By Mitch Abramson
Stephen Espinoza, the Executive Vice President of Showtime Sports, has confirmed to BoxingScene.com that his network is picking up the scheduled return of former champion Ricky Hatton (45-2, 32KOs). On November 24th at the Manchester Arena, Hatton will return against former WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko (32-1, 21KOs)
According to Espinoza, the network will televise the fight live during the day and the broadcast will also be available later that night on a delayed basis. It was also revealed that current WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi will be part of the broadcast team as an expert analyst.
Hatton returns for the first time since a May 2009 knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao. The choice of opponent is logical and outlines the plan for the future. In his last fight, Senchenko lost his title when he was stopped by Malignaggi in nine rounds.
Should Hatton come out victorious next month, Malignaggi has been mentioned as the likely next opponent in the first half of 2013. Hatton previously stopped Malignaggi in the eleventh round of a junior welterweight contest in 2008.
Hatton has several possible paths for next year. Another possible opponent down the line, says Espinoza, is Amir Khan. A fight between Hatton and Khan would be one of the biggest events in the history of the UK. Khan returns to Showtime on December 15th, facing undefeated Carlos Molina.
"You have to give Ricky Hatton a lot of credit, because this is surprisingly a challenging opponent in his comeback fight. And the fact that Ricky chose this guy, shows just how serious he is about getting back into the sport," Espinoza told BoxingScene.com.
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.