Hatton straight in at the deep end against ex-world champion Senchenko in comeback fight
22:00 GMT, 28 September 2012
So determined is Ricky Hatton to be remembered as a brilliant boxer – not a busted flush – that is taking tougher opponents than he needed to for his comeback fight in Manchester on November 24.
The Hitman, 33, had two images in his mind as he insisted on meeting Vyacheslav Senchenko – a two-time World champion who has lost only once.
The first was of his partner Jennifer coming downstairs one morning to find him throwing a knife onto the kitchen floor after another failed attempt at suicide.
Banging his own drum: Ricky Hatton returns to the ring on November 24 in Manchester
Spoiling for a fight: Hatton is ready to go
The second was a glimpse of the future – that of his new baby daughter Millie growing up ‘and thinking of me as a great fighter who blew it on drink’.
Although Hatton is focussed on coming all the way back to challenge for the World title he once held, it is this legacy which has driven him back into fighting condition…and into the ring shortly.
As he unveiled Senchenko as his first test in the three years since Manny Pacquiao knocked him senseless in Las Vegas, Hatton said: ‘Other names (Katsidis and N’dou were mentioned) would have been tough enough but I wanted to put myself to a real challenge.
Double act: Hatton with his trainer Bob Shannon
Night to remember: Hatton with some of the fighters who will be on the undercard in November
'This is typical Ricky Hatton…me diving right in at the deep end.’
The Ukrainian is 35 but had not been beaten in 32 fights prior to his World title loss to Paulie Malignaggi recently.
Hatton says: ‘If I’m going to make
everybody proud of me again, then I know I’ve got to take on the tough
opponents. I want my family, boxing, my great fans and Britain remember
me as the hit man who came back to redeem himself as a grand fighter,
not the guy who did great but then threw it all away after a couple of
I love to box: Hatton says he is driven by his passion for the sport
'I got so depressed when I drank
myself up to 15 stone that I kept thinking about suicide. It’s all very
well saying that people in that position keep threatening to do it but
don’t. With many the day comes when they do kill themselves and the
closest I came was that day when Jennifer came down to the kitchen.’
Those memories – and the thought of
what little Millie might think of him in the years ahead, feed into
Hatton’s justification for a return to the ring, the wisdom of which has
divided boxing opinion. ‘I’m leading a healthier life now,’ he says.
‘I’m not going to let anyone down. I’m going to make everyone proud of
Last time out: Manny Pacquiao looked to have ended Hatton's career when he knocked him out in 2009
He looks in phenomenal shape already
after months of dieting, while the appetite for fighting is ravenous
once again. He says: ‘Redemption is the main thing but I missed it like
crazy. To tell you the truth I never wanted to retire in the first place
but after being knocked out by Pacquiao and all the personal problems
with drink and drugs, everyone thought it was for the best.
'Now I want to right the wrongs. I was so embarrassed. I was the man of the people and I let the people down.’
The rekindling of his passion goes so
far as to envisage fresh World title shots against even the likes of
Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, probably taking out British stars Amir
Khan and Kell Brook en route.
He says: ‘Of course that’s in my mind. Tell ‘em all the Hitman’s back and I’m coming for them.’
The way he looked on Friday, they would be unwise not to take him seriously.