Ricky Hatton came back after 42 months off, and was stopped in Round 9 by ex-welterweight champ Vyacheslav Senchenko in Manchester, England -- Hatton's stomping grounds.
A left-hook liver shot sent Hatton down, and he tried mightily to get up, but he heard the count of 10. After the fight, Hatton declared, "I'm not a failure," and said, "I'm sorry" the fans at Manchester Arena.
He's not a failure, no, considering he was suicidal after leaving boxing following a May 2009 loss to Manny Pacquiao. Before Saturday's bout, Hatton said he considered it a massive victory to get back in shape, dropping 70 pounds, and ditch the drinking to excess and vicious state of depression. Hatton did some solid things, showing less rust than many expected he might. But his stamina lagged some, and his defense, never superb, worsened later in the fight.
Paul Malignaggi, who hoped to meet the Brit in a rematch of their 2008 scrap, in which he was stopped out in Round 11, spoke after the fight.
"I thought he fought a pretty good fight," said Paulie, who worked the broadcast for Primetime. "I had Ricky winning, but Senchenko landed some sharp shots."
Malignaggi managed a smile when asked about a blown payday, and admitted that he was going right to the negotiating table after this fight if Hatton had won. Now, he said, it'll be back to the proverbial drawing board.
Malignaggi was impressed Senchenko stayed focused mentally, and said that he expected Hatton would be tad overanxious.
Yes, in retrospect, a tuneup fight against a lesser level foe might have been a good idea.