Boxing: Frank Warren urges Ricky Hatton to abandon comeback plans

 

Frank Warren has urged Ricky Hatton to abandon his ill-advised comeback plans, fearing the inevitable decline of his skills will render his return an anti-climax.

Hatton has called a press conference in Manchester for tomorrow morning when he is to announce his three-year retirement from the sport is over.

The 33-year-old's last outing was a savage second-round knockout by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009 and he has since overcome drug and alcohol problems.

But Warren, who split from Hatton in 2005 after guiding him to the IBF world light-welterweight title, doubts the 33-year-old has anything left to offer.

"I'd prefer Ricky not to box. He's not going to get any better at the age of 33, but it's his decision," the promoter said.

"He's returned to the gym and that has given him focus and direction, but I'd rather he stay there training and not fight.

"I hope he's still got it, but it won't be there...it just doesn't happen like that.

"He's had a lot of problems outside the ring for a long, long time and it just won't happen.

"I believe he's had a good career and he should reflect on that.

"No-one should be encouraging him to return and I just hope it doesn't wind up being a big disappointment for him."

Only Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather mastered Hatton during a magnificent 47-fight career that peaked with his points win over Kostya Tszyu in 2005.

While there is no shame in losing to his generation's finest two boxers, Hatton's longevity was threatened by an indisciplined lifestyle that saw him balloon in weight between fights.

Retirement ushered in the darkest period of his life and the Mancunian reached his lowest ebb in 2010 when he checked into rehab to be treated for depression.

"The writing was on the wall from his last fight that he should retire. Then he had his personal problems," Warren said.

"But the one thing he's done that we should give him credit for is clean up his act.

"When it came to fighting Mayweather and Pacquiao, it was a step too far for him, but then it is for virtually all fighters.

"For me, after beating Kostya Tszyu he never looked the same again.

"He never capitalised on that win and allowed his lifestyle to ruin his boxing career. You can't get that back."

WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly supports Hatton's decision and insists he could once again be crowned world champion, though accepts it is unlikely.

"It's a good shout for him to come back. He's only 33 and has had a good break from the sport," Cleverly said.

"He may have the hunger again now and go out on a high after that loss to Pacquiao. I support the decision.

"He was a great fighter - hungry, determined and would fight anybody, taking on the very best. He was a great champion and a fighter to look up to.

"Winning a world title after having so long out of the sport is a long shot, especially after living that lifestyle, but it's possible.

"He's still got the foundation there from many years ago. he could still beat someone like (WBA world welterweight title holder) Paul Malignaggi."

PA

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