Ricky Hatton promised that he would cut straight to the chase in his ring return, with the objective to fight for a world title.
Staying true to his word, the former two-division champ has tabbed former welterweight titlist Vyachaslev Senchenko as his opponent for his November 24 comeback fight in his hometown of Manchester.
The selection of Senchenko is proof that Hatton is out for something to prove in his second tour as a prize fighter.
“I don't want to be fighting at four or six-round levels - I want to fight for world titles,” Hatton said in formally announcing his comeback earlier this month. “It's about more than money, this comeback. People say nice things about me but they don't know what's been going on in between my ears."
The wildly popular Brit has been on the sidelines ever since his crushing 2nd round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in May ’09. Hatton’s time away from the ring was spent growing his now largely successful Hatton Promotions company, though at the cost of battling severe depression, alcoholism and substance abuse.
More than three years later, Hatton (45-2, 32KO) the former lineal super lightweight king is out to prove that there is still plenty of fight left in a fighting body that will be 34-years old by the time he officially returns to the ring in November.
Senchenko (32-1, 21KO) is a credible choice for a first opponent following a 3½-year hiatus. The Ukrainian welterweight served as a welterweight titlist for three years, beginning with a 12-round decision over then-unbeaten countryman Yuriy Nuzhnenko in April ’09. Three defenses followed before suffering a 9th round stoppage loss to Paul Malignaggi to lose his crown this past April.
The November fight will be Senchenko’s first since suffering the lone loss of his career.
Hatton reigned as lineal super lightweight champion for nearly four years, a reign which began with a career-defining 11th round corner stoppage win over Kostya Tszyu.
Only five defenses followed, though mainly due to time split campaigning in the welterweight division. A disputed win over Luis Collazo in May ’06 made Hatton a two-division champ, though a less-successful outcome came of his return seven pounds north when he suffered a 10th round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather in Dec. ’07.
The bout was Hatton’s last as a welterweight, fighting three more times at his more natural fighting weight of 140 lb. The last was the knockout to Pacquiao, brutal and frightening enough to prompt him to take an extended break from the sport.
Hatton’s showdown with Senchenko – scheduled for 10 rounds - will take place at the welterweight limit. While a welterweight campaign has not been definitively been determined, there have been talks of a rematch with Malignaggi somewhere down the road. Hatton’s last official win came against the brash New Yorker, scoring an 11th round stoppage in their Nov. ’08 140 lb. title fight in Las Vegas.