Trainer: Hatton back to future

  • Last Updated: November 24 2012, 7:54 GMT

Trainer Bob Shannon has taken Ricky Hatton back to the future in order to engineer a successful ring return tonight.

Ricky Hatton: Old school preparation for return to the ring
Ricky Hatton: Old school preparation for return to the ring

Hatton takes on once-beaten Ukrainian welterweight Vyacheslav Senchenko at a sold-out Manchester Arena in his 48th professional bout and first since being blown away in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.

That harrowing evening in Las Vegas, ultimately the trigger for three years of severe personal problems suffered by the self-styled Hitman, was preceded by a chaotic build-up under the guidance of Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Mayweather, father of the pound-for-pound superstar with the same name who handed Hatton his first career defeat, took on coaching duties after the Mancunian endured a messy split from mentor Billy Graham.

Hatton's finest nights, including four world-title triumphs, came under Graham and after hours of pounding away on his famous body belt.

Shannon knows such "old-school" methods well having trained alongside Graham in his youth and believes the 34-year-old Hatton has benefited from going back to basics.

He told Press Association Sport: "Billy Graham trained with my father, the late Bob Shannon, at his gym in Salford and we did everything the same - the body bag.

"They call it the old-school of fighting but the old-school is the best. The best fighters were in the old days anyway.

"Ricky wanted to go back to those days and that's why he phoned me up to ask me to train him.

"So we've gone back to what used to be good for Ricky. Those days were good for Ricky."

After 25 years as a professional cornerman and highly-respected mainstay of the Manchester boxing scene, Shannon is thrilled to be involved with a fighter the city has taken to its heart more so than any other.

"It's brilliant for me, it's what every trainer dreams of," said the 55-year-old.

"Like a fighter dreams of being world champion, a trainer thrives on 'I'm going to train a world champion' and Ricky Hatton's the biggest name in boxing.

"I've known him since day one when he turned pro with Billy Graham. I've seen all his fights and now I'm his trainer for this big comeback fight, so it's brilliant."

Shannon believes a tough 10 rounds are in store against Senchenko, who is coming off losing his WBA title to Paulie Malignaggi in April, but remains confident Hatton can successfully negotiate the perilous road that is the boxing comeback.

"I think he can do it because he's got so much desire to win again and he wants to redeem himself for his fans, his family and himself," Shannon added.

"He's picked Senchenko because he's so good and that will drive him through.

"It's not going to be easy, there's going to be a lot of hard rounds in there, but he will get through it and we'll see Ricky Hatton back - the legend."


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