Tag Archives: ricky

No Tiger Woods but alligators disrupt Zurich Classic

VIDEO: No Tiger but the alligators on the fairways are a hazard for Rose and Bubba

PUBLISHED:

00:48 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 26 April 2013

Ricky Barnes made the early running with an eight-under-par 64 in New Orleans despite the local alligators briefly holding up play in the opening round.

Boo Weekley came close, carding three birdies on his last five holes to open with a bogey-free 65. He was matched late in the afternoon by Lucas Glover, who had six birdies on the front nine (his second nine) en route to a 65 of his own. D.A. Points and rookie Morgan Hoffmann were another shot back after matching 66s.

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What a hazard: An alligator as it crosses the course during the first round

What a hazard: An alligator on the course during the first round at the Zurich classic

What a hazard: An alligator as it crosses the course during the first round

No fear: An alligator crosses through a sand trap on the 14th hole as golfers and caddies walk by

Sand trap: An alligator crosses the 14th hole as golfers and caddies walk by

Zurich Classic

Uninvited guest: The alligator crosses the 14th fairway during the first round of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic golf tournament

Capturing the moment: A caddie takes a photo as an alligator rests while crossing the 14th fairway

Capturing the moment: A caddie takes a photo as an alligator rests while crossing the 14th fairway

Minding his own business: A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap

Minding his own business: A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap

VIDEO: Alligator crosses fairway at the Zurich Classic

Gator on the green! Three-legged alligator gatecrashes PGA Tour…

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Another 10 golfers checked in at 5
under including Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler and 2006 Players champion
Stephen Ames, who needs a win this week to qualify for the 2013 event at
TPC Sawgrass.

A total of 84 players completed the
first round in red numbers. Not among them was 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang, whose three birdies were offset by three bogeys in an opening-round 72.

Guan Tianlang, 14, hits out of the tree line on the first hole

Bright start: Guan Tianlang, 14, carded an opening-round 72

Bubba Watson surveys the course with his caddie Ted Scott

Focused: Bubba Watson surveys the course with his caddie Ted Scott

 Justin Rose of England hits his tee shot on the 8th hole

Colourful: Justin Rose of England hits his tee shot on the 8th hole

Ricky Burns versus Miguel Vazquez rescheduled

Burns' title clash with Vazquez rescheduled for April after Mexican eats dodgy seafood

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

01:10 GMT, 4 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:05 GMT, 4 March 2013

Ricky Burns' world title unification fight against Miguel Vazquez has been rescheduled for April 20.

The Scot was due to tackle the IBF lightweight champion at Wembley Arena on March 16 but the Mexican has been suffering from a severe viral infection after contracting food poisoning from seafood.

Nathan Cleverly's mandatory world light-heavyweight title defence against Robin Krasniqi has also been moved to the later date.

Disappointed: Ricky Burns' fight with Miguel Vazquez has been rescheduled for April 20 at Wembley Arena

Disappointed: Ricky Burns' fight with Miguel Vazquez has been rescheduled for April 20 at Wembley Arena

A doctor's report dated February 25, seen by Sportsmail, revealed that Vazquez presented with a temperature of 40C along with sickness and a fast heart rate. He was advised to rest for at least 10 days.

Promoter Frank Warren said: 'It’s very unfortunate that Vazquez has had to withdraw so close to the fight, but it is on medical grounds, which is beyond my control, due to his viral infection, and we have his doctor’s certificate confirming this.

'Therefore I have had to postpone the fight, not canceled as stated in some media reports, to Saturday April 20 at Wembley Arena. Everybody is disappointed by this postponement, but we have worked hard to ensure that Ricky’s unification fight still goes ahead.'

Burns, who holds the WBO belt, had earlier revealed his disappointment at the news.

He tweeted: 'Absolutely gutted this fight ain't happening, another training camp n it's fell through! Not only that, feel sorry for the fans, my friends and family who have now booked tickets, flights and hotels for 2 fights for it to fall through. Sorry every1!'

Switch: George Groves will announce his move to rival promoter Matchroom

Switch: George Groves will announce his move to rival promoter Matchroom

The 29-year-old had been due to fight first Liam Walsh and then Jose Ocampo last December but both pulled out at short notice.

His fight with Vazquez was announced in January but last month the Mexican cast doubt over whether it would go ahead.

'There
is nothing concrete,' he said. 'I am waiting on the response from the
promoters. If they come to an agreement, there will be a fight.'

The announcement follows the shock defection of George Groves to rival promoter Eddie Hearn which is expected to be confirmed on Monday.

The super-middleweight was also due
to fight on the London card but will instead fight a week earlier at the
same venue on Matchroom's 'London's Finest' bill.

Last man standing: Nathan Cleverly's title defence against Robin Krasniqi has also been rescheduled

Last man standing: Nathan Cleverly's title defence against Robin Krasniqi has also been rescheduled

A statement from Warren Promotions
confirmed: 'George Groves has withdrawn from the Wembley Arena show
promoted by Frank Warren on Saturday March 16.

'Groves was due to challenge for the vacant European super-middleweight title against Mohamed Ali Ndiaye that Mr. Warren won the purse bid for on January 11.

'Groves has stated that he is not interested in boxing for the EBU title at this moment and would like to take his choice of fights in another direction.

'Mr Warren would like to wish George all the best with his career and looks forward to working again with him in the near future.'

Cleverly is also reported to have been suffering from a virus which left him unable to train for five days while Dereck Chisora remains hopeful of returning to the ring next month but has yet to have his hearing with the British Boxing Board of Control after his license was revoked last year.

Audley Harrison Prizefighter return, Ricky Hatton on Let"s Dance for Comic Relief: Jeff Powell boxing column

Big mouth Audley is BACK but vows to let his fists do the talking, Price ready for Thompson and how Hatton entertained us

-Jeff-Powell-Ricky-Hatton-Manny-Pacquiao-more.html”>Jeff Powell's review of 2012, with Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao and more
24/12/12

JEFF POWELL: De La Hoya on his way as Golden Boy applies for British license
17/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Harrison has returned to London from his Los Angeles home to take part in the Prizefighter tournament at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday.

But he has told promoter Eddie Hearn: 'Don't expect a word out of me before the night. I won’t be saying anything at the pre-fight media events.

This time I will be doing my talking with my fists.'

To which we can only say: Hear, Hear.

