In just a few hours, Ricky Hatton (45-2, 34 KO) will make his much anticipated comeback against former WBA Champion Vyacheslav Senchenko (32-1, 21 KO).
Hatton vs Senchenko Time:
Full fight card starts 2pm EST (7pm London); The main event, Hatton vs Senchenko, will being at 5pm EST (10 pm London)
Hatton vs Senchenko Broadcast:
Showtime (U.S.); 5pm EST
Primetime PPV (U.K.); 2pm EST, 7pm London
Streaming: There is no legal live stream for the fight
Ricky Hatton will step inside the boxing ring as a fighter for the first time in 3 years tonight at Manchester Arena, in front of a raucous sold-out crowd.
He wiil face Vyacheslav Senchenko, the former WBA Welterweight beltholder who is coming off his first career loss at the hands of Paulie Malignaggi in April.
Upon announcing his comeback, Ricky Hatton promised he'd fight only quality opponents and would not consider unheralded journeymen.
Senchenko is an impressive choice for Ricky Hatton... Is he perhaps too impressive for the first bout on his comeback trail?
So how does Senchenko rate?
Answer: He's a flawed-but-quality opponent who poses a Medium to High Risk. He's no Timothy Bradley or Amir Khan but he's certainly no Tijuana taxi driver - That's for sure.
THE KNOCK on Senchenko is his lack of quality opposition, lack of hand and foot -speed and his methodical/mechanical fighting style.
Who is Vyacheslav Senchenko?
Senchenko, a well-preserved 35, represented Ukraine at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, boxing as a Light Welterweight (63,5 kg). After going medal-less, the Ukrainian turned pro soon thereafter.
He won the WBA Lightweight title in April 2009 and successfully defended it three times before losing to Paulie Malignaggi via a 9th Round stoppage in April. He was rated No. 5 in the world in welterweight division by The RING Magazine prior to the loss.
The Ukrainian, the WBA Welterweight Champion at the time, was a 4-1 favorite in that bout.
Senchenko, who towered over Ricky at the weigh-in, stands 5' 10"/178cm and possesses a reach of 70"/178cm. In essence, the Ukrainian boasts a 3 inch height and 5 inch reach advantage over Brit.
But despite his quality resume, the Freddie Roach-trained Senchenko has yet to defeat a big name fighter. Nevertheless, he's proven to be tough, disciplined and technically sound.
Senchenko vs Malignaggi - The Ukrainian's only loss
To defeat Senchenko, the American used crisp, speedy combinations from angles and utilized superior footwork and fast movement, offering no target for Senchenko to hit. Malignaggi's speed, superior skills and overall ring polish enabled him to box rings around his slower, more methodical foe from start to finish,
But Ricky Hatton, unlike Paule, is a mauler. Don't expect him to emulate Paulie. As a matter of fact, Hatton's brand of boxing is completely opposite that of Malignaggi.
As a result, Hatton must defeat the Ukrainian in a way he's never been beaten before.
Does Hatton expect to knockout his Ukrainian foe? Senchenko has only been stopped once in 33 bouts and it was the result of lacerations and a swollen eye. He's never been the victim of a "true" knockout... He's never been pummelled into submission.
Perhaps Team Hatton saw something else their mauler could exploit. Perhaps its weak skin?
"Timothy Bradley is also a world champion so I would consider fighting him too, but first things first, I need to beat Senchenko before I can talk about boxing for a world title," stated a confident Hatton recently.
And of course, there's been tremendous dicussion about Hatton vs Malignaggi II.
So even prior to his first comeback bout, Hatton is already talking about potential fights against two champions, one of which is a top 10-12 pound-for-pound fighter (Tim Bradley).
Is the Brit a little over-confident? Is he looking past a fella with a strong amateur pedigree who has won 32 of 33 bouts and has never been badly hurt in the ring.
Its admirable Hatton was to thrust himself back into the world of the elites and fight for the 'big cookies' right away - But is it sensible? After tonight, expect a more "humble" Hatton.
Hatton vs Senchenko: Will it Answer Any Questions?
Can Ricky Hatton attain championship glory again? We won't find out tonight but there's no reason why he shouldn't.
At only 33, Ricky Hatton can make a successful return. Not only can he win a world title, he can be a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. HOWEVER, it wont be easy. Patience will be a much-needed virtue. He shouldn't be thinking about Malignaggi, Bradley and Pacquiao at the moment nor after tonight's bout, even if he's impressively victorious.
He hasn't fought in 3 years and will likely experience some ring rust. How much rust? We'll find out in tonight.
If victorious against Senchenko, how will Ricky Hatton perform against an "elite" welterweight given all the time away? Will his reaction time, rhythm, overall timing and accuracy be there? We won't find out tonight BUT Hatton vs Senchhenko may give us some indication.
The Welterweight Factor
How will Ricky Hatton adjust in this new division? Although he's fought here several times before, he's campaign primarily as a jr welterweight and experinced the vast majority of his success in that division.
So what does this jaunt to welterweight mean?
Ricky Hatton will be competing in a division 7 lbs north of his natural weight class and will be facing taller fighters with a longer reach and more power as a result.
And at welterweight, the 5'7" Hitman has had limited success. He was knocked out by Floyd Mayweather in 2009 and won a narrow but unanimous decision against 5'9"/175cm Luis Collazo three years earlier - And many questioned the decision in the Collazo bout.
How will Ricky Hatton adjust in this new division against much taller, longer fighters like Senchenko?
Hatton vs Senchenko: Prediction
Look for this to be a tough fight for both men. An excited Ricky Hatton will burst out of the gates but won't get the early knockout. Senchenko will weather the storm, stand his ground and fire back. And don't be surprised if one of these men is floored. However, regardless of who gets knocked down, the effective aggression of the onrushing Hatton will be too much for the Ukrainian to overcome.
Hatton wins comfortable but competitive 10 round decision.
If Hatton defeats Senchenko, he should have at least 2-3 more bouts against mid-tier opponents he matches up well against and probably plan for a superfight fight in November or December 2013.
If he's victorius tonight. Ricky Hatton should fight a few tune-ups before getting in the ring with a world champion and especially a pound-for-pound fighter. Some in the public and the media will criticize him for it, but quality tune-ups will suitably prepare him for much bigger tasks against the likes of Malignaggi, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Tim Bradley and Robert Guerrero.
Hatton vs Senchenko Undercard
Scott Quigg vs Rendall Munroe
super bantamweight showdown
Martin Murray vs Jorge Navarro
* Murray will be Sergio Martinez's next opponent if victorious
Gary Buckland vs Stephen Foster Jr
British super featherweight title
Sergey Rabchenko vs Cedric Vitu.
European junior middleweight title
UPDATE - HATTON KO'D IN ROUND 10. LEFT HOOK TO THE BODY. HATTON ON THE CANVAS FOR THE 10 COUNT. MORE DETAILS COMING!
Former WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko (34-1, 23 KOs) stopped ormer two-time world champion Ricky Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs) with a nasty left hook to the body tonight before a packed and raucius house at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England.
Hatton's aggression eemed to put him on the way to a unanimous decision, but Senchenko, in spectacular fashion, uncoiled a left hook that put Hatton on the deck and kept him there.
The finish came in Round 9 and FightSaga had Hatton ahead 5 rounds to 3 entering the round.