Ricky Hatton will return to the fight game in November, against Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko at the MEN Arena. In a ten round welterweight contest.
Hatton is a former two weight world champion. His last fight was in May 2009 when he was knocked, almost immediately, to the canvas by Manny Pacquiao. After announcing his return to the ring, earlier this month, he sold out the 16,000 seater MEN Arena in only 48 hours.
The Hitman has been back in the gym for some months and is, literally, half the man he used to be. The talk during his career was often about how much his habit of ballooning several stones in weight, during his down time, must inevitably take a toll on his constitution.
So it’s unclear what kind of fighter we will see return in November. Although Hatton is eyeing a potential fight with Paulie Malignaggi, the WBA welterweight champion. Perhaps some time early next year.
Hatton is 34, but will feel confident he can deal with Senchenko, who is a former welterweight champ himself. He lost the title to Malignaggi in his last bout. Malignaggi has been beaten by the Hitman before, but Hatton’s form remains a mystery after his three year extended absence from the ring.
Senchenko is a sterner test, than was perhaps necessary, for a fighter returning after three years sitting about the house. But it puts him in an ideal position to face Malignaggi, and a win would silence critics about his conditioning, as well as his desire.
The image of Hatton floundering on the canvas, after an all too quick knock out by Manny Pacquiao, is perhaps the true reason - aside from financial considerations - for Hatton’s return. He wants to dispel that image, to burnish a legacy. Or perhaps, as is often the case with old fighters, the call of the canvas was just too strong to ignore.
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