British boxing fans are tipping their caps to a national sports hero after Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton officially announced his retirement from boxing on Thursday.
Hatton, 32, compiled a 45-2 record during his 14-year career with 32 knockouts that helped establish him as a folk hero in his hometown of Manchester. He won the junior welterweight championship by beating Kostya Tszu in 2005 and then added the welterweight belt to his waist.
But Hatton’s last appearance in the ring ended with a disastrous second-round knockout at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in May 2009 that left his career careening off course. Since that night, Hatton has battled depression, alcoholism and public shame.
“There have been some amazing highs, and although I always wanted to be a world champion, I went beyond my wildest dreams.”
Just last week Hatton encouraged David Haye to keep his chin up and nix his plans for an early retirement following a one-sided loss to Wladimir Klitschko last Saturday. Haye stated his desire to call it quits before his 31st birthday in October unless he could secure a rematch with Klitschko for the WBO, WBA and IBF titles.
Hatton also suggested the British heavyweight should consider crossing the Atlantic to bolster his brand.
“It would be nice for David Haye to see the Hayemaker’s name up in lights in Las Vegas like I had. He’s not had the chance to do that yet. It would be nice for him to go to America, re-establish himself over there and come back and get a rematch over here with Wladimir or fight Vitali.
“He’s still the most exciting heavyweight in the division. I am proud to call him a friend and I think if he does come back we will get right behind him.”
Here’s Pacquiao’s brutal knockout of Hatton in their 2009 fight.