Ricky Hatton is reportedly giving serious consideration to a return to the boxing ring this year, as the Manchester Evening News says the "Hitman" has recently shed a lot of weight and has been speaking with those close to him about a comeback.
The target for that return might be Paulie Malignaggi, the reigning WBA welterweight titlist, and Malignaggi says if Hatton wants to fight, he's ready to do it:
"It's loss that I've had to live with. It's a loss that hindered me and every day I think about that loss and it bothers me. It's unfortunate because I should have done much better but it was what it was. The rematch is something that interests me. I have nothing but respect for Ricky, his fans and his family. They were nothing but respectful to me during the entire promotion and I expect nothing less in the rematch. I know that he wants to come back and win a title to reclaim old glory but it's my time now and I know that I can beat Ricky Hatton."
I'm a fan of both guys. Paulie looked terrific in carving up Vyacheslav Senchenko in April, and I'm genuinely glad he's got new life in his career because he's an entertaining fighter, an entertaining guy, and also just a pretty genuine dude all around.
But I don't want to see this happen. Hatton turns 34 in October and hasn't fought in three years, since he was savagely knocked out by Manny Pacquiao. Sure, Hatton (45-2, 32 KO) has only ever lost to Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. But it's been so long, and in his post-fighting career, he's battled addictions, battled depression, battled the same weight gain issues he had as an active fighter, and one thing he hasn't done is get younger or more in shape.
There's no good that comes from a Ricky Hatton comeback. I've said this about Oscar De La Hoya, too. What good would it do either of them? These are guys who had to get over the shock of no longer being active fighters. They did that, turned the corner in their lives, and they've both got good jobs promoting fighters. Ricky is also training fighters now.
Why come back, when there's no real endgame? Old, banged-up fighters don't end on good notes 99.9999% of the time. Why try and turn back that clock? Why go through it again?
Of course, I don't know what he's feeling. Maybe it's just something as a man he needs to do. I hope he stays retired, personally, but it's up to Ricky, of course. He seems to have a good group of people around him, and if he comes back, I can only hope he's really ready for it.
Malignaggi has been linked to Golden Boy's debut at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 20.