Hitman's fairytale comeback ends with sobering retirement as Senchenko lands savage body blow to KO Hatton in the ninth
01:02 GMT, 25 November 2012
Ricky Hatton's boxing career came to an end when he was knocked out in the ninth round of his comeback fight.
After three and a half years out of the ring, the 34-year-old's decision to take on a tough opponent in his reappearance in the ring turned out to be a big mistake.
Vyacheslav Senchenko ruined the night for Hatton and his 20,000 raucous fans with a stunning body punch which left the Briton in agony on the canvas.
Down and out: Ricky Hatton winces in pain after a savage blow to the ribs ended his comeback in the ninth round
Hard though Hatton tried to beat the
count, there was no way he could continue and referee Victor Loughlan
counted him out after two minutes and 52 seconds.
It almost certainly marked the end of
his career as a boxer. The former world champion had vowed he would
retire and concentrate on his new life as a trainer and promoter if he
Now all those people with his
interests at heart will hope he keeps his word. When he had recovered
enough to talk, a tearful and shockingly bruised Hatton insisted he
would not rush into a decision.
'I am heartbroken,' he said. 'I am so sorry for my fans. I am not a quitter, I keep trying but it did not come off.
Mixed emotions: Senchenko (rear) is jubilant but Hatton looks distraught on the canvas
'I am not a failure but that is two
defeats now in a row. You don't know how much that hurts me. That is not
the way my career should end. I will sit down with my team and discuss
things. There is a lot I need to think about.
'I was doing some good things for
three and a half years out. He was a world champion, he only lost his
unbeaten record in his last fight. I want to fight for world titles and
so I had to beat someone like that.
'I thought I was maybe four rounds
up but there were clear signs of ring rust. I hurt him a few times and I
was winning. It was a good shot, I should have realised he was looking
for that. I suppose that is what three and a half years out of the ring
Hatton's trainer Bob Shannon added:
'I'm really disappointed. Ricky lost his concentration and got caught in
the fourth round and that took a lot out of him.
He was exhausted after that.
Harsh reality: Hatton is comforted by a member of his corner team following a chastening defeat in the ring
'He's not 24 any more, he's 34 and
he looked old in some of those rounds. Ricky's a proud man and that's
why he wanted to take on such a difficult opponent.
'He wanted to beat him better than
Paulie Malignaggi had. I don't know what happens now but I'm going to
have to sit down and have a good talk to him.'
Hatton had achieved his aim of
getting rid of the demons that have plagued him for the last three
years, when he turned to drink and drugs in the midst of depression, but
the years catch up with everyone.
Anxious moments: Hatton lay prostrate for about a minute and received medical attention following defeat
Three years away proved too much and,
although Hatton fought with typical courage and aggression and probably
would have sneaked a points verdict had it gone to that, he did not
have the punch resistance when it mattered.
Ring-rustiness could have accounted
for some of his failings as Hatton repeatedly swung wildly and missed
his taller opponent, a former WBA champion who had lost only once in 33
fights before last night.
But, on the strength of five
all-action opening rounds, before he began to tire, Hatton had probably
done enough to win the fight until a fierce left hook to the ribs ended
his dreams of a glorious comeback in the ninth.
Mutual respect: Senchenko and Hatton share their thoughts after a gruelling nine round bout
Hitting the target: Hatton connects with a left to put Senchenko on the back foot
'This was too difficult an opponent
to come back to,' said former world champion Barry McGuigan. 'He was an
accurate puncher and difficult. I did think when I saw he'd taken
Senchenko he would be the wrong style of boxer for Ricky.
'Hatton gave it his best shot but he
was slowly ground down and started to walk into sickening blows. 'His
jab just didn't work. If he'd got that going his right hand would have
fired off like a gun and he would have nailed his target. The longer the
fight went the more I was concerned for him.'
Hatton's life had gone into alarming
decline in the past three years. While many boxers struggle to cope with
retirement few fall as far as the popular hero, who had won 45 fights
and been a world champion at two weights.
His stunning defeat by Manny
Pacquiao, when he was clubbed to the canvas in two rounds, left no
argument about Hatton's status in his brutal sport – not quite up there
with the very best.
While he had been able to delude
himself that his only other defeat, to Floyd Mayweather, had been an
unfair outcome brought about by poor refereeing this time there was no
Promising start: Hatton began in fine fettle, but faded in the latter rounds
Caught out: Ricky Hatton recoils as Senchenko connects with a fierce right jab
He's back: Hatton makes his entrance at the MEN Arena