Harrison has kept us entertained down the years with his ego-centric monologues but after his collapses against David Haye and David Price the time really has come for him to throw punches,
not phrases.

Hearn says: 'Audley loves talking so it will be interesting to see if he can go through with this. I might help him by bringing some tape to the press conference and sticking it over his mouth.'

Promoters normally expect the boxers to help them market their shows and in that sense there are few better salesmen than Harrison. But Hearn is happy that the biggest name in his eight-man Prizefighter line-up has already sold out York Hall in record time.

Hearn says: 'We regularly sell out Prizefighter, usually with the last batch of tickets going in the week before the event.

'But this time the tickets all went within three days of the announcement that Audley is taking part. Maybe some fans want to see him knocked out but whatever the reason he still draws a crowd.'

Last time out: Harrison lasted just 82 seconds in Liverpool last October when David Price knocked him out

Last time out: Harrison lasted just 82 seconds in Liverpool last October when David Price knocked him out

A-farce: British boxing fans were left feeling short-changed after David Haye cruised to a three-round box office win over Harrison in 2010

A-farce: British boxing fans were left feeling short-changed after David Haye cruised to a three-round box office win over Harrison in 2010

Golden hour: Harrison was triumphant for Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

Golden hour: Harrison was triumphant for Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

Whether, at 40 now, this will be his last chance to do just that will depend upon how he fares on Saturday.

The winner has to win three three-round fights – quarter, semi and final – and if Harrison fails as spectacularly as he did against Haye and Price he could be forced into reluctant retirement.

However, a heavyweight Prizefighter triumph rescued his career once before and Harrison is such an enigma that it could happen.

The biggest dangers to him appear to be Martin Rogan, another former Prizefighter champion, the experienced Essex-based Pole Albert Sosnowski and American knock-out artist Travis Walker.

Ready to rumble: Martin Rogan

Hard-hitting: Travis Walker

Huge threats: Martin Rogan and hard-hitting American Travis Walker (right) are also in action at York Hall

The evening will also see the professional debut of Tom Stalker, the captain of Britain's successful boxing team at the 2012 Olympics.

Stalker's four-rounder against Kristian Laight will fill the gap between the second Prizefighter semi-final and the final.

Hearn says: 'It has seemed a bit unfair that the winner of the second semi has had so little time to recover. So we would like to fit in an attraction like this at every Prizefighter.'

Show time: Tom Stalker will make his professional debut on the Prizefighter card in Bethnal Green

Show time: Tom Stalker will make his professional debut on the Prizefighter card in Bethnal Green

Stalker fell angrily short of a medal at the London Games but his style would appear to be more suited to the professional game.

Nevertheless – be it morbid curiosity or not – Big Audley is the main attraction.

If this is to be his swansong, it would be churlish not to wish him well.

Prizefighter will be live on Sky Sports on Saturday night.

Price is all right and ready for Thompson fight

Contrary to a bizarre flurry of tweets suggesting that the fight is off, David Price is scheduled to continue his steady ascent towards a world heavyweight title shot by fighting American Tony Thompson in his home city of Liverpool on Saturday night.

Promoter Frank Maloney has condemned the rumours as a mischievous attempt to disrupt Price's progress but says: 'Although this has cost us a couple of days of ticket selling we still expect another big night in Liverpool.'

Thumbs up: David Price, who watched his beloved Liverpool thrash Swansea 5-0 on Sunday, will fight Tony Thompson this weekend

Thumbs up: David Price, who watched his beloved Liverpool thrash Swansea 5-0 on Sunday, will fight Tony Thompson this weekend

Maloney is guiding Price along a similar path to that by which he led Lennox Lewis to world heavyweight domination and the fight with Thompson – who is threatening to ruin those well-laid plans – represents another step in the right direction.

Two of Thompson's three defeats in a 39-fight career came at the fists of Wladimir Klitschko, who Price hopes to challenge for the majority of alpha-belts late this year or early in 2014.

Price v Thompson is live on BoxNation Saturday night via Sky Ch 437 or Virgin Ch 546.

Murray out to ruin the party for Martinez in Argentina

Martin Murray's audacious attempt to relieve Argentina's Sergio Martinez of the WBC world middleweight title in Buenos Aires will be screened live on BoxNation on April 27.

This is a fight which merits a wide audience and Murray deserves his chance to shine on international television.

Martinez is the world's outstanding middleweight and one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in boxing today. But he is in his late 30s and Murray is hoping that this will be the night when he slips slightly into decline.

Tough nut: Martin Murray will travel to Argentina later this Spring to fight Sergio Martinez

Home favourite: Martinez will be hoping to give the people of Argentina cause for celebration when he puts his world title on the lone against Murray

Showdown: Martin Murray faces a daunting task in Argentina when he collides with Sergio Martinez (right)

Argentina's president is promoting the event, in a football stadium, as part of a national day of celebration.

Murray must also expect increased hostility from the large crowd at a time when the dispute over the Falkland Islands is heating up once more.

But if they were looking for a no-risk festivity they could have picked an easier oppnonent.

Murray is a hard man and at the very least he will put Martinez through a fierce physical test.

Thanks for entertaining us, Ricky

Ricky Hatton was almost as big a hit in his first performance on Let's Dance for Comic Relief as he used to be in the ring.

Sinisterly clad as a member of the group Kiss, the Hitman threw himself into his routine with all the gusto which characterised his fights.

His choice of tune was appropriate – the Robbie Williams hit Let Me Entertain You. Hatton has never failed to do that.

Scroll down to watch the video

Let's dance: Ricky Hatton performs on BBC's Let's Dance for Comic Relief

It's a knockout: Despite a brilliant routine to 'Let Me Entertain You', Hatton was voted off by the judges

It's a knockout: Despite a brilliant routine to 'Let Me Entertain You', Hatton was voted off by the BBC judges

His appearance drew a large TV audience – just as his big fights always sold out.

But the most encouraging sight for his legion of followers was that he looked in good physical condition and very happy three months after his retirement.

Hatton promised he would not revert to his binge-boozing and junk eating after his one-fight comeback and the signs are that he will keep his word.

VIDEO Hatton enacts Robbie's Let Me Entertain You for Comic Relief

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Alexander passes up Money offer to hand Brook title shot

Despite a tweeted approach from Floyd Mayweather, Devon Alexander has promised to rearrange his world welterweight title defence against Kell Brook.

