After a three year hiatus from the sport, Ricky Hatton returned to the ring this past Saturday in his home-town of Manchester. In Hatton’s mind, it was his chance to redeem himself, rid himself of the demons that lurked in his mind and make people proud of him once more.
Ricky Hatton had nothing to prove to boxing fans when he faced off against former WBA champion Vyacheslav Senchenko. He had accomplished great things in the sport, and prior to his return, had only lost to the two best fighters of this generation. There is no shame in that.
The demons that permeated in the depths of his mind urged him to return to the ring. As he said pre-fight, it didn’t matter what anyone said. Even close friends and associates couldn’t ward off the voice of the demon. And so he returned.
Logic doesn’t always ring true, especially in boxing, but it did on this occasion. Three years away from the sport, ballooning in weight, substance abuse and mental health problems are all factors that would affect any man, in any profession. His mind thought he could once again become a world champion. His body, however, said no chance.
A clinical body shot delivered by Senchenko in round 9 brought proceedings to a halt. And that was that – not just for the fight, but for the return of Hatton.
The result, though, for Hatton, in the grand scheme of things, is irrelevant. What is important is that he has found the redemption he sorely wanted, and, moreover, that those demons have forever been silenced.
Worry was expressed by some after the fight had ended. Seeing him in tears in his corner and in tears during a quite ludicrous immediate post-fight interview, he looked a broken man. After what happened in the aftermath of the Pacquiao defeat, where he contemplated suicide and delved into the dark world of drugs and alcohol, fans were right to be worried. However, this time around, there is a difference.
Post-Pacquiao, Hatton had no focus. His only focus was when his next drink would be and when he could next score some of the white stuff. Now, though, Hatton has a superb stable of fighters to promote – and so far he’s doing a pretty good job of that. He is also a trainer for a couple of fighters in his stable. Those two focuses should prevent Hatton from sliding back into the murky world of drugs, alcohol and depression.
There’s not a fighter in the UK who can draw a crowd like Hatton. There’s not a fighter in the world today that can bring such emotion to fans, pundits, writers and journalists.
There’s only one Ricky Hatton.