LONDON – Two years after his last fight, British former welterweight and light-welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton brought the curtain down on his career on Thursday.
Stockport-born Hatton suffered just his second professional defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in May 2009. However, the brutal nature of that defeat, as he was knocked out in the second round, raised doubts at the time as to his future, and it ultimately proved to be his last appearance in a ring.
“I am very upset. It’s a very sad day for me. I know it is the right decision though,” 32-year-old Hatton said.
“I’ve known it was the right thing to do for 18 months to be honest. It’s a bit of a relief to finally do it. It’s been hovering over my head for such a long time. I need closure on my career so I can move on with my life.”
Hatton initially broke through in 1996, winning a bronze medal at the World Amateur Championships.
He then worked his way up to become British light-welterweight champion, and international recognition soon followed as he claimed a fourth-round stoppage win over Tony Pep to win the ‘fringe’ IBU light-welterweight title in 2001.
By 2005, Hatton was gaining a reputation as one of the world’s best fighters, thanks largely to a stunning win against Kostya Tszyu, at the time considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
That victory in front of his home fans in Manchester allowed Hatton to get his hands on the IBF light-welterweight title.
A year later and Hatton had moved up a division to welterweight, overcoming Luis Collazo to take the WBA crown.
Hatton finally succumbed to his first professional defeat in December 2007 as he was knocked out in the tenth round by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas, but less than six months later he recovered to retain his IBO light-welterweight belt with a points victory against Juan Lazcano.
That fight was watched by 55,000 fans at Eastlands Stadium, home of Hatton’s beloved Manchester City, and it proved to be the high watermark of his career.
After separating from long-time trainer Billy Graham, Hatton worked with Floyd Mayweather Sr. as he went on to beat Pauli Malignaggi in Las Vegas.
Soon after, his reign as light-welterweight world champion came to an end courtesy of Pacquiao’s vicious left-hook.
Talk of a return to the ring after that never materialized, and Hatton’s boxing license was revoked in September last year following newspaper allegations of cocaine use.