods will sponsor the event at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, the home arena for the NBA's Celtics and NHL's Bruins.
Hatton, 27, a huge star in England, burst on the world scene last summer when, in front of more than 20,000 in his hometown of Manchester, he dethroned longtime 140-pound champion Kostya Tszyu, forcing the probable future Hall of Famer to quit on his stool after 11 bruising rounds.
The bout was televised by Showtime, but the network did not have Hatton under contract.
In November, Hatton unified titles by knocking out Carlos Maussa in the ninth round in Sheffield.
Hatton was named 2005 fighter of the year by both ESPN.com and Ring magazine.
Before the Maussa bout, Hatton broke with longtime promoter Frank Warren and later signed a co-promotional deal with Pelullo and England-based Dennis Hobson's Fight Academy.
If Hatton defeats Collazo, he is expected back in the ring in November or December, Pelullo said.
Collazo claimed a title belt on a split decision against Jose Antonio Rivera in Rivera's hometown of Worcester, Mass., April 2, 2005. Since that mild upset, Collazo has made one defense, an eighth-round TKO of former lightweight champ Miguel Angel Gonzalez in Chicago in August.
Ricky Hatton will move up to 147 pounds and face welterweight titlist Luis Collazo of New York on May 13 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Dan Rafael reports.