Ricky Hatton took part on a Monday conference call to hype his Nov. 24 comeback fight against Vyacheslav Senchenko, which unfolds in his native England, and on Showtime. His honesty stood out in a sport and a world which operates on a fuel of BS and fronting, and the fighter scored huge points by sharing that he had to tell the tabloids and the world that he tried to kill himself a few times and suffered panic attacks, and that is why he needed to come back.
Will he be emotional on his ringwalk? He said deep down he is an emotional personal and on numerous occasions on ringwalks he was choking back tears, and all the problems he's had will be in his head. "I've got to show me championship qualities by holding it all together," he said.
Hatton was last seen in the ring on May 2, 2009, getting stopped out by Manny Pacquiao in round two, in Las Vegas. He then floundered personally, unable to fill his time and match the excitement and purpose he found as an active fighter. He said on the call he was humbled when his show sold out 20,000 tickets in two days. The Hitman turned 34 on Oct. 2, and no one can be sure what he has left until he steps into the ring against ex WBA welter champ Senchenko at Manchester Arena. Showtime will show the bout at 5 PM ET, and whill re-run on ShowExtreme.
He said he came back because he was a proud fighter, whose heart was his top asset. The Pacman KO hurt him, he said, and he said he wanted to erase that. He battled depression, and suicide attempts and panic attacks and hasn't spoken to his parents for two years. "My life turned to mush," he said, and he hopes he will finish his boxing career in a positive fashion. "I'm here to put old ghosts and demons to rest," he said. "I think I've won the toughest fight," he said, seeing success merely in coming back.
Hatton decided he wanted to come back about five or six months ago. He's dropped a bunch of weight to get here, and is happy that about five or seven months, he got on the straight and narrow. He told us that he enjoyed getting tagged on chin in his first sparring much, and he felt less rust than he expected when he got in the ring during camp. "I got hit in the chin and I liked it, I enjoyed it to be honest with you," he told us.
This fight will be at 147, he said, and he noted that his team wanted a less stiff test than Senchenko for his first fight back. "My team begged me to take an easier one," he said. But, he said he wanted to come out of the gate and learn right away what he has left. He likes getting up in the AM with a goal in mind, and that he "has a burning desire back." He said he'll be hurting if he loses Nov. 24, but he'll know he can be proud of himself just by coming back.
He said he will fight in the same style, as "you can't change the devil inside. I live by the sword and die by the sword," he said, understanding that he is an aggressive sort. He will try and not be as careless, and will try and listen to trainer Bob Shannon, do more feinting and the like.
Check out Al Bernstein's keys to victory here.
He wouldn't commit to more than one fight and said we'd know if he should continue post Senchenko. He said that he doesn't expect anyone to believe him when he feels great and we will all believe only if he gets it done on Nov. 24. "If I had bet me house on it I think there'll be a second coming," he said. He said there's no point in talking about a fight with Paul Malignaggi, of Khan or Kell Brook until he shows his worth against Senchenko.
He did allow that a rematch with Malignaggi would make sense for his secnd comeback fight, and he'd love to do it in NY, with their passionate and smart fans. He said he knows his fans will follow him anywhere and he'd be up for the challenge.
Hatton said the choice of Floyd Mayweather Sr. to work with him against Pacquiao wasn't in retrospect the right choice, because he allowed Sr. to push him too hard. "Overtrained would be an understatement," he said. He had to part ways with long-time trainer Billy Graham because Graham was breaking down, and couldn't do pad work and such.
Hatton said Malignaggi is a hard style for Senchenko but his style will be a good match with the Ukrainian. He said he thinks a win would get him into the Top 10, and it would be easy to make with him and Golden Boy and Paulie all under the same umbrella. "I want to be in the top ten and I want to be fighting for titles," he said.
Hatton said it was hard to lay out his soul, about his troubles, to the media. But he felt he owed people an explanation. He felt his left his fans and indeed the whole sport down by losing and how he handled losing, he said. He hated breaking down at ringside during his hiatus, crying and thinking it should be him in the big bouts. His favorite phrase on the call was "to be honest with you," and bles shis soul, that he was. Hard, no impossible, to root against the lad.