Hatton not worried by welterweight return

Updated: Thursday, 15 Nov 2012 10:10

Ricky Hatton insists he has no qualms about making his boxing comeback as a welterweight.

Next Saturday, Hatton takes on Vyacheslav Senchenko at the weight class above the 10-stone light-welterweight division he dominated in his prime.

Only twice previously in a 47-fight career has 34-year-old ventured 7lbs north to welter, with the results mixed at best.

Hatton's debut at the weight was his first fight at the top of an American bill, edging Luis Collazo over 12 brutal rounds in Boston to claim the WBA title in May 2006 and earn the distinction of becoming a two-weight world champion.

Following the gruelling nature of that triumph, Hatt elected not to defend the belt and did not step up again until suffering a first career loss at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"To be honest with you when I fought Collazo it was a hard fight, but normally when you're moving up in weight you have a couple of fights first," Hatton said.

"Not me - straight in for a world title against a tough, good southpaw.

"So yeah, it was a tough fight and the other one was a gentleman called Floyd Mayweather, so you're not playing games there really."

"I've been a world champion at welterweight and fought the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at welterweight, so I have been a success at welterweight" - Ricky Hatton 

When Mayweather's pound-for-pound rival Manny Pacquiao inflicted a second professional defeat inside two devastating rounds in May 2009, three years on the other side of the ropes followed.

Hatton's famed over-indulgence between bouts took a dark turn during this period, as severe personal problems were accompanied by alarming weight gain.

Under the watchful eye of veteran Manchester trainer Bob Shannon, Hatton has painstakingly shed almost four-and-a-half stone since beginning comeback preparations this summer.

An open workout at his own gym in Hyde yesterday revealed a lean and mean physique, and Hatton feels ready to do the business in the higher division against a 35-year-old opponent who lost his WBA championship and unbeaten record to Paulie Malignaggi last time out.

"By the time I step in the ring I'll have done (lost) four-and-a-half stone," Hatton added. "I think five stone might be a bridge too far, getting back down to 10 stone.

"The top and bottom of it is I've been a world champion at welterweight and fought the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at welterweight, so I have been a success at welterweight.

"The majority of my success was at junior welter but, no, I'm mature now - strong at the weight, big at the weight."

With rising Sheffield star Kell Brook on the cusp of a world title challenge and Amir Khan pondering a step up, Shannon agrees that 147 lbs is the best place for Hatton.

"It was a concern because he's never had his best days at welterweight, but at the end of the day, you mature as you get older.

"I think he's matured into a welterweight now and that's where the big fights are for him anyway."