Despite the extra money he could make from fighting Mayweather, Alexander says: 'I owe this to Kell after postponing our fight because of my bicep injury.'

Brook will be even more encouraged to redouble his efforts in training if, as expected in the next few days, Mayweather confirms Robert Guerrero as the opponent for his comeback fight in Las Vegas on May 4.

Alexander versus Brook is being re-scheduled for late April or May.

Defending his title: Devon Alexander

Up for the fight: Kell Brook

Change of date: Devon Alexander (left) will re-arrange his postponed title fight with Kell Brook for April or May

Ricky Burns eyeing one more fight before Adrien Broner unification

Burns eyeing one more test before 'biggest fight of his life' against Broner

|

UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 17 December 2012

Ricky Burns will not fight rising American star Adrien Broner until April at the earliest.

The Scot was due to defend his WBO world lightweight title at the Excel Arena last Saturday but prospective opponents Liam Walsh and Jose Ocampo pulled out.

Burns, 29, is instead expected to return to the ring on January 26 in Glasgow while WBC champion Broner will be in back in action three weeks later.

Let down: Ricky Burns was unable to defend his title against Jose Ocampo

Let down: Ricky Burns was unable to defend his title against Jose Ocampo

Assuming both come through unscathed, a
unification showdown could take place in America in the spring – but
only if the price is right.

Burns' manager Alex Morrison told STV:
'I spoke to Ricky this morning and we decided he will not be fighting
Adrien Broner in February.

'Ricky didn’t want to jump from a non-event to the biggest fight of his life in a matter of weeks.

'He’ll make a defence of his title in Glasgow in January and we’ll look at Broner after that.'

Burns had been promised a 300,000 pay-day by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer to fight Broner in February.

'I hope we can make it happen then,'
he said. 'I don’t see why not and Ricky Burns will be paid two or three
times more than his previous best purse. The venue could be Atlantic
City on the East Coast.'

Mouthwatering match-up: Burns could be set to fight Adrien Broner in April

Mouthwatering match-up: Burns could be set to fight Adrien Broner in April

But Morrison added that it will take at least 400,000 to tempt Burns into facing the 23-year-old.

'Ricky will fight in America if the
money is right,' he said. 'That’s 400,000 net, after fees, after tax.
We could be looking at April.'

Broner offered to fly to London at
just two days' notice last week to face Burns, whom he accuses of avoiding
him when the pair fought at super-featherweight.

'I’m ready. Burns is a world-class fighter and I respect him for what he’s done.

'I wanted to fight him when he was WBO
super-featherweight world champion but he moved up a division. I hope
he doesn’t try to avoid me again.

'We should all try hard to make sure
our fight happens. There will be a lot at stake with two belts on the
line. Let’s give fans the kind of fight they want.

'We can all make a lot of money from this fight and be happy.'

Ricky Burns to face Jose Ocampo

Ocampo lined up for Burns night! Filipino in for injured Walsh to take on champion Ricky

|

UPDATED:

12:26 GMT, 29 November 2012

Ricky Burns will face Jose Ocampo in his latest world title defence after the Filipino was drafted in as replacement for the injured Liam Walsh.

Burns had been due to defend his WBO lightweight belt against Walsh next month until the Norfolk-based fighter hurt his back in a road accident.

Ocampo, rated 14 in the world by the WBO, will now face Burns at London's ExCeL on December 15.

Great Scot: Ricky Burns (right) celebrates his victory over Kevin Mitchell

Great Scot: Ricky Burns (right) celebrates his victory over Kevin Mitchell

The 23-year-old challenger has suffered five defeats, but most of them came in his teenage years, and 12 of his 17 victories have come inside the distance.

Should he win, Burns has been lined up for a unification fight with unbeaten American Adrien Broner, who added to his growing reputation by securing the WBC lightweight title this month.

The Scot, who swept aside Kevin Mitchell in four rounds in September, said: 'I'd say that this is going to be the hardest fight of my career so far against a young hungry challenger who will be looking to take my title.

Too good: Scot Burns beat Mitchell in four rounds in Glasgow

Too good: Scot Burns beat Mitchell in four rounds in Glasgow

'Filipino fighters are as tough as they come, just look at (Manny) Pacquiao and Nonito Donnaire, like the Mexicans and Africans they come to have a fight and Ocampo will do just that.

'If he fights like those two, as people say he does, then I'll be in for a tough night.

'It's unfortunate that Walsh had an accident and had to pull out of our fight, but I'm a world champion and I have to deal with these changes and I'm confident I'll deal with Ocampo.'

Bad luck: Liam Walsh (left) was forced to pull out of his fight with Burns

Bad luck: Liam Walsh (left) was forced to pull out of his fight with Burns

Promoter Frank Warren added: 'It's going to be hard for Ricky, he's been training to face Walsh and in an ideal world he would have had more time to prepare for the different style that Ocampo will bring.

'He can't afford to slip up, though, we are virtually there with the fight against Broner for next year and that will only happen if he comes through against Ocampo.'

Ricky Hatton feels pain of defeat

Tears follow tragic mistake that turned into an ordeal for brave Hatton

|

UPDATED:

01:01 GMT, 25 November 2012

Reality dawned deep into the ninth round. A left hook to the body stripped away the layers of self-delusion.

It ended the fight and it ended the unwisely extended career of Ricky Hatton.

He finished on his knees, gulping for breath, betraying the pain.

Sad end: Ricky Hatton after being counted out

Sad end: Ricky Hatton after being counted out

The tears began to flow, and Saturday night Manchester wept with him. His face was swollen, a purple bruise consuming his right eye.

He looked a broken fighter, a brutally broken man.

Vyacheslav Senchenko, at 35 a year older than Hatton, a smooth technician yet not a notoriously heavy puncher.

Body blow: Vyacheslav Senchenko knocks Ricky Hatton out with a body shot

Body blow: Vyacheslav Senchenko knocks Ricky Hatton out with a body shot

He is not a man equipped to take out a former world champion with a single body shot.

Yet you sensed that he had simply inflicted retribution for the life that Hatton had led during his three-and-a-half years of retirement.

Cocaine, depression, alcohol abuse, wanton excess; the list is notoriously long. And they all came rushing to the surface when Senchenko threw that shot.

Hatton had given his all in the only way he knows. His timing was helplessly astray, his ability to sustain pressure was sadly reduced.

But he came forward incessantly, despite being a caricature of the fighter he used to be.

