Ricky Hatton comeback confirmed
Former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion Ricky Hatton will return to the ring on November 24 after over three years in retirement.
The news was formally confirmed at a press conference, and while no opponent has been revealed as of yet, the venue has been confirmed as the Manchester Arena.
“It’s great to be back," Hatton said at the gathering.
“There are a number of reasons why I want to return. People ask me what I have to gain, that I lost to two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and that they don’t want to see me tarnish my legacy.
“It’s well documented what happened to me the last time I entered a boxing ring. It was a two-round demolition at the hands of Manny Pacquiao. Nobody wants to go out like that.
“Since that defeat I was forced into retirement and my life turned to mush. I picked things up as a promoter but that just doesn’t fill the buzz.
“When I began working with the lads in the gym the fire began burning a little and I got some of my shape back.
“This is more than a comeback to me. People don’t know what’s going on between my ears.”
The 33-year-old ‘Hitman’ formally retired in July 2011, two years after losing his final fight via second round knockout to Pacquiao.
Hatton has since been caught up in a cocaine scandal after being recorded on film taking the Class A drug but after entering rehab has since garnered a respectable reputation as a trainer and promoter with his company Hatton Promotions.
Notable boxers affiliated to the stable include his younger brother Matthew, British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Martin Murray and British and intercontinental super-bantamweight title-holder Scott Quigg.
The promotion firm was dropped earlier this year by Sky, however, and a return to the ring appears central to Hatton’s plans to bring his company back to television.
His decision comes a shade over 15 years to the day that Hatton made his professional debut with a TKO of Colin McAuley after one round at Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes on September 11th 1997.
He then embarked on a 43-fight undefeated run over the next decade, winning the then-vacant WBO intercontinental light-welterweight strap against Guyana’s Dillon Carew in 1999.
A unanimous decision victory over Jon Thaxton at Wembley in October 2000 added the division’s British title to his resume before a career-defining war with Australian Kostya Tszyu at Manchester’s MEN Arena in 2005 saw Hatton win the IBF and The Ring world championships when Tszyu failed to emerge for the 12th and final round.
After WBA light-welterweight and welterweight wins over Carlos Maussa and Luis Collazo, Hatton would eventually suffer his first defeat with a round 10 stoppage at the hands of Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas in 2007.
The defeats to Mayweather and Pacquiao were the only blemishes on his 47-fight record.
But promoter Frank Warren, who worked with ‘The Pride of Hyde’ up until 2005, stated his concern at the prospect of Hatton stepping back through the ropes.
“I’d prefer Ricky not to box. He’s not going to get any better at the age of 33, but it’s his decision in the end,” he said.
“He’s returned to the gym and that has given him focus and direction, but I’d rather he stay there training and not fight.
“I hope he’s still got it, but it won’t be there. It just doesn’t happen like that.
“He’s had a lot of problems outside the ring.”
Oscar De La Hoya, another boxer who retired and found success as a promoter with his Golden Boy Promotions operation, believes Hatton is mature and responsible enough to make his own career choices.
"He makes his own decisions and if he wants to come back I believe it's great, boxing can always use a Ricky Hatton and the legions of fans he brings with him,” De La Hoya said.
"It will be very, very difficult. Any type of comeback, given any kind of fight, training for two-to-three months, in the gym dedicating yourself, it's going to be very difficult.
"But if anyone can do it, it will be Ricky Hatton because of the willpower, the strength he has inside of him.
“As long as he can train hard and really feel the passion to be on top once again, he can do it.
"I believe he can get back to the top but he has to be very calculative, he has to be very careful and train with passion."