Ricky Hatton Returns: The Hitman Is Back for More

Martin SaltCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2012

There's certainly only one Ricky Hatton.
There's certainly only one Ricky Hatton.Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Boxing's worst kept secret, at least in the United Kingdom, was today confirmed as former two-weight world champion and Ring Magazine 2005 Fighter of the Year Ricky Hatton announced his return to boxing after three years.

Hatton, 33, will return to the ring on the Nov. 24, 2012 at Manchester's MEN Arena in a card which will also include his protege Scott Quigg.

It's likely that Hatton will be fighting a journeyman opponent before his attempt to climb back up the boxing ladder. However, it's not as if the 'Hitman' has been short of fighters offering to be a potential opponents.

WBA World Welterweight Champion Paulie Malignaggi has been reasonably vocal in his wish to fight Hatton again and this would provide Hatton with a quick chance to regain world honours. Amir Khan has also touted himself as someone willing to share a ring with him.

Hatton had a superb career in boxing with high profile wins against the likes of Kostya Tszyu, Jose Luis Castillo and Paulie Malignaggi. The "Hitman" was undefeated in 43 fights until he finally lost to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather in December 2007.

After his stunning second round knockout defeat to Manny Pacquiao in May 2009, Hatton did not return to the ring and announced his retirement last year.

Hatton then stumbled into depression and drink and ballooned in weight. However, in the past two years Hatton has reinvented himself as a successful businessman and promoter and is now back to within a stone of his original fighting weight.

The main issue is whether Hatton will have lost any of the toughness and durability he once had after a substantial lay off.

With his businesses and past substantial career earnings, Hatton does not need the money. But the itch to go out on a high and redeem himself in the eyes of the boxing world has caused Hatton to return to the ring.

Hatton has long been one of Britain's most popular fighters and his fans will follow him in large numbers wherever he goes. It's this adulation that appears to be one of his main motivations to return. Hatton is also well respected by his fellow fighters and has the promotional pulling power to make a big fight.

Talking to BBC Sport, Hatton told reporters that, "I want British boxing to be proud of me again, the only way to convince everyone I'm back is by flattening someone on 24 Nov."

Whatever happens, Ricky Hatton's return will be one hell of a ride.