WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi will be a ringside commentator at the sold-out Manchester Arena, for Saturday’s Showtime-televised clash between former junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton, of England, and ex-WBA welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko, of Ukraine.
Hatton (45-2, 32 knockouts) and Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs) each weighed 146.5 pounds for a matchup that ends a long layoff for Hatton, who lost two of his past four fights by stoppage to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in December of 2007 and May of 2009, respectively.
Hatton, 34, whose last fight was against Pacquiao, has endured an ongoing battle to overcome depression, drug addiction and suicidal thoughts.
In Senchenko, 35, Hatton faces a man whose last fight was April’s ninth-round knockout loss to Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs), whom Hatton stopped in the 11th-round in November of 2008 — one fight prior to facing Pacquiao.
Malignaggi, who turned 32 on Friday, is coming off last month’s Showtime-televised split-decision victory over Mexico City’s Pablo Cesar Cano.
“The keys for Hatton are to really get inside and be rough, a la Hatton,” said Malignaggi, who will be calling the fight for England’s Prime Time network. “Senchenko is a big welter, but he’s not a physical one as the doubts creep in for him once things take a turn for the worse. So Hatton will want to create those doubts early.”
“For Senchenko, its about establishing his jab. If he can get Hatton to get frustrated because he can’t get past the jab to get inside, then he may be able to set him up for big right hands as well. That’s his ticket to success, because he’s gotta establish a way to make Hatton respect him.”
Malignaggi has been mandated to face the WBA’s interim beltholder, Diego Chaves, (22-0, 18 KOs), of Argentina by Jan. 27, according to Malignaggi’s attorney, Steve Bash, though Hatton has said he would love a rematch with Malignaggi should he get beyond Senchenko.
Photo by Mark Robinson, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com