Rough and tumble: The fighters fall to the canvas

Rough and tumble: The fighters fall to the canvas

Fighters are the most self-deluding of sportsmen, yet in the abject moments of defeat, Hatton seemed to glimpse the inevitable.

'I keep picking me a*** up off the floor,' he said. 'I don't know how many times I can do it. I'm not a failure, me. I'm not a failure. I'm so sorry, so sorry.'

But the words were spoken from a face which was taking on gargoyle proportions.

Even a light-punching welterweight can inflict depressing damage, and Senchenko had revealed a craftsman's style.

Bruised and battered: Ricky Hatton after the fight

Bruised and battered: Ricky Hatton after the fight

Hatton had gone through his routine in the manner of an old music-hall artist; knowing the lines, reacting to the cues.

From the grotesque choreography of the ring walk to the all-action, fast-punching, not-a-backward-step style, he had demanded the applause of 20,000 Mancunians, many of them quite sober.

But all the time you remembered that this was the man who had swollen his body to 15 and a half stones, and had then been required to lose half of his body weight to re-enter the ring.

Of course, he had little to offer in terms of endurance and punch tolerance. And yet, the ending still held the power to shock, as his legs betrayed him and his lungs refused to suck in the air.

The end: But will Ricky Hatton consider trying to fight on

The end: But will Ricky Hatton consider trying to fight on

The flatterers were already whispering as he left the ring.

Senchenko was a tough choice for the first fight back. Perhaps an easier opponent next time, working slowly to another title shot

But it was nonsense, dangerous nonsense. The comeback was a tragic mistake, the fight a terrible ordeal.

The career is over. And Ricky Hatton knows it, better than anyone.

Ricky Hatton LIVE v Vyacheslav Senchenko

LIVE: Ricky Hatton v Vyacheslav Senchenko – round-by-round coverage of the big fight

|

UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 24 November 2012

Ricky Hatton's long-awaited comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena ended in bitter disappointment in front of a sell-out crowd.

Read Sportsmail's live round-by-round coverage of the fight as well as the best of the action from the undercard which featured middleweight Martin Murray as he takes on Jorge Navarro and Scott Quigg's rematch against Rendall Munroe.

Devastating: Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in defeat

Devastating: Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in defeat

THE NIGHT'S BIG FIGHTS

8pm: Scott Quigg v Rendall Munroe (Quigg wins in sixth round)

9pm: Martin Murray v Jorge Navarro (Murray wins in sixth round)

10pm: Ricky Hatton v Vyacheslav Senchenko (Senchenko wins in ninth round)

19:00: Welcome
to Sportsmail's coverage of Ricky Hatton's comeback fight against
Vyacheslav Senchenko. I'm ringside at the Manchester Arena ahead of what
promises to be an explosive, and emotional night of boxing.

I'll
bring you round-by-round updates from the main event as well as the
best of the action from the undercard which features Scott Quigg v
Rendall Munroe (8pm) and Martin Murray v Jorge Navarro (9pm).

Hatton is expected to make his ringwalk at around 10pm for what will be a 10-round fight.

19.05: Sergey
Rabchenko has made a successful first defence of his European
light-middleweight title after a split decision victory over Cedric
Vitu.

The
Belarusian is trained by Ricky Hatton and was given a tough examination
but scraped through on the scorecards: 116-113, 114-115, 116-113.

Vitu, who had 'Cantona 7' on his shorts, suffered his second career defeat from 37 contests.

Ready lads Martin Murray (L) and Jorge Navarro will go head-to-head later on tonight

Ready lads Martin Murray (L) and Jorge Navarro will go head-to-head later on tonight

19.15: Vitu's
corner are furious at the decision but unfortunately my French amounts
to 'merci' and 'oui'. I did hear 'terrible' however which I suspect
means the same in English.

The next fight promises to be a belter. Stephen Foster Jnr takes on Gary Buckland for the British super featherweight title.

It's fair to say the acoustics in here are phenomenal. I doubt the roof will still be in place come 10pm.

19.28: A
lot of holding in the opening three rounds and the referee has been
quick to warn both men but Wales' reigning champion Gary Buckland has
been on top of Foster Jnr thus far.

19.42: Foster Jnr is the home favourite but both men are being well supported in the Arena which is steadily filling up.

The challenger has a nasty cut on his head after the two came together in the sixth round.

The blood looks to be running into the eye which could spell danger. Buckland remains in front on my card.

19.46: The referee calls for the doctor at the start of the seventh but he gives Foster Jnr the ok to continue.

This
fight has suddenly comer to life with both men throwing caution to the
wind. If the fight was stopped now, we would go to the judges' cards.

19.54: Foster
Jnr's corner have pulled their man out at the end of the eighth round
which means Buckland remains his British title. It was a nasty cut but
the Welshman had been on top throughout.

Hyped: Hatton's fans were out in full force at yesterday's weigh-in

Hyped: Hatton's fans were out in full force at yesterday's weigh-in

Hyped: Hatton's fans were out in full force at yesterday's weigh-in

20.00: Ricky Hatton is in his changing room and will be making his ring walk in two hours' time.

Next up is the super-bantamweight rematch between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe.

The
two first met back in June when a clash of heads saw the latter badly
cut and the fight stopped in the third round which meant it was scored a
technical draw.

Quigg
is the younger man and will need to win to continue his rise and keep
alive hopes of an all-British showdown with Carl Frampton.

20.05: Both men are in the ring and I'll be bringing you round-by-round coverage from here on in.

If Quigg is to be believed, he was just getting warmed up when the first fight was brought to an abrupt halt.

I expect the Bury man, who expelled himself from school to concentrate on boxing, to prevail on points.

Over and out: Rendall Munroe (right) is downed in the sixth round

Over and out: Rendall Munroe (right) is downed in the sixth round

The
interim WBA world super bantamweight title is on the line here which
doesn't mean a whole lot but will propel the winner closer to a world
title fight.

Munroe
is looking for his second shot at the best in the business after losing
to Toshiaki Nishioka on points for the WBC belt in 2010.

20.18: Round 1: A watchful start from both men but Munroe landed the better punches with a couple of lefts to the head.

A little after at the bell. My score (Quigg first) 9-10.

20.22: Round 2: Quigg
ups the ante in the second session but Munroe tucks up well to deflect
the punches on to his gloves. Nevertheless, the Bury man does enough to
nick it. 10-9.

