MANCHESTER, United Kingdom - Former world champion Ricky Hatton retired from boxing once again after his comeback fight against Ukraine's Vyacheslav Senchenko ended in defeat.
After a three-and-a-half year retirement from the sport, in which the 34-year-old Englishman battled alcohol and drug problems, as well as depression, he was outclassed by Senchenko who took victory on a ninth-round knockout.
Immediately after Saturday's welterwieght contest Hatton, who was boxing in front of his Manchester home crowd, said he would have to have a "good think" about his future. But at a post-fight news conference he announced his retirement.
"I needed one more fight to see if I had still got it -- and I haven't," explained Hatton, who said he now intended to concentrate on his career as a boxing promoter.
"I found out tonight it isn't there no more. I'm a straight-shooter and I tell the truth. I can look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I did my best, but there is always an excuse to find."
He added: "I got in the best shape I possibly could but if I hadn't been hit with that body shot I would have just scraped over the line with a points win and I honestly think I would still be telling you all the same thing.
"A fighter knows and I know it isn't there any more. It's too many hard fights, I've burned the candle at both ends, I've put my body through the mire in and out of the ring but it doesn't matter how hard I train, I couldn't have done any better.
"I'm a happy man tonight. I don't feel like putting a knife to my wrists. I have got the answers I needed.
"I got the opportunity and I got the answers and no matter how upsetting it is, I have got to be a man and say it is the end of Ricky Hatton."
Hatton's personal problems started when he was knocked out by Filipino great Manny Pacquiao in two rounds in May 2009.
He was left haunted by the savage defeat -- one of only two professional losses before Saturday's bout -- and his life descended into chaos.
A former world champion at light-welterweight and welterweight, Hatton piled on the pounds as he drank excessively, encountered drug problems and even contemplated suicide.
But on the eve of Saturday's fight, he had appeared to be in good physical and mental shape.
However, come the bout his defence was worryingly open and he ended the fight with his right eye almost shut after taking too many blows.
At ringside were Hatton's partner Jennifer, who initially opposed his comeback, and his younger brother Matthew. Missing, though, were Hatton's parents, after a row with his father.
'The Hitman' started well and Senchenko, who earlier this year lost the WBA welterweight world title to Paulie Malignaggi -- stopped by Hatton in 2008 -- was under pressure early in the third round.
But later that same round Hatton's leaky defence led to him being repeatedly caught by his taller opponent.
Senchenko, 35, began landing with the jab more in the fifth and then could not miss Hatton in the next as the fight turned in the favour of the Ukrainian.
Senchenko suffered a cut beneath the left eye in the seventh round but he was enjoying his best spell in the fight and in the eighth peppered Hatton with hurtful jabs.
Hatton neglected his jab late on to allow Senchenko to pick his shots, with a left to the kidneys ending the fight.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse