By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
BOXING great Oscar De La Hoya believes Ricky Hatton can fight his way right back to the top.
Hatton makes his comeback from a three-year exile when he meets Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles at six different weights, has no doubts about Hatton’s ability to make an impact again.
“I believe he can get back to the top,” he said of the 33-year-old former world champion.
“As long as Ricky can train hard and really feel the passion to be on top again, he can do it because he is such a determined guy.
“He has to be very careful and train with passion.”
Hatton has not fought since his beating by Manny Pacquiao in 2009.
His only other defeat came against Floyd Mayweather Jr two years earlier.
De La Hoya said: “Ricky is still young. He has two losses against two great fighters and if he looks good against Senchenko, why not continue? It is the sport that he dearly loves and has missed so much.
“He has so much passion for it I think it’s wonderful that he is back and I support him 100%.
“But there’s no doubt it will be difficult.
“Any type of comeback, given any kind of fight, training for two to three months, in the gym dedicating yourself, it’s going to be difficult.
“But if anyone can do it, it will be Ricky Hatton because of his willpower and the strength he has inside him.”
In retirement Hatton’s life spiralled out of control as he battled depression, drugs and suicidal thoughts.
But De La Hoya believes Hatton can find redemption in the ring.
“More power to Rick,” he said. “If he has found the strength to get up from the canvas, to continue fighting, inside and outside the ring, I take my hat off to him.”