Has "The Hitman" Had It?

Mike LevyContributor IMay 7, 2009

A normally ruckus U.K. crowd stood stunned while their beloved boxing superstar Ricky Hatton laid motionless on the mat for minutes. The result of a Manny Pacquiao left hand, Hatton became another victim of the apparent pound-for-pound king.

Soon after the knockout loss many started wondering if this was the end for “The Hitman”. After being disposed of in two rounds by a much smaller and faster Pacquiao, Hatton looks like he might be heading into retirement.

A boxer famous for his weight gain between fights and loyal fan base, Hatton dominated the welterweight division with his vicious body punches and power until suffering his first loss against then pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather in December 2007.

A sub-par performance against Juan Lazccano followed five months later which lead to a change in trainers to, ironically, Floyd Mayweather Sr. With a new trainer and drive, Hatton would go on to destroy Paulie Malignaggi in route to a unanimous decision.

The superfight between Hatton and Pacquiao was now on the horizon and the fight would end in a second round knockout. The difference between this fight and the Mayweather fight in Hatton’s case was not only how long it lasted, but also the devastation and beating Hatton took.

Over 10 rounds, Floyd Mayweather methodically beat down Hatton and surprised some when the knockout eventually came in the tenth. It took Floyd five rounds to get a rhythm and counter Hatton. But with Pacquiao it took 30 seconds by way of a right hand, to throw Hatton off his game. After that right hand Pacquiao let it be known that it was going to be a short night for the British star.

With Hatton lunging, Pacquiao would throw combinations then escape and land the right hand throughout the first round. After the first round, there had been two knockdowns. By the start of the second Hatton was out of it and a left hand at 2:59 left him looking up at the MGM Grand Garden Arena ceiling and back on the career he has had.

At 30, it’s really hard to think its time for Hatton to retire. But with 47 fights under his belt and his inability to defeat the cream of the crop at the top of the pound-for-pound list, it would not be surprising to see Hatton retire within a year or at least after two more fights.

He still is one of the biggest, if not the biggest draw in boxing today due to his loyal British fan base that travels to wherever he fights and sings, “There’s Only One Ricky Hatton”.

But if Ricky Hatton ends up pulling an Oscar De La Hoya and starts fighting for money way past his prime, then the sport of boxing’s most recognizable names will only be remembered for being knocked out by the best in boxing and not for his aggressive style, body punching, and overall love for the sport.