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The Hit Man is back, just like we said.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON

THIS week, Sky TV announced it had exclusive news that Ricky Hatton would be having one more fight before he hangs up his gloves.

Had they read the Sunday Mercury back on June 21 they would have known then what the score was.

I wrote on that date: From a source close to the Hatton camp, I understand that there is a strong likelihood that it (his career) isn't all over.

I was told: "It's by no means certain but there are strong feelings about having at least another fight.

"Ricky certainly doesn't want to go out on a defeat and he would like to end on a very high note with a big thank you to his fans with a stunning victory.

"Who it would be against I don't know. But there have been whispers about Amir Khan which would be a mouth-watering match. It would have all the hype and razzamatazz - and money."

NO SURPRISE: Ricky Hatton Sunday Mercury readers were the first to know... but that's nothing surprising!

Clearly, Hatton and his camp want to stay in there as long as they can, enjoying the spotlight of stardom and the massive income the Hit Man can command.

That is understandable but the stunning defeat at the hands of Filipino Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas amazed the world.

Hatton was felled with one of the most perfect left hooks ever thrown in a boxing ring at the end of the second round.

I was there and it was a privilege to witness such sporting prowess but it was also dreadfully sad and deeply worrying to see the demise of a wonderfully entertaining boxer flat on his back unconscious.

My instant thought as the paramedics worked hard to revive Hatton's shattered body was that he couldn't possibly go back into the ring. "Hang up your gloves, Ricky, it's all over," I thought.

Proud Nothing has happened since to change that view. I have been in Hatton's company on several occasions, particularly after Matthew Macklin's fights, and I would be delighted if he now concentrated on developing his promotional company, which is taking off.

His physique as a fighter has gone but he still stands proud among the elite of world boxing for what he has achieved. I'd hoped he would leave it that way.

But he has decided to take a family holiday in Australia and when he gets back he is going to hit the fitness trail once again in the hope that he can shed the surplus poundage.

My information is that the amount of his weight loss will almost certainly govern who he goes into the ring against sometime in June or July.

He says that he owes it to his fans to "give it one more go". I cannot think of anyone who would agree with him but we will all be there on the night - fans and the media all hoping for a happy Hit Man victory.

But will that be the end?

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NO SURPRISE: Ricky Hatton
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2010
Words:508
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