Harty on Ricky Hatton’s comeback

When it comes to comebacks, it appears only the late Frank Sinatra and Take That really perfected the concept.

This Saturday in Manchester, Ricky Hatton follows in a long line of illustrious boxers when he makes his return to the ring after almost three and a half years in retirement.

Such is Hatton’s draw, he sold more than 18,000 tickets for Saturday’s bill at the MEN before credible opponent, Vyacheslav Senchenko, was even announced.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big Hatton fan. I had the privilege of compéring him on the after-dinner circuit and also twice watched him fight in Las Vegas. But, come Saturday night, will Hatton’s biggest foe be Senchenko or his own demons?

His fight with drugs and depression is well documented, along with the nature of his defeat in his last contest, an emphatic second-round knock-out in Vegas by Manny Paquiao in 2009.

As a columnist, fence sitting is really a bit of a no-no, but I’m still undecided about Saturday night. Not the result but more the reasons why Ricky has chosen to come back.

Given what he earned in his career, talk of a cash crisis, I think, are wide of the mark.

I’m actually more concerned with the fact he’s apparently had a big fall-out with his dad, Ray, to the point where a reconciliation looks unlikely. His dad was a big influence, and, whether he will be the same Hatton, both in and out of the ring, without him,remains to be seen.

My only hope is that, regardless of the result, he comes through the fight unscathed, and, perhaps, his biggest victory will be when he can look at himself in the mirror on Sunday morning and know he did the right thing coming back.

While the ticket-buying public have made the event a sell-out, the TV coverage is perhaps a different matter. After the David Haye debacle in Hamburg, pay-per-view boxing looked finished in this country. However, Hatton finds himself on Primetime on Saturday with viewers having to pay £14.95 for the privilege.

Given that more people have probably seen Lord Lucan in the last 12 months than watched Primetime, I will be interested to see the subscriber numbers.