Hatton to keep emotions in check
Ricky Hatton is determined not to let his emotions get the better of him when he returns to the boxing ring against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old's personal troubles since his last fight three and a half years ago have been well documented as battles with spiralling weight, drink, drugs and depression left him suicidal. But over the last five months he has got himself back in shape, dropping from 15 stone down to welterweight.
Hatton's last contest brought a brutal knockout against Manny Pacquiao, the second defeat of his career following a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. But Hatton is adamant he has learned from his mistakes, and said: "I've spent so much time sulking about the Mayweather defeat and the Pacquiao defeat. They were my two biggest fights and I messed up."
He continued: "I was too aggressive, too over eager. If I make that mistake all over again then I'm not the fighter I think I am. It will be a very emotional night for me. The ring walk, if you talk to most fighters, it's where you get your nerves together, you start thinking about your family and your kids, what you've gone through to get to this point.
"I've got a few more things to think about this time - how I let everyone down, how I disgraced myself. I'm here to redeem myself. I've got to keep all that tension inside me and control it.
"Life has kicked my arse. I've got so much tension and anger inside me that I want to throw at Senchenko but I can't throw it at him like I did against Manny Pacquaio. It's got to be to the game plan and in a positive manner.
"If I'm the champion I believe I am, it won't be a problem holding it all together. Although they might need a mop and bucket when I'm leaving the ring."
Hatton was speaking at Thursday's head-to-head press conference, which was notable for the absence of his 35-year-old Ukrainian opponent, who had decided not to take part. At the peak of his powers Hatton was followed across to Las Vegas by thousands of fans but he insists he has never been more hungry for a fight than this one.
He said: "The support makes me feel very, very humble. There's a lot of people out there, fight fans and public, that have seen me at 15 stone bouncing round Manchester drunk as a skunk and must have looked at me in disbelief - 'That man who we used to admire so much, who won all those world titles'.
"I turned into a very, very sorry state. I feel like I've already won without throwing a punch. It's been a slow journey, I've done it bit by bit, I've brought my weight down in the correct way, got myself mentally prepared. The Ricky Hatton sat here is the meanest and most ferocious Ricky Hatton you've ever seen."
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