by Kirk Jackson
On November 24th the world witnessed the end of a few careers in the sport of boxing. Former welterweight champion Carlos Quintana called it quits after suffering a 4th KO defeat from the hands of Keith Thurman and Ricky Hatton decided to call it quits after an unsuccessful comeback into the ring fighting in his hometown of Manchester.
Lasting 9 rounds with the Ukrainian fighter Vyacheslav Senchenko, Hatton succumbed to a body shot, suffering his 3rd KO loss in as many defeats, and hopefully for Hatton resulting in his final boxing match.
We should have seen this coming. Not many fighters have successful comebacks. A few successful comebacks come to mind:
Muhammad Ali after his 3-year exile from the sport; Vitali Klitschko after over three years out due to injury, winning the WBC heavyweight belt in his first comeback match against Sam Peter; Sugar Ray Leonard after his numerous retirements, although his last comeback against the late Hector Camacho did not go as planned for Leonard; George Foreman after a 10-year absence, concluding with regaining the heavyweight title in year 7 of his comeback campaign; and the successful Floyd Mayweather comebacks from numerous retirements that seem more like vacations.
All of the aforementioned fighters are better than Hatton, but regardless, comebacks do not end well. Especially if we look Hatton’s history in and out the ring in recent years.
It’s a well-known fact; Hatton enjoyed ballooning up in weight in between fights in his days as a junior welter and welterweight. Walking around anywhere from 180 to 200 pounds and then losing that excess weight to get down to 140 and 147 can put much strain on your body.
Mixing alcohol consumption along with a poor diet contributed to his unhealthy lifestyle.
Another factor was his fighting style and opposition in recent years. Hatton has a swarming fighting style, overwhelming his opponents with pressure, swift foot movement, high punch output, mauling his opponents and living up to his “Hit-man” moniker.
That aggressive style of fighters tend to burn out quicker compared to other styled fighters. Think of guys like Wayne McCullough, a young Mike Tyson or Juan Diaz most recently. Most of the time, this style of fighter will collect a lot of punishment while trying to create havoc inside the trenches.
Hatton has definitely accumulated a ton of punishment over the years. Hatton is also about five years removed from his prime, and suffered his first defeat via 10th-round TKO against Floyd Mayweather back in 2007.
Following his defeat from Mayweather, Hatton defeated Juan Lazcano in a controversial comeback bout in his hometown of Manchester. Hatton struggled in this fight, was stunned badly in the 8th and 10th rounds, with the referee aiding Hatton in the 10th round, stopping the action to tie Hatton’s shoes, while providing Hatton ample time to recover in the process.
Hatton definitely looked like he lost a step against Lazcano, lacking his usual endurance and seeming more vulnerable than ever before. And this was five years ago.
Hatton didn’t look like the same fighter against Lazcano and he looked like a shot fighter when he suffered a devastating KO at the hands of Manny Pacquiao back in 2009.
To be fair with his recent comeback against Senchenko, Hatton was ahead on all of the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. And even though Senchenko is not a household name, he is just recently removed from his WBA welterweight championship and far from a scrub.
Perhaps the path of redemption for Hatton would have went easier if he would have had a few tune-up fights to shake off the rust and assimilate himself to the in-ring conditioning required to be successful. A tune-up against former champ Junior Witter, who is coming off a defeat and is a rival of Hatton, may have been the better option for Hatton’s first comeback fight.
I understand they may have been trying to build up to a huge rematch between Paulie Malignaggi and Hatton. It could potentially be lucrative for both fighters involved and for the Showtime network.
The Hatton-Senchenko fight was broadcast on “Showtime Boxing” with Malignaggi, serving as one of the color commentators.
Malignaggi, by the way, dethroned Senchenko for the WBA welterweight belt earlier this year, and has been seeking redemption against Hatton, ever since he was defeated by the “Hit-man” a couple years ago.
Things did not go as planned with Senchenko playing the role of spoiler, and we are left wondering if Hatton should have even made his comeback in the first place.
Most people like Ricky Hatton: he is a guy you like to cheer for because of his sense of humor and endearing personality. I even rooted for the guy. But this recent attempt at a comeback just shows us the harsh realities of this cold sport.
With the demoralizing defeats from Mayweather and Pacquiao, binge eating, alcohol and drug consumption, and ballooning up in weight, Hatton may have never had a chance at a successful comeback, even if against a lower tier fighter.
Hopefully Ricky Hatton makes good on his word and retires permanently from the sport of boxing as a prize fighter.