It took three-and-a-half years for Ricky Hatton to return to a boxing ring after losing to Manny Pacquiao. The brutal second-round knockout in May 2009 popped what looked like being the final balloon in a career full of triumph, body shots, song and party atmospheres.
In November 2012 Hatton returned to his beloved Manchester Arena, home of his greatest victory against Kostya Tszyu for The Ring Magazine and IBF junior welterweight titles to have one last dance, this time against Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko. It was Hatton’s 48th fight of a 15-year career. His iconic entrance song “Blue Moon” boomed inside the venue, and those recognizable chants of “There’s only one Ricky Hatton” were sang at top voice by his loyal supporters. But in the final seconds of the ninth round, thanks to a left hand to the body, the comeback and career of “The Hitman” was finally over.
The former two-weight titleholder needed to know what he had left that night against Senchenko. He didn’t want to retire after the Pacquiao loss, in his heart he wanted to continue to fight. In some ways, the loss to Senchenko has proven to be the best thing to ever happen to him.
Speaking to The Ring, Hatton said: “After the Senchenko fight I looked at it and thought, well if you can’t beat him Ricky you can go into retirement a proud man now. That’s how I felt, like a whole weight had been lifted off my shoulders.”
“The last seven-and-a-half years since Senchenko has probably been one of the best periods of my life,” he proudly stated.