Ricky Hatton's return to the ring is troubling. I'm always wary of a fighter coming back to the sport after a crushing defeat and a deteriorating personal life. That is essentially what we have with Hatton.
He is returning to the ring to take on Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday, November 24 after more than three years away from the sport. In his previous fight, Hatton was destroyed by Manny Pacquiao in the second round of their 2009 bout.
The loss sent Hatton's record to 45-2 with 32 KOs.
Per The Telegraph, Hatton is still haunted by the lopsided defeat.
He has battled depression, suicidal thoughts and weight problems since the loss. Now, he is intent upon reinventing himself, and Senchenko is the chosen opponent for Hatton.
Senchenko is coming off his first professional defeat. He was seriously out-boxed by Paulie Malignaggi in April, and the Magic Man actually scored a rare TKO victory over Senchenko. The Ukrainian wasn't badly hurt, but he was cut and clearly overmatched.
The stoppage was just, as letting the match continue would have only prolonged the inevitable.
Senchenko will be looking to rebound from this loss, and he will have a very high-profile opponent in front of him. Senchenko wants a shot at Amir Khan, per The Telegraph, but Hatton stands in his way.
We'll have to see if Hatton's quality still matches his celebrity.
Here's how you can catch the action:
When: Saturday, November 24, 5 p.m. ET
Where: Manchester Arena. Manchester, England
Live Stream: Showtime Anytime (Pay Service)
Here's some deeper analysis into this upcoming bout:
The Book on Hatton
Tale of the Tape (via BoxRec.com):
Nickname: The Hitman
Birth Place: Stockport, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Hatton has always been a good offensive fighter.
He throws a lot of punches, and he brings decent power to his fights. He doesn't have blazing hand speed, but he moves his feet well. That speed is what has given some opponents problems in the past.
It is a big reason why he was capable of closing distance and making fighters uncomfortable. This is a video of Hatton's biggest win, his TKO victory over Kostya Tszyu.
As good as Hatton has been offensively, he's almost as bad defensively. He doesn't move his head well, and now he must also contend with the fallout from being viciously KO'd by Pacquiao.
Some fighters are never the same after they endure the type of stoppage Hatton faced. Two years before that happened, Hatton was KO'd in the Round 10 by Floyd Mayweather Jr. At this point, his chin has to be considered a question mark as well.
Here is the brutal KO Hatton suffered at the hands of Pacquiao.
Even with considerable ring rust, Hatton figures to have a sizable speed advantage over Senchenko. He'll need to use his foot speed to create a moving target for the bigger and slower Ukrainian.
Hatton needs to bang the body in hopes of seeing Senchenko tire late like he did against Malignaggi. Senchenko's punches are pretty slow and methodical, so Hatton should be able to beat him to the punch regularly.
The left-hook counterpunch could be Hatton's best weapon.
The Book on Senchenko
Tale of the Tape (Via BoxRec.com)
Birth Place: Kremenchuk, Ukraine
Senchenko is very long, and he fights tall. He doesn't give up his height by crouching to meet shorter fighters. He uses the jab to keep opponents in range for his right hand.
He's a fairly accurate puncher as well. If he can time his opponent, he starts to fire away with powerful straight right hands. That is essentially what Senchenko did to Marco Antonio Avendano. Senchenko dismantled him for five-plus rounds before stopping him in the sixth.
Take a look at that fight:
Senchenko lacks elite foot and hand speed. His stamina late in fights is also a bit questionable. He appeared totally out of gas against Malignaggi in the ninth round of their bout.
He doesn't employ much head movement, and he can be picked apart by quick fighters who dart in and out of range. Malignaggi used that strategy to defeat Senchenko in April.
Senchenko has a tendency to drop his right hand after jabbing. If he does that against Hatton, he could open himself for a huge left hand counter.
Here is a video of that fight. The stoppage took place in the ninth round.
Senchenko must make Hatton feel his power early.
He needs to get him thinking about failure to cause Hatton to lose confidence. Hatton doesn't usually make himself difficult to hit, so that does give Senchenko more of a chance to land power shots and jabs.
Hatton hasn't had much success at 147 pounds. If Senchenko can absorb Hatton's punches, he'll have an outside shot at an upset.
I'm not ultra-confident that Hatton will win this fight, even though conventional wisdom says he should. I'll tentatively predict he wins a decision that's a little closer than the scorecards indicate.
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