20.26: Round 3: Quigg
begins and ends the stanza well but Munroe gets thorough with an
uppercut and a strong left hand. A straight right from Quigg on the bell
is not enough to rescue it 9-10.

Hammer: Munroe had no response for the stinging blows to the body

Hammer: Munroe had no response for the stinging blows to the body

20.29: Round 4: both
men are unrelenting and this us shaping up to be a cracker. Quigg is
making a point of targeting the body and is getting through. Munroe has
the greater power though 10-9.

20.32: Round 5: Munroe
bizarrely stops mid round to complain about Quigg hitting round the
back, leaving himself exposed and the Bury man pops out a strong jab.

This session could be the start of Quigg dominating after a fine flurry towards the end 10-9.

20:36: Round 6: All
over! Munroe takes a knee with a minute of the round remaining and
although he's up at four, another flurry from Quigg has the same result
but this time he stays down. An impressive win for Quigg who was getting
in top.

20.50: That was impressive from Quigg and he's made a real statement with that stoppage.

He was clearly targetting the body throughout and it paid dividends in that sixth round.

Never
the most spectacular of shots to watch but the damage is all to clear
to see; just as Yusaf Mack after his defeat to Carl Froch last weekend.

The first rendition of 'Hatton Wonderland' rings round the arena and the band are in fine form.

Next up is Martin Murray against undefeated, but untested Jorge Navarro.

Impressive: Scott Quigg ended the fight in the sixth

Impressive: Scott Quigg ended the fight in the sixth

21.00: Both fighters are in the ring and both bring undefeated records.

Murray
drew with then world champion Felix Sturm in Germany last December but
has a frustrating year since, fighting just once against Karim Achour in
June.

The St Helens man is expected to face Sergio Martinez on April 27 in Argentina if he comes through this one intact.

Navarro
hails from Venezuela and has only a dozen contests to his name, winning
10 by KO. The 27-year-old could be anything but it wouldn't be the
first time we've seen a South American come with a 100 per cent record
only to look below-par when truly tested.

21.07: Round 1:
Perhaps I was a little harsh on Navarro. He comes out looking to fight,
controlling the centre of the ring and forcing Murray back to the
ropes.

But
the Venezuelan doesn't manage to connect with his opponent and looks to
be struggling when Murray lands, as he does with a big right hand that
sends Navarro to the canvas with seconds of the session remaining.

He beats the count and comes under sustained pressure but covers up well. My score (Murray first) 10-8

21.13: Round 2: Navarro
remains keen to take the fight to his opponent despite the knockdown
but I'm not convinced he has the power to hurt Murray who works well off
the jab without ,looking spectacular.

His
middleweight rival Matthew Macklin is commentating on the fight for BBC
Five Live alongside Barry McGuigan and will be an interested spectator
10-9.

21.16: Round 3: Murray knows he has the tools to hurt Navarro but doesn't seem overly concerned about finishing the job early.

Getting some rounds under his belt wouldn't be the worst thing for him but an impressive showing wouldn't go amiss either.

He ends this round with a solid left to the body which leaves Navarro wincing 10-9.

21.20: Round 4: Navarro gets through with a left hook to the body which Murray takes offence to and responds with a swift one-two.

The St Helens man has his hands low at several points in the round as if now unconcerned by his opponent's power.

A couple of decent exchanges ensue but nothing to get us on the edges of our seats. 10-9.

21.25: Round 5: Murray
senses blood now that he's worked our his opponent.

He lands with a
right then a left and then with 50 seconds remaining, peppers Navarro's
marked face but the visitor stays standing 10-9

21.27: Round 6: ALL OVER! Murray looks
impressive when he lets his hands go and Navarro is down again after
another big right.

He rises on eight but its only a matter of time and
he is put out of his misery his corner, they throw in the towel after another unanswered
barrage.

Easy does it: Martin Murray holds his arms aloft with the WBA Interim Middleweight Title in Manchester

Easy does it: Martin Murray holds his arms aloft with the WBA Interim Middleweight Title in Manchester

21.30: Once he started letting his hands go, Murray was impressive but as suspected, Navarro wasn't up to much.

Murray hopes to fight again before taking on Martinez in what will be his toughest assignment to date by a long way.

Next up… Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton is back!

21.35: We actually have another bout before Hatton. highly-rated Adam Etches will be in action in an eight-round middleweight contest.

21.50: Etches has won his fight. Hatton is on track to be in the ring at 22.00.

Hold onto your hats!

21.55: Michael Buffer is ringside and preparing to step through the ropes to announce the fight.

Heavyweight champion David Price is also in the audience. This should be a cracker!

21.59: Buffer
enters the ring to a rapturous reception. I can only imagine what this
is going to be like when Hatton steps back into the ring.

22.01: The crowd are in full voice now! 'There's only one Ricky Hatton… Walking in a Hatton Wonderland!'

There's a real din in the MEN now.

Ringside,
there's a few celebrities too. Boxing greats Roberto Duran, Joe
Calzaghe as well as former footballers Paul Dickov and John Hartson!

Hatton will be out in just a few minutes now!

22.07: They are still not out. With all this noise, I hope Senchenko hasn't bottled it!

22.08: The
crowd have just caught a glimpse of Hatton waiting to come out on the
screens. He's pacing in the dressing room in his blue-trimmed shorts.
They let out a massive roar!

22.10: This is a 10-round fight at welterweight.

If
the Hitman wins this one, he could face old foe Paulie Malignaggi in a
home and away two-bout showdown starting in New York in spring.

22.14: Senchenko will come out first. He only lost his world title to Malignaggi six months ago in his only career defeat.

He
is taller than Hatton and boxes behind the jab, but if Hatton's as
sharp as he says he is, expect to see him get inside the Ukrainian and
stop this fight late on after a tirade to the body.

22.16: Senchenko, on cue, is on his way out. Cue a chorus of boos from the partisan crowd.

Here he comes: Ricky Hatton makes his long awaited return to the ring

Here he comes: Ricky Hatton makes his long awaited return to the ring

22.20: Here he is! The 34-year-old comes out as the 20,000 fans join in the chorus of Blue Moon!

Hatton is, of course, a lifelong Manchester City fan.

He
joins Senchenko in the ring. It's hard to resist joining in to be
honest. The decibel level rises again as he enters the ring.

But can he roll back the years Over to Michael Buffer again, with both fighters in the ring.

