Ricky Hatton fears Morecambe’s Tyson Fury may already have done “too much damage” to his career by the time he launches his comeback.
The heavyweight is preparing to return this summer having not fought since November 2015 owing to numerous personal problems that had led to his boxing licence being suspended.
Fury won the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles when he outpointed Wladimir Klitschko to secure one of the finest ever victories by a British boxer before struggling with depression and admitting to using cocaine.
The 29-year-old also accepted a backdated two-year ban in December after UK Anti-Doping charged him with testing positive for elevated levels of the banned steroid nandrolone.
By the point of his planned return this summer, Fury will have been inactive for a similar period to Hatton prior to his own attempted comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko in November 2012.
A struggling Hatton – a former light-welterweight and welterweight world champion – was defeated in that fight having also had to lose a significant amount of weight and battle depression, and he never fought again.
Hatton found he was no longer capable of fighting at the level that led him to such success, and of Fury he said: “The one thing that worries me is in the two or three years he’s had out, has he already done too much damage?
“If he’d fought Anthony Joshua maybe six, seven months after Klitschko, he’d have beaten him.
“Can he claw back the damage he’s done with putting on the weight, and whatever’s happened in his life, can he get that back? I don’t know.
“It’s very hard when you’ve been doing it for all of them years. I lost weight in the gym, in sparring I felt brand new, and then the minute the bell went on fight night, I went ‘This ain’t here no more’.”