I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach. It was like Christmas for British boxing fans as our hero Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton was returning to the ring for the first time in over three years. However, there was always that little bit of nervousness inside all of us, that question that had to be asked: What if it did go wrong?
I think most of us just chose to ignore the nerves as we had so much belief in Ricky.
Unfortunately we were given an answer to that question, and it was the answer that we did not want. Hatton was stopped in the 9th round by Vyacheslav Senchenko last night in front of his home crowd at the Manchester Arena. The body shot that finished it was almost ironic as it was identical to the shot that he has stopped so many of his opponents with. Hatton was having trouble in the later rounds but he was still ahead in the fight and would have probably comfortably secured a unanimous decision victory if it wasn't for this shot. But it still wasn't the same Hitman in that ring tonight, he was merely a shadow of the fighter he used to be. His timing was all wrong and his frustration was clear to see every time he swung a wild left hook and missed badly. That's all I can really say about the fight. It wasn't a classic but it was just great to see the Hitman in the ring one last time no matter how it ended.
I must say, it was very, very emotional watching his post-fight interview. I, and probably most other boxing fans out there, had a lump in my throat the whole way through. You could see the emotion in Hatton's eyes, you could see that he had put everything into that comeback. And that's one thing he can take away from it, he's walking away with no regrets.
Where does he go next?.. Well, he did actually announce his official retirement at the post-fight press conference, and I take my hat off to him. He's always going to be a part of the boxing world. He can be a coach and a promoter and fight through his young, up and coming fighters and put all the passion and ambition he's still got into them.
He will never, ever have to worry about his fans forgetting about him. You saw it tonight, even after he climbed up off of the canvas at the end of the fight the crowd were still cheering and chanting his name. That would not happen for any other fighter in the world. There really is only one Ricky Hatton!
By Jack Price @PriceyJ97. - PriceyBoxing@gmail.com