Ricky Hatton rolls back the years as the boxing legend returns to the ring for exhibition in Manchester

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Ricky Hatton returned to the ring for one final time to face Marco Antonio Barrera in an exhibition at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday night.

The 44-year-old stepped back through the ropes for the first time in almost 10 years as he showed off the results of his incredible four-stone weight loss transformation.

Hatton faced 48-year-old Barrera in bout of eight two-minute rounds that had no scoring.

No official winner was declared but Hatton put on a show for a raucous crowd and showed how far he had come from his days of ballooning in weight, mental health struggles and hitting “rock bottom”.

The British boxing legend came out to Blue Moon and poked fun at himself by using a walking frame flanked by two individuals in nurses outfits in a hilarious ring walk.

At the venue of some of his greatest nights, Hatton showed he had got himself into fighting shape by displaying quick footwork and throwing the better of the punches in the opening round.

The pace was slower than some of his famous nights but Hatton and Barrera put on a show for the crowd.

They kept trading punches right up to the bell in the eighth round before they embraced in the middle of the ring

Hatton told Sky Sports: “(We got) everything and more. Me and Marco are friends but we’re proud men and with such a big crowd in, getting behind me, sometimes I thought how it would go if it got a bit heated, but it was entertaining and everything we wanted.

“I’ve done loads of good things in boxing, the Kostya Tszyu night here when I won my world title, the fights in Vegas which all these fans went to watch me, absolutely brilliant... but, with the stage I’m at in my life, this is up there as one of the best.”