Former junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton’s Nov. 24 comeback fight will be televised live on Showtime, the U.S. premium cable network announced on Friday.
The 34-year-old veteran returns from a 3½-year retirement following his knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao to face former WBA welterweight beltholder Vyacheslav Senchenko in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
The special afternoon edition of Showtime Championship Boxing (5:00 p.m. ET/PT) will be the British star’s first time fighting on the American network since he won THE RING, WBA and IBF 140-pound titles from recent Hall-of-Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu in 2005.
An evening replay of the fight will air on Showtime Extreme on the same night.
Hatton (45-2, 32 knockouts) could have waited another two years until his name appeared on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot. Given his accomplishments and unparalleled popularity (his comeback fight sold 18,000 tickets even before an opponent was announced), he was very likely to be inducted.
However, Hatton, who battled depression, drug addiction, extreme weight gain and suicidal thoughts after going into a self-imposed exile following the 2009 loss to Pacquiao, did not want his boxing career to end on such a sour note.
“People ask if I should come back, will I win, can I be world champ again. They don’t get it,” Hatton was quoted in the Showtime press release. “I’ve already won. I’m here. I saved myself. The end of the ‘Ricky Hatton Story’ was not being knocked out by Pacquiao. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and showing what I can do. I want to get back in the title mix, but you can’t do that by taking easy fights. That’s why I’m taking on this guy.’’
Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs), of Ukraine, went undefeated in 31 fights before losing the WBA welterweight belt to Paulie Malignaggi last April.