22.23: Hatton is pacing the ring, and Senchenko reveals he's wearing a MANCHESTER UNITED shirt! Cheeky.

Buffer can barely be heard above the din. But they all tune in – and join in – for the 'Let's get ready to rumble!'

22.29: Round 1: We're underway and Hatton has completed his first round in three and a half years.

The
Hitman and Senchenko are battling for the initiative. Hatton catched
his opponent flush on more than one occasion and relentlessly stalks the
Ukrainian, edging the round 10-9.

22.33: Round 2: So much for a more defensive Hatton! He is still that all-action fighter we know and love, with some wild shots coming in.

He has Senchenko in trouble with a sharp left-right, but the visitor shows a little bravado and beckons the Mancunian on.

Hatton is looking good, but must be wary of the taller fighter. 10-9.

Malignaggi has moved to ringside from the pundits' box. Is he preparing to greet the Hitman after an early finish

22.37: Round 3: Hatton is well on top in the third. He's got Senchenko rockingwith a left hook and then a straight right.

The
Ukrainian makes out he's not hurt but he must be. This fight is going
the right way for Ricky, but he's still catching a few of his own.
Senchenko lands a straight flush on the chin late in the round. 10-9.

22.41: Round 4: That was his best round yet. Senchenko tries to showboat again as he holds his arms out after taking a huge hit.

The
final minute is all Hatton though. A right to Senchenko's face, then
hatton pushes him against the ropes and delivers an uppercut.

Hatton smells blood here, and the home crowd are baying for a knockout. He must be patient though.

Senchenko will be hoping he'll tire after three years off!

Ouch: Hatton delivers a blow to Senchenko's body

Ouch: Hatton delivers a blow to Senchenko's body

22.45: Round 5: Senchenko
takes that round. Hatton was a little more sluggish, which could be a
worry for the Mancunian. That was a closer round, but the Briton is
still up in this one for me.

Both fighters are marked, but nothing serious at the half-way point. 10-10.

22.50: Round 6: That
was a worrying round for Hatton. He ships a big right hand and then
slips while attempting a wild left which misses by a mile.

He needs to get those hands back up and fight smart. He was picked off a number of times in the sixth.

There's still four rounds to go and he's got it on points… as it stands. 9-10

At his mercy: Hatton started the fight well but let up as the rounds went on

At his mercy: Hatton started the fight well but let up as the rounds went on

22.54: Round 7: Another round to Senchenko but he does have a nasty cut under his left eye.

He
is beating Hatton to the punch with worrying regularity. The crowd are
really backing Hatton though. It's the jab that does it this time, and
forces Hatton to chase Senchenko down to hit back. 9-10.

22.57: Round 8:
A better round for Ricky, but he is trying too hard for the KO to
impress the fans. A better fighter than Senchenko would have punished
him by this point.

Hatton needs to get through these final two rounds, learn from this and have a warm up fight before taking on Malignaggi. 10-10.

23.02: ROUND 9: HATTON CAN'T GET UP! Hatton is down on his knees after taking a heavy body shot.

He can't beat the count and the
referee stops it. It's over! Hatton's comeback ends in crushing
disappointment after Senchenko ends his night early.

Hatton collapses on the mat and his team are in the ring and to his aid.

He's OK and eventually gets up, but he's crying his eyes out. Emotional scenes and that's surely it from Ricky Hatton.

The Hitman embraces Senchenko and that is that.

23.07: Buffer announces Senchenko as the winner. Some of the fans are booing the Ukrainian.

That's a little harsh. He won fair and square. Perhaps the Manchester United shirt didn't help.

Devastation: Hatton is crushed after being knocked out by a body blow

Devastation: Hatton is crushed after being knocked out by a body blow

Ricky Hatton offered title teaser by Paulie Malignaggi ahead of comeback

Hatton offered a title teaser by Malignaggi ahead of Manchester comeback showdown

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

Ricky Hatton's comeback opponent shied away from facing him in the pre-fight stare down.

Yet the world champion who Hatton hoped to relieve of his world title as early as next spring flew from America to say hello and assess the impending challenge.

Vyacheslav Senchenko arrived in Manchester aboard the Ukrainian president’s private jet but failed to appear at the town hall meeting with the Hitman.

Next opponent Ricky Hatton (right) speaks with Paulie Malignaggi at his pre-fight press conference

Next opponent Ricky Hatton (right) speaks with Paulie Malignaggi at his pre-fight press conference

Paulie Malignaggi turned up to talk pre-Christmas turkey about a two-fight deal to defend his WBA world welterweight title, starting in New York in April. If Hatton needed any more motivation to blow away Senchenko in the Manchester Arena on Saturday night then it came from Malignaggi.

The Italian New Yorker made it clear that if Hatton impresses in his first fight after three-and-a-half years then he is prepared to put his championship on the line almost immediately.

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Malignaggi, recovering from a cracked hand, said: ‘I’ll be ready by early April which I believe suits Ricky’s schedule. I’ll be rooting for him because while a rematch between him and me is a big fight he will have to look good to give added momentum to the interest in America.’

Hatton defeated Malignaggi when they were both campaigning at light-welterweight. However, the American put his career fully back on track by inflicting the only defeat of Senchenko’s career to win the welterweight belt and did it in Ukraine.

But a sell-out crowd of 20,000 will give their Hitman deafening support against Senchenko and Malignaggi said: ‘This guy will have trouble coping with the roars and with Ricky’s all-out aggression.

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

‘Ricky needs to show he’s back big time because it wouldn’t do my street cred much good to take him on again if he doesn’t look like the Hatton of old.’

The Hitman assured him not to worry. ‘You’re not just going to see the old Ricky Hatton but an even better Ricky Hatton. I know not everyone will believe it but just watch on the night.

‘I can’t wait to pour out all the pent-up tension and aggression on Senchenko.

‘A lot of people who saw me bouncing around Manchester drunk as a skunk and weighing 15 stone only five months ago wouldn’t have thought this possible.

'But now I’ve never felt better in my life.’

Manny Pacquiao: Ricky Hatton comeback is a mistake

Pacquiao on Hatton's return: I respect Ricky but he's making a big mistake

|

UPDATED:

13:42 GMT, 21 November 2012

Ricky Hatton is making a big mistake returning to the ring this Saturday. That is the verdict of Manny Pacquiao, the man whose knockout blow consigned the two-weight world champion into retirement three years ago.

