“A fighter knows and I know it isn’t there anymore. It’s too many hard fights, I’ve burned the candle at both ends, I’ve put my body through the mire in and out of the ring but it doesn’t matter how hard I train, I couldn’t have done any better “.
Ricky Hatton’s refreshing and frank self-assessment of his heart-wrenching defeat to Vyacheslav Senchenko in Manchester only endeared himself more to his adoring fans all over the country. The Mancunian, famed for his grit and determination in the ring and flamboyant, lager fuelled antics outside the ring, harboured the boxing hopes of a nation for almost a decade and very rarely did the ‘Hitman’ let his loyal faithful down.
The devastating pictures of Hatton in tears, grimacing following a brutal body shot from the Ukrainian on Saturday proved to be the final straw that forced him to call time on his boxing tenure but he surely should be remembered for his all-action approach, impeccable timing and his fascinating ability to sustain heavy pressure that lit up boxing rings on both sides of the Atlantic. Hatton, a two-weight World champion who’s only two career defeats (prior to this weekend) were to two of the best ‘pound for pound’ fighters of their generation in Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr, is leaving behind a boxing legacy with a record of 45 wins and just 3 losses, one of the best records for any British fighter – not bad for a lad raised on a council estate in Hyde.
…a sad moment for Hatton and boxing in general…
Hatton’s humble beginnings contribute to his success and admiration from his fans. His pre-fight ritual of a full English breakfast, his drinking capabilities when outside of his training schedule and his weight gains and losses (Hatton lost 4 stone to make the weight for Saturday’s bout), have given him a personable quality which has allowed fans to feel far more attached to the Manchester City fanatic.
Saturday’s defeat is of course a sad moment for Hatton and boxing in general but he and his fans can surely take solace from the fact he looks to have picked the right time to hang up his gloves and preserve his legacy and more importantly his health. There are plenty of things Ricky Hatton will be remembered for and with his promising promoting career well under way and his family life to concentrate on, hopefully Hatton can finally be happy outside of the ropes.