Ricky Hatton announced yesterday that he will return to the ring this year to try to end his career on a high.
The former world light-welterweight champion suffered a comprehensive knockout defeat to Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last May, but wants another chance to show his adoring public what he can do before he hangs up his gloves for good.
"As a fighter, you don't want your last fight to be like that," Hatton said of the second-round stoppage. "I want to finish at the top and I know my last training camp could have been better, so those are the reasons I'm giving it one more go. I've sat down and listened to the people that are close to me and know what I'm capable of and know what I've still got in me."
Although opponent, date and venue are all still to be confirmed, the 31-year-old's camp would prefer a bout on home soil and are considering a fight with the current WBA lightweight champion, Juan Manuel Marquez. The Mexican lost to Floyd Mayweather Jnr – the only other fighter to have beaten Hatton in 47 fights – on points in September, and has twice fought Pacquiao. He drew with the Filipino in 2004 and lost a split decision against him four years later. The Colombian IBF champion Juan Urango is another opponent on Hatton's radar.
"It's got to be a top-10 ranked, pound-for-pound fighter or a world champion," Hatton said. "I've boxed at such a high level and I could not have one more fight and people look at me and go, 'He's just had this fight just to knock someone over and end on top'. I want people to say, 'Give Ricky his credit – he finished at the top'.
"After the Mayweather defeat [in December 2007], I jumped into action straight away and I didn't really perform my best. But this time I've had a good rest, recharged the batteries and had a really good think; put that last fight really behind me and I'm happy to get back at it now.
"I'm going to have one more fight, maybe two more fights – it all depends on the performance of the first fight," he said. "It's always hard coming back. It would be very foolish of me to say, 'Two more fights, three more fights.'
"You can see I've set the wheels in motion for retirement – I've got my promotional company, my clothing brand. I'm not going to have too many more fights. At the minute, I'm definitely just going to have one more. I go on holiday next week to Australia and then when I come back I'm going to go straight into training."