The Hitman makes his big comeback this Saturday against Ukraine's former WBA welterweight king Vyacheslav Senchenko in front of a sell-out crowd at Manchester Arena.

But Pacquaio, who brutally defeated Hatton inside two rounds at the MGM Grand in May 2009, thinks the 34-year-old should have stayed away from the ring for good and insisted it is not something he will ever do once he walks away.

Comeback: Ricky Hatton undergoes his final preparations with his trainer Bob Shannon before Saturday's big return

Comeback: Ricky Hatton undergoes his final preparations with his trainer Bob Shannon before Saturday's big return

'I do not think it is a good idea to come back once a fighter has retired. It’s not something I plan on doing,' said Pacquaio, quoted in the Daily Express.

'I know how hard it is to get back into good boxing shape after being out of the training camp for only three or four months.'

Pacquiao is preparing for his first fight since controversially losing his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley last June with a fourth fight against rival Juan Manuel Marquez next month in Las Vegas.

Blow: Manny Pacquiao destroyed Hatton inside two rounds in May 2009

Down and out: Manny Pacquiao destroyed Hatton inside two rounds in May 2009 (celebrating, below)

Down and out: Pacquiao celebrates his win over Hatton in May 2009

Despite voicing his concerns over Hatton's return, the Filipino legend insisted he respects the Manchester fighter's decision.

'I cannot imagine what it is like after a number of years,' Pacquaio added.

'It’s not just the conditioning, it’s the reflexes, legs, mental conditioning, and so much more.

'But this is Ricky’s decision to make and I respect him for it.'

Crunch test: Hatton will collide with Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena

Crunch test: Hatton will collide with Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena

Ricky Hatton exclusive interview – I want to redeem myself

Ricky Hatton exclusive: 'I want to redeem myself. I want my kids to be proud of me'

|

UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 19 November 2012

The house that Ricky built stands up the road from the tough council estate where he grew up and from which he came out fighting.

Electronic gates open on to the driveway where he parks his Bentley but it still matters hugely to the Hitman that the fruits of his punishing labours do not cut him off from his gnarled roots deep in the suburbs of Manchester.

If you want to find the real Ricky Hatton go to Hyde — and seek. It is worth the journey to remind yourself there is no less spoiled, more honest sportsman in the land.

Hard work: Ricky Hatton is just days away from making his comeback in Manchester

Hard work: Ricky Hatton is just days away from making his comeback in Manchester

Who else would call his home Heartbreak Hotel Part tribute to Elvis Presley, part deference to the blows his hard old game inflicts.

Who else would have spent many days since he announced his comeback telling everyone interested that his girlfriend had to stop him slitting his wrists because he felt he had let down her, the kids, his fans and the country

Go also to be reassured — despite the scandal and self-destruction into which he descended during the three years since his last fight — that he is still the Pied Piper of hope for all the worse-off folk who live down the hill.

The 20,000 tickets for Saturday night’s comeback at the Manchester Arena sold out within hours even though the identity of his opponent was unknown.

‘Support like this gives me goose-pimples,’ he says. ‘Always has done. The people see me as one of their own and I am. They know I always give everything I’ve got, win or lose. That’s why they get behind me.’ Just as he gets behind Manchester City.

The sparring on this particular afternoon has been ferocious. ‘More like a proper fight, that was,’ he chuckles after beating up an eastern European duplicate of Vyacheslav Senchenko, the Ukrainian against whom he has to re-prove himself.

In conversation: Hatton talks to the Daily Mail's boxing correspondent Jeff Powell at his gym

In conversation: Hatton talks to the Daily Mail's boxing correspondent Jeff Powell at his gym

In conversation: Hatton talks to the Daily Mail's boxing correspondent Jeff Powell at his gym

The relentless toil was prolonged, too, with Hatton insisting on extra rounds. So we have to hurry back to the house because City v Ajax in the Champions League is coming up on the telly.

There is also work still to do. It is dark, cold and wet but he pulls on the trademark floppy hat and runs back out into the night to join a training partner in their regular 15 sharp sprints up a nearby hill.

As he goes he hugs Jennifer, his lady who stood by him through all the drink and drugs-related madness after his flattening by Manny Pacquiao, and asks: ‘Would you mind getting my tea ready The game will be kicking off.’

The pasta, greenery and tomatoes are duly waiting on the table. Then he and son Campbell are out of the hi-tech kitchen, through the kids’ playroom, past the indoor swimming pool, via the home gym and into the private cinema.

We miss kick-off but no sooner do we sit down than we’re on our feet again, in dismay. Ajax greet us by going two up. ‘What’s happened to defending in this country’ Hatton demands to know, banging the leather arm of his seat.

The Hitman’s link to his fervent public runs through football. The people’s fighter shares their love affair with the people’s game.

Hard at work: Hatton in the gym with his trainer Bob Shannon

Hard at work: Hatton in the gym with his trainer Bob Shannon

So much so that he has named one of the family dogs after an all-time City hero. This Franny Lee bears an uncanny resemblance to the original. He is a short, stocky, lively, lovable Shih Tzu who darts quickly hither and thither like a fox in the box — and has plenty to say for himself.

On City, Hatton says: ‘We’ve raised the bar by becoming champions. We all expect City to win the league again. That’s the No 1 priority for the supporters. I’ve felt all along that we’re still two or three years away from being real contenders for the Champions League. You have to pay your dues in Europe.’

Still, Hatton and son get excited as City come back to draw level with Ajax at 2-2. Then they jump into a high five as they appear to snatch a late winner. But it’s offside. So narrowly that we wonder how the distant linesman could see it. But offside nonetheless.

‘Yeah, OK, it was off,’ says Ricky. ‘Maybe for the best.’ In truth, the Hitman would prefer City to lose to Real Madrid tomorrow night and have done with Europe this time around. He explains: ‘I’d rather we finish bottom of the group than go into that waste of time called the Europa League. Maybe then we can take advantage in the Premier of playing fewer big games than the Reds and the rest through a key stretch of the season.’

Manager Roberto Mancini is on the screen. He is angry about the disallowed goal and the denial of a late penalty but he also looks disoriented.

