RICKY HATTON has warned Amir Khan he is running out of time if he wants to recapture the world title.
Former two-weight world champ Hatton has been wowed by Khan’s antics in ITV reality series “I’m a Celebrity” where he is becoming an unexpected favourite after a record £400,000 appearance fee.
Some insist Khan, 30, has gone into “the jungle” to raise his profile with the general public ahead of quitting the ring. Others say he has done it for financial reasons.
But Hatton, who made an unsuccessful 2012 comeback after three years in retirement, insisted: “The longer Amir is out of action, the harder it will become and I think he is running out of time.
“I’d love to see him back, there’s a few miles left on his clock and he could finish on a massive high but that clock is ticking.
“I get the impression looking at him on TV that even though he will be out of the ring for two years, there’s no reason he can’t do it — but the question is does he want to?
“It’s extremely difficult mentally to get back to the shape you need to fight after so long.
“The more regularly you box, the easier it is to control your nerves.
“But the longer you are out the more questions you ask yourself: ‘Have I still got it? Do I have to go through all the rubbish with training camps again?’ ”
Hatton was knocked out in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009 and struggled with issues he tried to drown with booze.
Three years on he was back and fit enough to fight Vyacheslav Senchenko — only to suffer defeat in front of a home crowd at Manchester Arena.
Khan too has suffered personal trauma with his marriage to wife Faryal put under intense strain as family problems have bubbled behind the scenes.
Hatton added: “Looking at Amir on the telly, he looks happy, almost as if he doesn’t want to fight.
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“After I lost to Pacquiao I was bursting to box again. I wanted to be in that ring and didn’t want to hear what people were saying. There must be a reason Khan has stayed out nearly two years.
“I had a crushing loss to Pacquiao but Amir has had three of them and they all take their toll.
“Early on in his career he was knocked out in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott, then flattened by Danny Garcia in four followed by Canelo Alvarez in six after he stepping up two divisions.
“I thought he did himself proud against Canelo although it was a bad KO and I’m thinking will we ever see him in the ring again.”
Hatton says there is a way back for Khan but it will test him to the max. He added: “Amir’s not suffered the same problems.
“When I was ready to fight again, it was unbelievably hard to get my mind right and my body in shape.
“Due to the demons I had, I felt I’d let fans down after the Pacquiao loss but came back to see what I had left. I felt a bit of a fraud.
“I felt I had things to prove. I did not want to go out on a loss.
“It didn’t work out for me but Amir went up a few weights for Canelo and boxed well until the KO.
“That shows he has it in him to be a champion again — I hope Amir comes back with a vengeance and a great win.”