Hatton calls time again after defeat
Boxing:Ricky Hatton announced his retirement from boxing after his ninth-round knockout by Vyacheslav Senchenko in Manchester on Saturday night, insisting: “I needed one more fight to see if I had still got it - and I haven’t.”
An emotional Hatton said he would devote his future to his family and his promotional activities after coming to the conclusion to call it a day despite having initially suggested he may consider fighting on.
A badly bruised Hatton said: “I found out tonight it isn’t there no more. I’m a straight-shooter and I tell the truth. I can look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I did my best, but there is always an excuse to find.
“I got in the best shape I possibly could but if I hadn’t been hit with that body shot I would have just scraped over the line with a points win and I honestly think I would still be telling you all the same thing.
“A fighter knows and I know it isn’t there any more. It’s too many hard fights, I’ve burned the candle at both ends, I’ve put my body through the mire in and out of the ring but it doesn’t matter how hard I train, I couldn’t have done any better.
“I’m a happy man tonight. I don’t feel like putting a knife to my wrists. I have got the answers I needed. I got the opportunity and I got the answers and no matter how upsetting it is, I have got to be a man and say it is the end of Ricky Hatton.”
The 34-year-old’s 10-round welterweight comeback fight was his first time back in the ring since a devastating second-round knockout by Manny Pacquiao in 2009, with many wondering if the Mancunian former two-weight world champion had anything left in the tank.
Hatton laboured at times before succumbing to a painful body shot which left a packed Manchester Arena crowd devastated.
Hatton had been hoping to prove something to himself, his critics and his demons after seeing his life fall to pieces since the Pacquiao loss.
He had insisted that, win or lose, just being back in the ring was an achievement following three years of depression, personal problems and battles with drink and drugs.
He decided not to warm up against a soft touch and instead opted to take on credible opposition in the form of former WBA champion Senchenko, whose only loss was in his last bout against former Hatton victim Paulie Malignaggi.
The 35-year-old eastern European’s record of 32-1 (21 KOs) heading into the bout was evidence of his solid stock while Hatton sought to add another win to his proud 45-2 (32 KOs) tally.
Given an emotional welcome as he was roared into the ring by a 21,000-strong capacity crowd to the familiar rousing sounds of ‘Blue Moon’, Hatton proved he was still comfortably the biggest draw in British boxing.
Hatton started aggressively without landing anything of note, until a left hook and short right connected. Senchenko landed a right of his own, though, as the home fighter looked to shake off the ring rust and did enough to win the round.
Senchenko, boasting a significant height and reach advantage, landed a nice body shot early in the second but Hatton looked classy as he evaded a hook to the jaw and landed one to the ribs.
Hatton’s chin stood up to a solid right and he came at Senchenko, before an uppercut on the bell ended a very tight round.
Hatton had success in the third with a succession of left hooks thrown with his entire body weight behind them. He took a stiff left not long after but remained the aggressor, bobbing his way in and landing trademark hooks and body shots.
A straight right by Senchenko landed smack on Hatton’s nose, however, and was the best shot of the round.
A straight right followed by a body shot in the fourth were decent from Hatton and another right stung Senchenko on the way in.
Hatton’s left hooks were wild but occasionally successful but Senchenko sporadically landed hard rights to give him food for thought.
Two rights from Senchenko early in the sixth again gave evidence that Hatton is not a shot fighter as the Briton swallowed them easily. He did, however, seem to lose the round as the first signs of tiredness crept in.
Senchenko, who had picked up a cut under the left eye, landed a lovely left hook of his own in the seventh as he had another good round.
The Ukrainian landed several power shots which did seem to take their toll in the eighth as his momentum built and another right on the bell irked the flagging Hatton.
The Englishman, whose only other previous loss had come against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, would have been glad at this stage the bout was only slated for 10 rounds rather than 12.
But Hatton was floored in the ninth by a left to the body which sent him crashing to the floor in agony. The crowd, in a frenzied panic, urged their hero to rise but the brave Hitman was simply in too much agony as referee Victor Loughlin waved the bout off with eight seconds left in the round.
Hatton was visibly pained for minutes afterwards but could perhaps take some comfort from the continuous renditions of ‘There’s only one Ricky Hatton’ which rang around the arena.