Boxing legend “Iron” Mike Tyson cautioned former WBA welterweight and IBF light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton to avoid battling an overly formidable opponent too early in his comeback bid.
The 33-year-old Hatton (45-2, 32 KOs), awarded the 2005 Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year, recently announced he will return to the squared circle after a three year hiatus to scrap Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko on November 24 at the Manchester Arena in England.
Hatton hung up his gloves after sustaining a vicious second round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.
“It’s really difficult coming back,” said Tyson, 46, a deserved June 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum inductee who remains at 20 the youngest man to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles.
“You have to be consistent. Floyd Mayweather is a great champion. He’s been undefeated for 14 years. But that’s ok if you’re fighting once a year like he does, but if you’re fighting 4 or 5 times a year you get better and better. Ricky was a very active fighter. Yes, I’m excited about his comeback. But is he excited about it? If he’s excited about it, it excites me more. If he has the same vigour and hunger, that excites me. Ricky was in a lot of tough fights some people need time off to regenerate their batteries and we’ve seen people do that and come back and be successful.”
“The Hitman,” who has only been trumped professionally by prizefighting greats Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) and Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), acknowledged abusing drugs and alcohol to combat suicidal thoughts after retiring.
Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs), an enormously skilled boxer who beautifully intertwined his outstanding hand speed and accuracy with ferocious punching power, continued offering Hatton advice.
“My main advice for Ricky would be to take it very easy, you don’t go in over your head to prove you’re tough,” said Tyson, who is wrongly considered by many onlookers as nothing more than a cannibalistic, convicted rapist. “Take comfortable fights and build your confidence back up. Be comfortable about being back in the ring. It’s about having your pride and your ego in check. These are the proper procedures to go through to reach the destination that we claim to want. That’s basically what it is – he has to take small steps.”
Hatton, who claimed to frequently experience blackouts during his daylong benders, was stripped in September 2010 of his boxing license by the British Boxing Board of Control after being found guilty of misconduct for drug use.
“The Hitman’s” most impressive triumph came when he took the IBF light welterweight belt from International Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu by TKO in June 2005.
Many analysts hailed Hatton’s upset over Tszyu (31-2, 25 KOs) as the most spectacular victory by an English boxer in decades.
Regardless of the famed bloke’s past exploits, Hatton has suffered emotionally and physically in recent years and “he has to take small steps” because “it’s really difficult coming back.”
Ricky Hatton, a once fearless “Hitman,” would be wise to absorb “Iron Mike’s” words and take things slow.by