I DOUBT whether any serious boxing commentator believes that Ricky Hatton can ever again compete at the top level in the ring.
It is not unknown for sportsmen, once they have finished their professional career, to play their sport for fun as an amateur or occasionally for a charity or other good cause.
What is very unusual in professional boxing is for a fighter to return to the game for any other reason than he needs the money.
Boxing is not the kind of sport in which you have the equivalent of a kickabout in the park, and so it has only been a pressing need for cash that has compelled some boxers (including the incomparable “Sugar” Ray Robinson) to put the gloves on and get back inside the ropes.
There is no suggestion that Ricky Hatton needs the money, so why is he boxing again at 33 years of age, over three and a half years since Manny Pacquiao stopped him in two rounds in Las Vegas?
Hatton has tried to explain his compulsion to box again and while I am not a sports psychiatrist it seems clear that it is when he is boxing that Ricky feels best about himself and those around him.
He also believes that his depression and low self-esteem will be changed by another bout which wipes out the sad memory of his stunning defeat by Pacquiao. I hope he has factored in the possibility of another defeat as his opponent at the weekend is a former Olympic champion who has lost only one out of 31 professional fights, so Ricky needs to be on his mettle on Saturday and remember that there is someone who has come to spoil his party.
I hope he comes through the fight unscathed and with a win. I then hope he retires again, this time for good, content that he has set the record straight and still with his marbles (and wallet) intact, to enjoy a long and happy retirement as one of the most popular British sportsmen of the last decade or so, only demonstrating his prowess in charity football matches and not needing the catharsis of the ring any more.