Saturday, 24 November 2012
24/11/2012 Is this the end for Hatton?
After three and a half years out of the game there was only ever one question hanging over the head of former World Champion Ricky Hatton, could he replicate the performances of the old 'Hitman'? The short answer is no, but there were moments of this fight that had the British public thinking otherwise. Vyacheslav Senchenko was the man in the way of Hattons dream of a World title come back, and it is the Ukranian that may well have put an end to the career of 'cheeky chappy' Hatton.
The 20,000 strong crowd was just as pumped as the 'Hitman' himself, so pumped infact they probably didn't even realise that Senchenko was sporting a Manchester United Jersey until his name and record was mentioned. Hatton's reception was incredible and the emotion was written all over his face, it was his moment to soak up and as he entered the ring it became obvious that it was all quite overwhelming for him.
From the opening bell Hatton seemed to feed of the energy from the MEN faithful, landing some great shots with sharp movement around the ring. Senchenko seemed happy though to Box from distance and pick his shots when they became available. As both men progressed through the opening part of the fight Hatton was clearly on top, looking the busier fighter it all looked as if the comeback was going according to plan.
As Rounds 5 and 6 came round Hatton was looking like the 34 years was creeping up on him and became a lot slower and Senchenko was becoming more and more comfortable and was able to land some great shots. Hatton continued to hit Senchenko but never really followed it up with anything else, that killer instinct that Hatton had become known for wasn't there, as both men traded punches it was Senchenkos that were the more meaningful.
Hatton became more frustrated as he seeked the KO punch, and his legs looked static by the back end of the fight. Rounds 7 and 8 were even more of a success for Senchenko, but it was round 9 that told the whole story. Hatton knew he had to come out the corner and impress the judges, like the rest of us he probably knew he was just ahead on points, but to be sure of the win he had to land some clear punches.
The punches never came and it was Senchenko that landed what may be the dagger in the heart of Hatton's career, a body shot that a young 'Hitman' would have been proud of, and as Hatton dropped to the canvas, so did the noise levels and atmosphere in the MEN arena. 10 was counted and Hatton's night was drawn to a close, but when Hattons head dropped his fans heads lifted and with a standing ovation.
He said he is gutted and so am i, never wanting to see any fighter in that position but that's the harsh reality of the sport, Senchenko may have landed himself a rematch against Paulie Malignaggi for the WBA crown and one that he deserves, a great performance of him and nothing should be taken away from the way he finished off Hatton.
As for the 'Hitman' he will have to go away and have a long hard look at himself and give an honest evaluation of his position in the sport right now. What he does know is, if he decides to get back in the ring then his fans will stick with him, and if he calls it a day his fans will stick with him, or if he opts for another comeback in 3 years time........yep you've got it, they will stick with him.