Two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton was just 188 seconds from claiming a win on his eagerly-awaited return to the ring and may have been celebrating a retirement victory if he made it to the final bell.
The 34 year-old was ahead 77-76 on two judges’ cards, with a third having the fight 78-74 as former WBA title holder Vyacheslav Senchenko took all the wind out of Hatton’s sails with a crunching left to the body.
Hatton showed glimpses of his old marauding self in the opening five rounds until fatigue and ring-rust ultimately ended his world title dreams after which, the likeable Mancunian decided to hang up his gloves a second time.
Whether things may have played out differently with a lesser opponent will always be an unanswered question as Hatton said himself he wouldn’t have been happy with any other calibre of opposition for a comeback.
The ‘Hitman’ has now been given the clarity he wanted to keep him out of the ring for good, although Hatton may have walked away victorious if he could have avoided the Ukrainian for just over ten more seconds in the ninth round.