Ricky Hatton hastily retired again on Saturday after his return to the ring after more than three years ended with a ninth-round knockout by Vyacheslav Senchenko.
The 34-year-old Hatton succumbed to a painful body shot from the Ukrainian welterweight in a non-title fight in his home city of Manchester. His record dropped to 45-3 (32 KO).
”I thought I was maybe four rounds up but there were clear signs of ring rust,” Hatton said.
Hatton was back in the ring 3 1/2 years after being knocked out by Manny Pacquiao, a loss which sent the former two-weight champion into retirement and his life spiraling out control, with depression, personal problems and battles with drink and drugs.
Senchenko (33-1, 22 KO) met Hatton two months after losing his unbeaten record – and his WBA welterweight title – in a ninth-round loss to Paulie Malignaggi.
Hatton decided not to return against an easy opponent and instead opted to take on a credible fighter in the form of Senchenko.
Hatton started aggressively without landing anything of note, until a left hook and short right connected with Senchenko.
Although Senchenko, boasting a significant height and reach advantage, landed a body shot early in the second, Hatton looked classy as he evaded a hook to the jaw and landed one to the ribs.
Hatton continued to have success with a succession of left hooks thrown with his entire body weight behind them, but the first signs of tiredness for Hatton crept in during the sixth round.
Senchenko, who had picked up a cut under the left eye, landed a left hook on Hatton in the seventh and landed several powerful shots in the eighth.
Hatton was floored in the ninth by a left to the body which sent him crashing to the floor in agony, and he was in too much pain to rise despite backing from his home crowd.
Hatton’s trainer, Bob Shannon, thought the fighter seemed to be distracted by the atmosphere at Manchester Arena.
”He wouldn’t give me any eye contact when we were in the ring and the noise was that bad when I was trying to get him to work his jab,” Shannon said. ”He had a few really good rounds and I thought, ‘Right, he’s settling now.’ And then he neglected to use his jab and his hands started coming down . . . that body punch took everything out of him.”