On a Monday conference call to hype his Saturday comeback fight against Vyacheslav Senchenko, beloved Brit pugilistic icon Ricky Hatton said he was keen on meeting Paul Malignaggi, in Brooklyn, N.Y., for his next bout if things go smoothly Saturday in England.
An everyman figure who made it no secret that, like the majority of us regular souls, he was prone to too many plates of takeout and excessive pints, Hatton, 34, last fought in May 2009. He got blown out by Manny Pacquiao in two rounds and spiraled into a pit of despair following that. He battled substance abuse and several times on the call referenced multiple suicide attempts. Hatton said that by climbing out of that quagmire he has already won a battle. He expects to be in good enough form to beat Senchenko at Manchester Arena.
Then, he'd love a scrap with Malignaggi. Maybe right after the comeback bout, in the U.S. or England?
"It's the easiest one to make," Hatton said, "because of [Malignaggi's] history with Golden Boy. I'd like to come to fight in New York. I like new challenges. It's nice that my fans follow me around the world [and] take over the place."
Hatton beat Malignaggi via 11th-round TKO in 2008. That bout sticks in the Brooklyner's craw. "I would love to see Ricky look spectacular on Saturday night, to build it up goo,d" said Malignaggi, who holds the welterweight crown he took off Senchenko in April. "I'm in Malta now and heading to England tomorrow. I will be at Hatton's fight, working with Primetime on the U.K. broadcast of the fight."
Senchenko, 35, is no pup, but he hasn't been retired, as Hatton has. It's anyone's guess -- and that includes Hatton's -- on how many layers of rust have accumulated on "The Hitman." This comeback could easily be a one and done.