In September 2004 Miguel Cotto became a world champion for the 1st time. He stopped Brazilian Kelson Pinto in 6 rounds to win the vacant WBO world Light-welterweight title. 9 months later, Ricky Hatton won the IBF version from Kostya Tszyu.
Hatton turned pro in 1997 and won the title in his 39th outing. Cotto, on the other hand, turned over in 2001 and won the WBO title in his 21st fight. The gap in experience might be the reason why the fight never happened but Cotto had beaten some very experienced fighters by the time he met Pinto.
Hatton's first defence in November 2005 was also a unification bout against WBA holder Carlos Maussa. Maussa's first-ever loss was to Cotto in December 2003. Both scored stoppage wins over the Columbian, Hatton by Ko in 9 and Tko 8 for Cotto.
Although they both went on to win welterweight titles, Cotto kept going through the weights, eventually winning the WBC Middleweight title. Hatton never went above Welterweight.
The only other opponents they both faced were Paulie Malignaggi, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Cotto beat Malignaggi by a unanimous decision for the WBO light-welterweight, while Hatton scored an 11th round Tko in defence of his IBO light-welterweight title.
Hatton lost to Mayweather for the WBC welterweight title by an 11th round Tko and Cotto lost by unanimous decision at light-middleweight.
Hatton fought Pacquiao at light-welterweight and lost by a spectacular knockout in only 2 rounds and Cotto lost to the Filipino by 11th round Tko at welterweight.
Cotto stayed at 140lbs until 2006, Hatton until 2009 other than his Welterweight outings against Luis Collazo, Mayweather and Pacquiao.
That makes the ideal time for the fight to take place between 2005 and 2006.
Through most of Cotto's career, he was essentially a very smart pressure fighter, it was later on when he worked with Freddie Roach that he became a more versatile box-fighter, although still one taking the fight to his opponents.
One of the things that made Hatton such a fan favourite was the fact that you always knew what you were going to get. He made the opposition fight no matter how good they were at moving around the ring. Only Mayweather and Pacquiao found the answer to Hatton's perpetual advance. I know that Vyacheslav Senchenko stopped Hatton in his 2012 comeback, but I'm sure that would not have happened 4 years earlier.
So, there you have it. Two champions at the beginning of their world title reigns. Who wins?