Ricky Hatton thinks Tommy Fury may have blown his chance to face Jake Paul for good after withdrawing from next week's scheduled bout.
Fury, 22, and Paul, 24, were finally set to square off in Florida on December 18, following a bitter online feud that has raged throughout 2021.
However, after weeks of verbal sparring during their respective training camps, Fury announced he was pulling out of the clash due to a bacterial chest infection and broken rib.
Ironically, the news came days after the former Love Island contestant himself publicly pleaded with Paul to go through with the fight, having bragged about excelling in his 'best' training camp to date.
The YouTuber has since labelled Fury an "embarrassment" and to fill the void, has organised a rematch with former UFC star Tyron Woodley, who Paul beat in Cleveland in August following a dubious split decision.
And boxing legend Hatton, 43, fears that 'The Problem Child' won't entertain the idea of clashing with Fury again.
"It’s a shame and I certainly hope Tommy hasn’t lost his chance. But I suppose it is really up to Jake Paul, the ball might be in his court going forward," he wrote, in a column for the Metro.
"If he wants to fight Tommy and prove his point then hopefully Tommy can get another shot.
"But there is a risk, there is every chance Paul turns around and says: ‘F**k it, you’ve lost your chance.’
"I have a feeling that might happen but I hope not for Tommy’s sake."
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However, 'The Hitman' thinks that the involvement of Fury's older brother Tyson, and dad John, may yet sway Paul into accepting a rearrangement.
Tyson, who this week was ordered to start negotiating a WBC heavyweight title bout with Dillian Whyte, had been regularly goading Paul in the build-up, even leaving him voice mails, while John had caused uproar by insulting Paul's girlfriend, Julia Rose, during a virtual press conference.
Fury's father has since demanded Paul fight his son in March 2022, threatening to come to America and give him and brother Logan "a good hiding" if he refuses.
Paul currently boasts a 4-0 professional record, although the clash with Fury would have represented his first bout with an actual boxer. Fury himself is undefeated in his seven bouts to date.
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