It is always sad when top athletes do not know when to walk away, as they often leave us with less flattering memories. One sport that seems to be hard to leave is boxing. There have been many who have retired only to come out of retirement, because they missed the adrenalin of climbing through the ropes one more time, or the commitment and camaraderie of pre-fight training. Some simply missed the adulation of the fans. Greats such as Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard have admitted it was simply too hard to walk away, until it became glaringly obvious that they had to.
One of the biggest problems is often their support staff, who see the comebacks as another pay day, and think little of the safety or the reputation of the fighter. Some trainers do have the strength to step away when they feel the comeback is ill-advised, yet many feel that with them in the boxer’s corner they are less likely to come to harm.
One boxer due back in the ring after a three year lay off in which his weight has ballooned due to binge eating and drinking is Briton Ricky Hatton. Who also in that time lost his licence after an incident involving drugs.
Hatton was a superstar in Britain, before he was defeated by two of the greats of the modern era, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jnr. No shame in either of those defeats especially after defeating Kostya Tszyu to win his first World title.
He will now climb back in the ring in November and face another Australian Michael Katsidis hoping to relaunch his career at the age of 33. Hatton is rumoured to be worth GBP25million so one wonders why he has gone back to the gym. It has to be one of the aforementioned reasons as even a “Super-fight” against fellow Englishman Amir Khan is not that enticing?
Let us hope that he manages to not damage his past reputation or his health, as comebacks are undoubtedly fraught with danger in the brutal world of boxing