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Ricky Hatton v Vyacheslav Senchenko: time proves too tough a foe as beaten Hatton bows out


 By Paul Hayward


 “I don’t have it any more, I can’t put myself and my family through this again,” 'The Hitman’ announced last night.

“I said 'win lose or draw’ I would be honest and I honestly know now that that is it. I’m going away to be the best father boyfriend and promoter I can be.”

Hatton has beaten the count in life but he could not withstand Vyacheslav Senchenko’s brutal punch to the liver in front of 20,000 adoring supporters.

This cruel and noble business looked likely to reward Hatton for his fortitude in coming back from addiction and depression, but one hook to the side of his body, just above the belt, threatened to push him back down into despair.

We can only hope he will draw on the love of his followers after losing by knockout when he was four minutes away from a swathe of lucrative prime-time engagements.

 Confronting an opponent much tougher than he needed to face, given his long absence, Hatton was fully vindicated in his desire to be back between the ropes, even if he took more shots than was sensible after promising to keep calm and box.

Hatton’s popularity was undiminished by his years of inactivity. His old army of admirers bought all available tickets inside three days and hammered out chants last heard in 2009.

By the time the two-time former world champion began his ring-walk a strongly Mancunian audience was in ferment.

Watching from ringside were Roberto Duran, Joe Calzaghe and David Price, the upwardly mobile Liverpool heavyweight. The good times came rolling back.

The only notable absentees – a sad note, this – were Hatton’s parents, Ray and Carol, who are estranged from their son after a confrontation in a car park between patriarch and pugilist.

Hatton’s partner Jennifer Dooley, the mother of their daughter Millie, overcame her reservations about this comeback to stand by her man.

The opening exchanges must have calmed Dooley’s nerves. Hatton displayed the old aggressive intent and his hand speed was impressive.

He caught Senchenko with trademark left hook and terrific left jab. The Ukrainian’s only notable reply was a right counter.

Though his timing was sometimes off, Hatton kept up the assault in round two, again throwing the jab well, as promised. Senchenko, two and a half inches taller, and with a five-inch longer reach, had lost only one of his 33 bouts: a WBA title defence against Paulie Malignaggi.

Despite the emotion in the arena, Hatton was determined to control his tears, to rely on head more than heart.

“In my two biggest fights, against Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather I messed up by being too aggressive, too overeager, trying to jump all over them too quickly,” he had said.

“I’ve got to channel all that fury and anger in a positive way. It’s got to be controlled, there has to be a plan.”

Manchester’s idol was in immaculate shape. The ravages of drink and drugs were not apparent in a face purged of its excesses.

To provoke him, Senchenko appeared in a Manchester United shirt. But Hatton needed no extra incentive to restore his life and career after a long battle with depression.

In the third, complacency snuck in. Hatton’s hands dropped as his confidence increased and Senchenko punished him with three ramrod right hands which drew a smile of acknowledgement from Hatton but also sounded the first warning bells.

The same pattern shaped round four with Senchenko picking Hatton off but 'The Hitman’ swinging his way back into the round. But after years of self-neglect, how far would Hatton’s stamina stretch?

And could he keep absorbing those jabs? However many times he told himself to slip incoming punches and “zigzag” into exchanges, Hatton found himself stepping in with hands low and paying the price via the visitor’s jab.

Yet it was that unexpected swipe to the liver, to which Hatton has done so much damage himself, that ended it.

In retrospect he might have chosen an easier opponent. He always said, though, that just being in the ring again was his redemption. His next big test is to be true to that claim.

telegraph


By: manager Date Added: 2012-11-25 Comment: 0 Views :2987

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