So it's official, Ricky Hatton is to make a return to the squared circle. Most pundits and punters seem to be voicing concern over the Hitman's comeback, and perhaps rightly so. In his last two fights the Manchunian fighter was knocked unconscious by Manny Pacquiao having already succumbed to the great Floyd Mayweather. It seemed as though his promoting/training career was going well (although he had just lost the support of Sky Sports) and he was recovering well from drink and drug issues. So why is he back? What more does he have to prove?
The simple answer is; that after Money Mayweather and Pacman Pacquiao there is no one out there in the Light Welterweight/Welterweight world that will worry him, especially the men who’ll be his main British rivals Kell Brook and Amir Khan. Brook was pushed all the way by a mediocre American last time out and Khan was flattened by an equally one dimensional slugger. The plan will no doubt be to have a tune up fight before going on to face Khan in the New Year, or Brook if the King gets beheaded again.
I understand why many don't want to see Hatton return. Friends don't want to see him get hurt, his fans don't want their great memories of him tainted, and rival promoters are worried about how much money he'll take away from their shows. But surely the only person who matters in the making of a decision is the man himself. He's been through everything the sport has to offer, the crushing lows, the dizzying highs, and the drug assisted comedowns from those highs, and yet he still wants another shot. Hatton has never done anything the easy way. His fighting style meant that every top level fight he participated in was a toe to toe slug fest. Therefore we should have known that Ricky wasn't simply going to skulk off into the night and settle on a career behind the scenes.
Hopefully his comeback will be a success and won't end in a sad 'I told you so' from his detractors. There is, though, another issue that should be mentioned. Ricky Hatton gave his word to a number of bright young British prospects that he would train, mentor, and promote them. I sincerely hope that the Hitman can still deliver on those promises, if he doesn't and his fighters begin to desert him then what will he have left when his fighting career truly does come to an end?
If done right this comeback could be a great thing for boxing, its fans, and Hatton himself. I just worry that if his house comes tumbling down around him, for the second time, that the drink and drugs could return to haunt him worse than ever before. The team around him need to be planning for both eventualities and make sure that Britain's favourite fighting son has solid ground under him if he falls this time, and not the gaping void he was presented with last time out.