Two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton makes his return to the squared circle on November 24 following a three-year hiatus against Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena, England.
‘The Hitman’ last fought in 2009 where he was knocked out cold by Manny Pacquiao in two rounds. The Mancunian officially retired in July 2011 but confirmed that he was making his in-ring comeback in September, which was greeted with mixed reactions.
The 34-year-old has been boxing professionally since 1997 and captured world titles at light-welterweight and welterweight, amassing a record of 45 wins (32 K.Os) and two losses in the process.
A pressure fighter with an incredibly high work rate, Hatton defeated the likes Kostya Tszyu, Jose Luis Castillo and Paulie Malignaggi.
A noted body puncher, he only came up short against boxing’s best in Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr; who handed Hatton his first loss in 2007 via a 10th round stoppage.
But why does Hatton feel the need to make a comeback?
What made Hatton unique is popularity. Against Pacquiao, over 25,000 Britons flew to Las Vegas, Nevada to watch the bout. His ability to sell tickets made him a lucrative opponent for any fighter, which is still true to this day.
Prior to Senchenko even being announced as Hatton’s opponent, 18,000 people had purchased tickets within 48 hours of them going on sale.
Hatton has a successful boxing promotional company, trains fighters and also has his own health and fitness club. So money is unlikely to be a factor as to why he is making a return. Ending his career on a loss to Pacquiao, however, probably is.
Victory against Ukrainian Senchenko – who has 32 wins (11 K.Os) and one loss to his name – could satisfy Hatton enough to finally hang up his gloves for good.
Defeat, however, could be a disaster. It has been well publicised that Hatton fell into a depressed state and went into rehab after losing to Pacquiao and being beaten by Senchenko would not only derail his ambitions of continuing his boxing career but could lead to more personal problems too.
It happened following the defeats to Pacquiao and Mayweather but hopefully Hatton has put those demons behind him.
On paper, Senchenko is a stern test but was beaten by Malignaggi in April after being stopped on cuts and Hatton dominated the New Yorker when they fought in 2008.
But three years out of the ring means that there will definitely be ring rust and that Hatton’s likely to be past his prime.
Hatton’s comeback is great for boxing. He has a fan-friendly style, a charming persona and attracts fans like no other. But a return to the ring may not necessarily be what is best for his frame of mind.