UPDATE: Get the latest Ricky Hatton vs Vyacheslav Senchenko results and updates with our blow-by-blow live blog RIGHT HERE.
This Saturday (Nov. 24, 2012) the "Hitman," Ricky Hatton, will return to the boxing ring in Manchester, England.
Saturday's fight, which will air on Showtime, will end 42 months of retirement after a brutal second-round knockout at the hands of champion Manny Pacquiao. Hatton was a bright light in the world of British boxing for much of the mid-part of the past decade, garnering numerous belts (WBO light-welterweight, WBU light-welterweight, RING light-welterweight, IBF light-welterweight, WBA welterweight) and being labeled -- perhaps unfairly -- as the next "Great White Hype."
He was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. for his first loss, and while he was able to bounce back after that to earn a pair of respectable wins against Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi before the fight against "Pacman," that knockout ended up stealing his soul for years.
After that, Hatton turned into a caricature of an ex-athlete. The former professional athlete descended into a morass of depression-related issues, exacerbated by drugs (most notably cocaine) and alcohol. His ballooning weight earned him a pair of new sophomoric nicknames: Ricky Fatton and Ricky "Fatman" Hatton.
At one point, Hatton's depression was so severe that he contemplated suicide:
"The reason behind my actions and the way I was behaving wasn't a drink or drugs thing, it was depression. I was so down, I was crying and breaking out and contemplating suicide.... I was having blackouts, days on end whether I was drinking or not when I couldn't remember what had happened in my life.... I kept coming home and crying to my girlfriend saying, 'I want to end it, I don't want to live'. Depression is a very serious thing. People don't realize how deadly it can be."
However, Hatton has seemingly exorcised most of his demons, and worked his way back into shape. He looked fit and healthy at the weigh-ins earlier today at his welterweight fighting bulk of 146 pounds. This will be only his third fight at this level despite a 45-2 (32 KO) record. His previous fights at this weight were the loss to Mayweather and a win over Luis Collazo back in 2006.
Ricky Hatton weighs in prior to his comeback fight against Vyacheslav Senchenko.
His opponent, Vyacheslav Senchenko, is much less well known outside of Europe. The taller, 35-year old Ukranian righty will attempt to bounce back after a technical knockout loss to Malignaggi in his home-country that saw him drop the WBA welterweight title.
If that line doesn't send up a red flag, then let me spell it out for you -- Malignaggi is not a power-puncher. The man has 36 fights, 32 wins and only seven have come by way of knockout. Malignaggi banged Senchenko's eye early and closed it to the point where the fight officials had to stop it in the ninth frame.
Another red flag to wonder about the career of "The Ukranian Master" is that he's fought almost his entire 33-fight career in his home country (every fight fan knows about the home cooking of judges from time to time). This fight will be his first in the United Kingdom and only the second he's ever had outside of the Ukraine (29 fights) or Russia (2).
Senchenko, obviously, remains confident of his abilities and stated his desire to face Amir Khan should he win tomorrow. His strategy to win will be to out-finesse Hatton, who is usually an aggressive fighter that comes at his opponents:
"If I beat Ricky, then I can get another shot at a title. I’m an old-school, classical boxer so I need to be able to control the fight. I like boxers that come in rather than run away. If I can dictate the pace and not allow Ricky to get into a rhythm, I should be able to execute my strategy and do what I prepared for in camp."
Vyacheslav Senchenko weighs in.
The card will air live in both the United States and United Kingdom tomorrow. The UK coverage on Primetime PPV
starts at 2 p.m. ET, while Showtime will air the main event live at 5 p.m. ET in the United States.