His fans chanted, "There's only one Ricky Hatton", and it was oh so true. Hatton hasn't fought in 26 months but he offically announced his retirement today.
He was beloved by his fans and in his hometown of Manchester he is a god. He was as blue collar and real as an athlete you'll ever fine. He never felt fake, like Mayweather, or put on a tough guy act, or changed his mood.
He was just Ricky Hatton, the funny, honest, hardworking fighter that we all love. This is why his retirement has been met with a lot of looking back and praising his career. He was a good fighter, no doubt, but how good was he.
I always like Hatton (45-2 32 KO) for the record and think he was a very good fighter. I have missed him and was hoping he would come back one more time and try to grab one last win.
He lost to the two best fighters of his generation and there is no shame in that. I hold nothing against him for those losses. My problem is his wins, or lack thereof. He had some solid, but not great wins, on the way up:
- Jon Thaxton. His first solid win against a decent fighter.
- Tony Pep. His first win over a good veteran (42-7-1). He had held the IBO title.
- Vince Phillips. Was his first win over a former title holder, Phillips held the IBF light welterweight title, who had some rub left (not much though).
- Ben Tackie. Was an okay fighter who was 0-2 in his last two before Hatton. Those losses were to Kostya Tszyu and Sharmba Mitchell.
- Michael Stewart. An okay fighter but nothing great.
So those are five wins that are good for an up-anc-coming fighter. Nothing that should get anyone excited and Phillips was the best win of that bunch which doesn't say much.
Then came his breakthrough against Tszyu. He made Tszyu quit after round 11, won the IBF light welterweight title, and was ahead on two of the three cards. This was one of the fights that drew me into boxing.
The atmosphere was unreal and it was just one of those moments that you never forget. Tszyu was the man in the division for 10 years, only losing to Phillips. Most were giving Hatton little chance with his face first style against the big punching Tszyu.
This was the last time that Tszyu stepped into the ring. The Tszyu fight and his brutal knockout of Carlos Maussa were his peak. Maussa was a decent fighter but nothing great.
He then hit American shores, moved up to welterweight, to win a tight decision against Luis Collazo, which he could of lost, and then moved back down to light welterewight to defeat Juan Urango.
He then finished an old Jose Luis Castillo with a body shot in four, and then lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr in 10. He then won a lopsided decision against Juan Lazcano, which wasn't so lopsided, before getting his second best career win against Paulie Malignaggi.
The Malignaggi was his best win in three years, since Tszyu, and the last good performance of his career. He was brutally knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in his next fight and called it a day.
That leaves five good up-and-coming wins and two really good title reign wins. His title reign was short and really wasn't anything to write home about. I understand his connection with the fans but I think he is a little overvauled.
He was a very good fighter and his style doesn't lend itself to a long career but he just didn't do anything to blow me away. The fact of the matter is though he was a damn fun guy to watch, had a great connection with the fans, and took risks to be the best.
He got knocked out by the two best fighters of his generation but he took the risks because he wanted to be the best. You gotta love the guy and I am going to miss him.