By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
RICKY HATTON will be fighting back the tears as he walks to the ring for Saturday’s big comeback after banishing his inner demons.
The Hitman has battled alcohol addiction, depression and even suicidal thoughts in the three-and-a-half years since he was KO’d in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao.
Hatton, 34, was so haunted by the savage manner of his last fight that he even checked into a clinic with depression, after snorting cocaine on a night out.
Manchester’s much-loved former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion admits he used to fall asleep with a knife beside him when he was at his lowest point.
But after the birth of his daughter Millie 14 months ago, Hatton gained a new determination to clean up his act. Over the summer, he transformed himself back into a fighting machine through vigorous training and lost FIVE stones.
Hatton ends his retirement in search of redemption when he takes on tall Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko back at his old hunting ground, the Manchester Arena.
And when he makes his way to the ring for the welterweight bout, he will do so to the familiar tune of ‘Blue Moon’ – the anthem of his beloved Manchester City – and the cheers of 19,000 fans.
Hatton admits he will be choking back the tears during the ring walk as he considers what he has overcome to get back between the ropes. He said: “Walking to the ring will be very emotional because I’m a very proud person and I always got emotional with my ring walks in the first place anyway.
“You start thinking how many sacrifices you’ve made to get where you are, I’ll start thinking about my son, Campbell and now my daughter, Millie, as well. I’ll be thinking of all the bad things that have happened to me.
“Life has kicked me in the arse – some of it my fault and some of it not my fault. The fallout with the family, the fallout with my former trainer Billy Graham and getting beaten by Pacquiao, and all the trouble I have found myself in.
“I’m so proud of the Ricky Hatton who is sitting in this chair now.
“I’ve had enough feeling sorry for myself now, everyone knows the story, now I’ve got my nasty, horrible head on now. S*** happens to us all, get over it you whingeing f******.”
Hatton, who has had to deal with a family feud that has seen him hardly speak to his parents in two years, is a changed man.
He added: “We’ll celebrate after the fight but Sunday will be a meal with my partner Jennifer and my family and that will be it.
“You’ll see me with a pint now and then but I’ll have a smile on my face with my pint, rather than crying into it like a wet lettuce.”