A pair of retired boxing icons could be trading punches in the ring later this year, according to a report by Sky Sports.

Forty-three-year-old former two-division champion Hatton, one of the most beloved fighters to emerge on the British boxing scene in the 2000s, is in talks to face 48-year-old, three-weight division champion Marco Antonio Barrera, a hero of his native Mexico, in an exhibition bout sometime this year.

Were the fight to happen Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs) would be making his first foray into the ring since his retirement in 2012, when he was stopped by Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Senchenko with a body shot in the ninth round of a welterweight bout in Hatton’s hometown of Manchester. That bout was preceded by a three-year hiatus for Hatton, during which time, precipitated by a brutal knockout loss at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in 2009, Hatton initially declared his retirement from the sport.

Hatton has previously floated the idea of being involved in an exhibition against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya or Miguel Cotto.

Barrera (67-7, 44 KOs), on the other hand, has been somewhat active on the exhibition circuit. He fought Daniel Ponce de Leon and Jesus Soto Karass last year in exhibitions. Barrera is best known for his numerous bloodbaths with Erik Morales, Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Naseem Hamed, fights that made him a household name in the boxing world in the 2000s. Barrera’s last professional bout was in 2011, a second round technical knockout of Jose Arias.

A Hatton-Barrera exhibition would fall in line with a current trend of boxing oldsters returning to the ring, a pattern that has also been incredibly remunerative for some of the participants. Most famously, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. engaged in an eight-round heavyweight exhibition match on Nov. 28, 2020 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Promoted by Triller, the bout reportedly did 1.6 million pay-per-view buys.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has consistently flirted with and participated in exhibitions since his official retirement in 2017, upon stopping MMA star Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their 12-round welterweight contest, which turned out to be a financial bonanza, generating a reported 4.3 million pay-per-view buys, the second largest of all time, behind Mayweather’s 2015 match with Pacquiao. Most recently Mayweather went up against social media star Logan Paul in an eight-round exhibition that went the distance at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami last June. Mayweather has hinted that he could be returning to the ring soon, in Dubai, in what would be another exhibition.