Retiring Hatton 'happy' after comeback defeat
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) –
Ricky Hatton said he felt “happy” in retiring after the former world champion’s comeback bout against Vyacheslav Senchenko ended in a ninth round knockout defeat.
A tearful Hatton admitted at a press conference he had painfully discovered he was no longer a force at elite level after sinking to his knees from a left to the kidneys in a non-title welterweight bout at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
It was an outcome that became increasingly likely as the fight went on and the 34-year-old Briton was an easy target for his Ukrainian opponent.
Hatton, roared on by a passionate crowd of 20,000 in his home city, kept missing with air-shots whereas former World Boxing Association (WBA) world champion Senchenko hardly missed at all from the seventh round onwards.
This defeat meant former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion Hatton had been counted out in his last two fights, after being knocked out by Filipino ace Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.
But Hatton, for whom this was a third professional career loss, insisted afterwards he was “happy” in not prolonging his comeback any further following an initial ring exile of more than three years.
“I gave it my best and that’s the end of Ricky Hatton,” he told a news conference in the early hours of Sunday morning, local time.
“I’ve got no complaints. It’s well documented how bad it got for me and I needed to put a few demons and ghosts to bed. I feel I’d already won before I got in the ring.”
He added: “There was always excuses to find after losing to (Floyd) Mayweather and Pacquiao because they were the best pound-for-pound fighters or it wasn’t the best training camp.
“If you want to make an excuse you find one. But I needed to find out if I still had it and I haven’t.
“I got myself into the best shape ever, but it’s not there anymore. If I don’t call it a day now, I will never do it. I’ve got the answers. I was crying and heartbroken in the ring but I’m happy.”
“I needed to know if I could do it at world level, and I can’t. I felt I was winning but everything was forced and I was missing.”
Prior to Saturday’s bout, Hatton said he’d come out of retirement for “redemption” against Senchenko after battling problems with alcohol, drugs and depression that saw him balloon in weight following the Pacquiao defeat and even contemplate suicide.
However, Hatton was adamant losing to Senchenko would not be the catalyst for renewed personal turmoil.
“I’m a happy man and I don’t feel like putting a knife to my wrist and killing myself,” he insisted.
“I’m proud with who I am. I gave it my best. I’m a different man now and I’m going to be the best father I can to my kids, the best boyfriend, the best trainer and the best promoter I can.
“There won’t be any more ‘Ricky Fattons’. While I’m in a happy state of mind and feeling healthy, I want to carry on like that.
“Even if I had got up and just squeezed through (to victory over Senchenko) I would still be making the same decision,” Hatton said. “I’m not going to put my family through it again.”
Hatton will instead concentrate full-time on his career on the safe side of the ropes as a boxing trainer and promoter.
Two members of his stable, middleweight Martin Murray and super-bantamweight Scott Quigg, won WBA interim belts on the same bill as Hatton on Saturday to move closer to world title contention.