Ricky Hatton hangs up his gloves

Ricky Hatton has retired from boxing.

kevin
Kevin Grech
7 July 2011, 12:00am
At a press conference in London, Hatton held back the tears as he finally announced his decision to hang up his gloves after a two year absence from the ring.

His decision ends a colourful and successful boxing career. Hatton was a world champion in two weight classes and was also one of Britain’s best loved sportsmen.

Hatton’s last fight was against Manny Pacquiao in his attempt to hold onto his IBO light welterweight belt. Pacquiao’s speed was just too much for Hatton. The fight ended after two rounds when Hatton was knocked out.

Hatton explained just how difficult the last two years had been and admitted he should have thrown in the towel shortly after his defeat to Pacquiao.

"Today is a very sad an upsetting day for me, but I have made the right decision," said Hatton.

"I have known this decision for some time now and I know I have needed to make it.

"It's fair to say that it drove me insane. I hit rock bottom not too long back because I was holding onto a dream that I never wanted to let go.

"Instead of moving on I spent the last 18 months sulking. If I could turn back the clock 18 months I would have done it then."

Hatton admitted that the main reason why he is leaving the sport with a heavy heart is because of the following he has built up over his time in the sport.

"The proudest moment of my career was seeing 35,000 Brits go over to Las Vegas to watch me fight Mayweather and 8,000 of them went to the weigh in. That's what I'll miss most," Hatton added.

"I'll miss everyone singing 'There's only one Ricky Hatton'. I'm never going to hear that again.

"When I got into the ring I used to look into that crowd and see everyone's eyes looking back and they were full of passion for me.

"It wasn't like they were cheering for a British boxer, they were cheering on their mate. I'll not feel that again and that'll be hard to take."

The main reason behind Britain's love affair with Hatton was his ability to connect with the masses.

A working-class man from Stockport, Hatton never hid the fact that he let himself go between fights, piling on the pounds due to excess eating and drinking.

He admits there is a tinge of regret that he did not keep to a strict regime that could have seen him become an even greater fighter though.

"If I could turn back the clock I wish I would not have ballooned as much in between fights," Hatton said.

"It's a catch 22 situation though. That's how I earned my fan base. Mayweather was a model pro. He did everything by the book, he never drank, but nobody likes him so I'd rather be in my position than his."

Ricky Hatton Factfile:

1978 - October 6: Born in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

1996 - Captures bronze medal at the World Amateur Championships.

1997 - September 11: Makes professional debut under the guidance of trainer Billy Graham and knocks out Colin McAuley in the first round at Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes.

1999 - Claims first pro title with a second-round TKO win against Tommy Peacock for the vacant Central Area light-welterweight title.

2000 - October 21: Beats Jon Thaxton on points to win the British light-welterweight title.

2001 - March 26: Wins vacant 'fringe' WBU light-welterweight title with fourth-round stoppage of Tony Pep.

2002 - June 1: Suffers first knockdown of his career in opening round against Eamonn Magee, but battles back to win on points.

2005 - June 4: Shocks the world by beating Kostya Tszyu, considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, in Manchester, winning the IBF light-welterweight title.

November 26: Overcomes nasty cuts to beat Carlos Maussa and add WBA crown to his IBF title.

December 21: Becomes first British fighter to receive the prestigious Ring Magazine 'Fighter of the Year' award.

2006 - Moves up to welterweight division and labours to victory against Luis Collazo, claiming the WBA title.

December: Awarded MBE in New Year's Honours list.

2007 - January 20: Knocks out Jose Luis Castillo, retaining IBO belt and winning WBC international light-welterweight title, which was later vacated.

2007 - June: Hatton's team agree terms with the camp of Floyd Mayweather for a December 8 fight in Las Vegas.

December 8: Knocked out in the 10th round by Mayweather in the first defeat of his professional career.

2008 - May 24: Retains IBO light-welterweight title by securing a unanimous points verdict against Juan Lazcano in front of 55,000 supporters at Manchester City's Eastlands stadium.

July 29: Announces split from long-time trainer Billy Graham.

September 3: Announces he will be trained by Floyd Mayweather Snr for his November fight with Paulie Malignaggi.

November 22: Wins light-heavyweight bout with Malignaggi in Las Vegas after the American's corner retire him in the 11th round.

2009 - May 2: Hatton's reign as light-welterweight world champion comes to a brutal end as Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao delivers a stunning second-round knockout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

August 11: Hatton confirms an all-British fight against Amir Khan is "a possibility".

2010 - January 13: Hatton announces he will return to the ring in 2010.

September 13: A spokesman for Hatton confirms the fighter has entered a rehabilitation facility due to "severe depression" and a "drink problem". The announcement follows News of the World allegations of cocaine use by Hatton.

September 23: The British Boxing Board of Control announce they have withdrawn Hatton's boxer's licence.

2011 - July 7: Finally announces his retirement from boxing, more than two years after his defeat to Pacquiao.

kevin
Kevin Grech is MaltaToday's sports editor. He has been the designer of MaltaToday's print ...