'Hitman' to keep emotions in check

  • Last Updated: November 22 2012, 16:51 GMT

Ricky Hatton is determined not to let his emotions get the better of him when he returns to the boxing ring against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday night.

Ricky Hatton: Desire has returned
Ricky Hatton: Desire has returned

The 34-year-old's personal troubles since his last fight three and a half years ago have been well documented as battles with spiralling weight, drink, drugs and depression left him suicidal.

But over the last five months he has got himself back in shape, dropping from 15 stone down to welterweight, and a sell-out crowd will hope to see the victorious return of a local hero at Manchester Arena.

Hatton's last contest in May 2009 brought a brutal knockout against Manny Pacquiao, the second defeat of his career following a 2007 loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

But Hatton is adamant he has learned from the mistakes he made in both those contests and insists he will maintain a controlled approach against former world champion Senchenko.

Hatton said: "I've spent so much time sulking about the Mayweather defeat and the Pacquiao defeat. They were my two biggest fights and I messed up.

"I was too aggressive, too over eager. If I make that mistake all over again then I'm not the fighter I think I am.

"It will be a very emotional night for me. The ring walk, if you talk to most fighters, it's where you get your nerves together, you start thinking about your family and your kids, what you've gone through to get to this point.

"I've got a few more things to think about this time - how I let everyone down, how I disgraced myself. I'm here to redeem myself. I've got to keep all that tension inside me and control it.

"Life has kicked my arse. I've got so much tension and anger inside me that I want to throw at Senchenko but I can't throw it at him like I did against Manny Pacquaio. It's got to be to the game plan and in a positive manner.

"If I'm the champion I believe I am, it won't be a problem holding it all together. Although they might need a mop and bucket when I'm leaving the ring."

Hatton was speaking at Thursday's head-to-head press conference, which was notable for the absence of his 35-year-old Ukrainian opponent, who had decided not to take part.

The venue is significant for Hatton and his fans for it was also the scene of the 2005 victory over Kostya Tszyu that elevated him into the top echelons of world boxing.

At the peak of his powers Hatton was followed across to Las Vegas by thousands of fans but he insists he has never been more hungry for a fight than this one.

He said: "The support makes me feel very, very humble. There's a lot of people out there, fight fans and public, that have seen me at 15 stone bouncing round Manchester drunk as a skunk and must have looked at me in disbelief - 'That man who we used to admire so much, who won all those world titles'.

"I turned into a very, very sorry state. I feel like I've already won without throwing a punch. It's been a slow journey, I've done it bit by bit, I've brought my weight down in the correct way, got myself mentally prepared.

"The Ricky Hatton sat here is the meanest and most ferocious Ricky Hatton you've ever seen.

"Seven years ago I beat Kostya Tszyu at the Manchester Arena and I was at my hungriest because I had a dream of becoming world champion but the desire I have for this fight is way beyond becoming a world champion.

"All those world titles mean nothing to me. I'm here to right the wrongs I've done. I've let a lot of people down.

"I know you won't believe me, after burning the candle at both ends, the second-round defeat against Manny Pacquiao, no way can he come back the same. Well I won't come back the same, I'm going to come back better."

Hatton has been working with Bob Shannon for the last 10 weeks, and the veteran Manchester trainer had nothing but praise for the progress made by his fighter.

"It's been an amazing journey and I can honestly say, come Saturday night, it's going to be Ricky Hatton at his best," said Shannon.

"We're going to get the legend back."


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