The day is upon us: Ricky Hatton steps back into the boxing ring today in Manchester, facing Vyacheslav Senchenko in a 10-round welterweight fight.
Hatton (45-2, 34 KO) has been absent from the ring since his May 2009 loss to Manny Pacquiao, which was so memorable that it did leave a lasting impression, and unfortunately, some remember just that, at least for now. But Hatton did so much more. He ruled the 140-pound division, dethroning Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu in 2005, sending Tszyu into retirement. His only losses came to Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, easily arguable as the two best fighters of the last decade.
And he brought with him probably the most loudly passionate fan base in boxing for his generation. Sometimes these fans are criticized for not being diehard boxing fans, but I say, so what? Given the decline in boxing's popularity over the years, Hatton bringing in such a large number of casual fans should be considered impressive, not a knock on his fan base.
The drums will sound again. "Blue Moon" will play again. The chants will go up again. Win or lose, today is a big day for boxing. Ricky Hatton will give it another shot.
BLH staff picks: Hatton vs Senchenko