Support: Hatton's girlfriend Jennifer (right) was distraught when he was knocked out by Manny Pacquiao

Support: Hatton's girlfriend Jennifer (right) was distraught when he was knocked out by Manny Pacquiao

Hatton says: ‘I like Mancini as a man but if it doesn’t come good in the League, I’m afraid it’ll be bye-bye to poor Roberto. Look, I can’t stand all the mugs in the stands who think they could do it better. I played a bit at right half (for the City academy among other teams) and I loved it.

‘I’m no football manager but I can see when a man’s struggling, the way I do in an opponent when I begin to get to him in the ring. Mancini sometimes is in danger of being hung on all these tactical switches of his.’

He takes no pleasure from that, saying: ‘It hurts when it’s one of the family. And unlike United and Chelsea and Arsenal, City are one big family — everyone from the players, coaches and directors to fans and stewards. It’s because we’re always fighting the shadow of big brother up the road at Old Trafford. If we’re going to win we all have to be in it together. So if one of the family can’t do his bit then I’m afraid he’s got to go.’

The family analogy hits home because Hatton has made a personal decision that is far more painful than paying off a multi-millionaire football manager.

The falling out between Ricky and his parents came to an ugly climax the night before he announced his comeback. The split had been festering and his father, Ray, went to Ricky’s gym to confront the issue. It is already a matter of infamous record that Dad took a swing at the lad, who rather than resort to his professional fists called the police.

All smiles: Hatton has turned his life around since deciding to return to the ring

All smiles: Hatton has turned his life around since deciding to return to the ring

Since Ray played for City and first indoctrinated Ricky in the club, many of their nearest are awaiting the reconciliation. They are to be disappointed.

Hatton keeps his counsel about the initial basis for the schism. But he is mortified by reaction on his own doorstep to the revelations of the drink and drug-fuelled excesses into which he sank.

As we sip tea by the hearth, he turns again to Jennifer and talks very candidly: ‘This lady went through more hell than anyone because of me. She had to stop me from killing myself when I had the knife to my wrists. She had more reason to feel angry than anyone but she was the one who stood by me when I needed it most. Never failed me.

‘I was at rock bottom and close to ending my life but Ray and my mum (Carol) never came round. Not once. I’m afraid it’s the finish for me as far as they’re concerned. It’s sad but it’s over. For good. There’s no going back now. Not for me.’

The silence is poignant but brief. He breaks it with a smile: ‘This is my family. Right here.’ A sweep of his tattooed arm takes in Campbell, Jennifer and their infant daughter Millie, as well as Franny Lee and their new puppy, a pet Chihuahua. ‘Look at my guard dogs,’ he says. ‘Such big, hostile beasts.’

The Hitman is laughing again. His comeback was launched out of fear of being remembered as ‘that fat idiot who won world titles but flushed it all down the toilet’. He adds: ‘I want to go down as a champion who redeemed himself, made up for letting everyone down and regained his self-respect. I want my kids to be proud of me.’

Standing in his way: Hatton takes on Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena on Saturday

Standing in his way: Hatton takes on Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena on Saturday

Is Campbell proud of him ‘Course I’m proud of my Dad. Very,’ says this bright, polite youngster. So much so that he is itching to follow him into the ring, adding: ‘I want to be just like him.’

Campbell is a good footballer — a City fan of course — and a promising rugby union hooker. But he wants to fight, and his mother, a former girlfriend of Ricky’s, has issued the terms on which she might relent.

Campbell has come home with a school report card full of As and just the occasional B grade. Excitedly, he tells his Dad: ‘Mum says that when I get straight As I can start boxing.’

You sense Jennifer is thankful the decision is not hers. She was the last of those close to Ricky to approve his comeback.

He says: ‘She was traumatised by the knockouts by Mayweather and Pacquiao. But she’s settled her mind and she’ll be back at ringside.’

She says: ‘At first I wanted him to stay out of it but I came to understand why he has to do this. I also realise that it’s healthier for him to box than live the life he’d fallen into. This time — yes, this time — I believe him when he says he’s a changed man.’

The end Hatton was knocked out cold by Pacquiao in Las Vegas when he last fought

The end Hatton was knocked out cold by Pacquiao in Las Vegas when he last fought

‘We all have to grow up some time,’ says Ricky. ‘This isn’t just a comeback for me, it’s a lifestyle change.’

There is further evidence of that in the effort he makes to restrain the industrial language once he arrives home. He lets only one syllable of vernacular slip all evening and promptly tells Campbell: ‘Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you . . . when I’m not swearing!’ Then adds: ‘Mind you, I was never any trouble at school. I just didn’t study.’

For the most part, Hatton is focused on the ring located up the back stairs at his thriving health club. He admits: ‘I was nervous as a kitten when I first started sparring again. Even though it was only against a couple of kids in the club, I was all over the place.’

With the help of his new trainer, Bob Shannon, it has slowly come back together. He says: ‘I began working out for my health’s sake five months ago so by the time I went into training camp proper I had got off the extra five stones in weight. So for the first time in years I’ve only had to work on my boxing skills and technique. Thanks to that I feel better and stronger than before any fight for a long time. I’m not nervous any longer, I’m excited.’

All change: Hatton has shed the pounds

All change: Hatton has shed the pounds

The gym can be a liar but, from what I saw, the relentless Hatton of old is on his way back, complete with the murderous body punches. So, too, is some of the zigzag head movement which might have kept him away from the blows landed by Mayweather and Pacquiao.

The physical comparisons with football are on his mind later, as we watch City. Hatton says: ‘I wasn’t going to say anything because some of these lads are my mates but when it comes to training they don’t know they’re alive. I go out to the training ground sometimes and what they do isn’t close to what boxers go through. To be honest, none of them would last five minutes in the ring.

‘Good luck to them with their big wages but when I look around this house I’m not only grateful but I know that what we’ve got has come through a lot of very hard work.’

That is why, when you ask what is his finest hour, he does not reach for the tape of his epic victory over Kostya Tszyu, which landed his first world title. Instead he walks us to the swimming pool and says: ‘We never had things like this. So the first day it was filled and I came home and saw Campbell swimming in there with his mates . . . that’s my proudest moment. I’m also glad this place is on my home turf.’

Little Millie has long been in bed by the time we finish talking but as I head into the night I look back to see Ricky, Jennifer, Campbell, Franny Lee and the Chihuahua framed in the bright, warm light of the open door.

Whatever happens on Saturday night, Heartbreak Hotel is the happiest of homes now.

Hatton v Senchenko will be live on Primetime on Saturday from 8pm for 14.95