Ricky's happy return
Jim Watt admits it is a 'huge gamble', but is delighted with the news that Ricky Hatton is making a comeback.
Last Updated: 14/01/10 2:56pm
The only way we'll find out if it is the right decision is by seeing what happens in the ring, but I am not at all surprised that Ricky Hatton is making a comeback.
The feeling has always been that he was going to return sooner or later and I can understand his reasoning for doing just that. He has had a tremendous career, he won two world titles at different weights and dominated the 10-stone division - and could have hung up his gloves with his head held high.
But what must rankle him was the manner of his last defeat to Manny Pacquiao. Ricky is a proud man and he doesn't want to go out on the back of a shattering two-round defeat. He knows he did not perform and without doubt the thought will be in his mind that he doesn't want that to be his swansong.
It is perfectly understandable and even if we have to accept that he is not going to be as good as he once was, there are plenty of fighters out there who fit that bill and still make decent money and have good careers.
Ricky Hatton is stll a huge name in the United States, too. America is not the same as Britain, where we are too quick to write people off after a couple of big defeats. Over there, if you make a comeback you are back in the mix again, simple as that. They won't hold those two defeats against him as much as we might over here.
And they love his style which means he will still generate big pay-per-view numbers. I know Golden Boy are very keen on him and what he brings to his table, so a big fight over in America, or even on American TV, is pretty much on the cards.
Ricky will want to come back against a decent fighter - and he has to. He is not in a position to pick and choose a Juan Lazcano-type opponent any more and if we are to believe what we hear, it could well be Juan Manuel Marquez; even before his defeat to Floyd Mayweather, that was the talk.
That in itself would be dangerous because although Ricky would be naturally bigger, Marquez was pretty much taken to school and embarrassed by Mayweather and will have been stung by that and want to put his own record straight. It would be a great match but very tough for Hatton.
And that is where the gamble comes into play because if disaster struck for the third time, it would tarnish Ricky Hatton's legacy. Massively.
If he got knocked out again, people would say that (because Kostya Tszyu had been out for so long) on the three occasions he mixed it with top-drawer fighters, he got knocked out. It is a huge gamble, but Ricky has never done things the easy way, has he?
It is all ifs and buts, but everything is on the line for Ricky Hatton. Whether it's one or two more fights, this comeback could well define how he is remembered.
The opponent aside, we will also have to see who Ricky picks as his trainer; one thing I will say is thank God it won't be Floyd Mayweather Snr! Even before the problems in their camp came out, I didn't like that appointment one bit. As soon as I saw their first workout I thought 'this fella's going to drive Ricky crazy'; he's a man with a huge ego who was trying to change Ricky's style, but for his own benefit, not Ricky Hatton's.
Freddie Roach would be an obvious choice, but everyone wants Freddie Roach now and if Pacquiao or Amir Khan is fighting in the summer, that will keep him out of the equation. Also, once he is back at light-welterweight, Ricky becomes an obvious rival to Khan.
It probably doesn't matter too much who trains him, anyway. Ricky is 31, he has been doing things his way for 13 years and 47 fights and now is not the time to be changing what got him to the very top. All he needs to do is get some good quality sparring in to sharpen up and then get himself in condition.
I do have one more worry about that, though. I don't doubt for a minute he will make the 10-stone limit, no problem at all. We all talk about Ricky's lifestyle out of the ring and his ballooning weight, but he takes full advantage of the 24-hour weigh-in and always, always, gets his weight right - even if it is, like so many fighters nowadays, for little more than an hour.
What worries me is what he has done to his body down the years may have eroded some of that natural hardness. We know he will go to the gym and get fit for a 12-round fight because he trains like a Trojan, but has he still got that toughness required in a tough fight against a decent opponent? Can he still stand there and take shots and then come back firing back? I don't know.
But let's finish with a positive here; this is great news for boxing and British boxing. Ricky Hatton is such a big name, such an attraction, that even with those little nagging doubts, you have to applaud his decision.
I have nothing but appreciation for what Ricky has done for the sport and what he has achieved in the sport. There will always be a few detractors, who will always say he got blasted out when he fought at the highest level, but Ricky is never going to please them, whatever he does.
If people aren't impressed by now, they are never going to be. He is a two-weight world champion, the undisputed champion in his division and he attracts a crowd like no-one else we have seen. He has given us all some incredible nights that none of us will ever forget
So, if he wants to fight again, we should all look forward to it and enjoy it, because Ricky Hatton fights are always special. And one way or the other, we know there won't be too many more.
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