The Arc of Ricky Hatton

Christopher FalvelloCorrespondent IMay 4, 2009

After Saturday’s stunning fight, many have urged the courageous Brit, Ricky Hatton, to retire. This article is about why we, as fans, shouldn’t write off this brave fighter so quickly, and why, should he choose to leave boxing, the “Hit-man” should be remembered well.

First of all, as I said earlier, Ricky Hatton is one of the most courageous and toughest men in modern ring history. His all-action, never-say-die heart and blue collar work ethic are what endeared him to so many.

It takes a certain amount of fortitude and confidence to go up against the pound-for-pound best, not just once, but twice. Also, after the first round knockdowns, Hatton got back to his feet and went back to fighting.

To be caught flush the way he did only to go back into the lion’s den takes an amount of courage that is seldom seen in any endeavor.

More so, let’s look at the most significant portion of Hatton's career. In 2005 he out fought and out slugged the great Kotsya Tszyu, eventually forcing the hall-of-fame fighter into obsequience. With that victory, Hatton captured the undisputed (meaning “Ring” magazine) Junior Welterweight championship.

He has since fought eight times in three and a half years, successfully defending his title in five of those bouts. In one, he moved up to welterweight to capture an alphabet trinket at 147 pounds and again moved up in weight only to be beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Once again in that fight, Hatton tasted the canvass more than once. Being out-classed the way he was, it took valor, determination, and sheer guts to get up and fight on. Not just fight on, mind you, but fight on in an attempt to win. 

Although the loss generated doubts about his skill and the effects of his between bout weight gains, which have already been raised once more, he rebounded by defending his championship two more times.

The Lazcano fight was seen as evidence that Manchester’s favorite son was indeed through, but with the same determination that has carried him through his career (and a new trainer) the “Hit-man” went on to decimate Paul Malignaggi in what was a signature performance.

Finally, on Saturday night, his beloved title was taken from him in a shocking manner by boxing’s best fighter. Simply put, Hatton still had a few weaknesses, one of which is when shaken up he reverts to his old style, and that Pacquiao was perfectly equipped to exploit that shortcoming.

Also, as a litmus test of Hatton's toughness, Pacquiao had to drop the battling Brit three times to stop him. The third of which damn near killed Hatton. That's what it took to keep the pride of Manchester down.

That fearful left hand, by the by, was a startling and poignant reminder of the sudden violence inherent in this sport, and that no man is totally immune to it. Thankfully, his brain scan taken shortly after the fight revealed no damage.

So far Ricky has compiled a decent resume, perhaps not a resume of an all-time great fighter, but one solid enough to put him on the ballot for Canastota if not put him in the hall itself.

He still has legions of loyal fans, enough money for life, and a close knit family. He could easily walk away, if not walk away satisfied.

If this English bulldog wants to retire, good. If he wants to fight at least once more to go out on a win, equally as good. He’s certainly earned that opportunity.

Whichever way he chooses will be up to him. He is fortunate enough to have the kind of loving and supportive family that will stand by his decision.

So remember: he may have fallen, but if there is one quality this man posses it is the ability to get up.

I won’t be surprised if we will see him again. After all, “there’s only one Ricky Hatton.”


The picture of this article is a piece by Richard Slone who does some fantastic work. His art can be viewed and purchased at