Stay Retired Ricky

By: Danny Richardson

Follow me @Danny_Boy_93


For the past month or so, there have been rumours in the boxing world that my favourite fighter of all time, former two weight world champion Ricky Hatton, will make a return to the ring after 3 years out of the sport. ‘The Hitman’, announced his retirement from boxing last year after struggling to come to terms with his loss to Manny Pacquiao back in 2009, where Hatton was brutally knocked out in 2 rounds by the Pac Man. Following his defeat to Pacquiao, the Hyde man struggled with depression and alcoholism, and was even snapped snorting cocaine by the press. This led to Hatton checking himself into rehab, and after seemingly coming to terms with his retirement; Ricky has built an ever growing promotional stable and has made the transition from fighter to trainer successfully, with the Hatton name and brand still as popular as ever.

 However, in the last few weeks, there have been whispers that Hatton is considering a comeback at the age of 33, and recent images of the Hitman seem to back these rumours up. Ricky is supposedly back in the gym and has shed a lot of the weight he has gained since retirement, and recent holiday snaps seems to show Hatton lighter than ever. These pictures have added fuel to the fire that Hatton will perform an incredible U-Turn and make a comeback, with many of his loyal fans divided with the idea that Ricky could yet fight again. Although his return would be massive for boxing, as one of the Hitman’s biggest fans, I have to say I’d hate to see Ricky come out of retirement and put his health at risk.

Like I said, I’m a huge fan of Ricky’s and he will always be my all time favourite fighter. He is the first fighter I ever really followed, at 9 years old I watched the Hitman battle hard to beat Eamon Magee, and from there his career went from strength to strength. His fight with Kostya Tszyu will always be one of my all time favourites, when, as a huge underdog, Hatton produced one of the greatest performances ever by a British fighter to dethrone a fighter who was considered the second best on the planet at the time. From there, Hatton demolished Carlos Maussa with one of the best knockouts I have ever seen, before he struggled to victory against Luis Collazo in his welterweight debut to become a 2 weight world champion, writing his name in British boxing history.

A win over Juan Urango and a stunning 4th round KO over Jose Luis Castillo with a trademark body shot earned the Hitman a shot at pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2007, and to this day I have never been as nervous before a fight. An army of British fans took over Vegas, and to this day the fight capital of the world has yet to witness anything like it since. Spurred on by all the support he received, Hatton started like a house on fire, before Mayweather’s class showed, as ‘Money’ stopped Hatton in the 10th round, breaking many British hearts in the process, including mine. I have never been so low following a fight, and I know that many British fans felt the same.

With his record now at 40-1, Hatton returned to the ring, labouring to victory over Juan Lazcano in Manchester. His lacklustre performance led to a split with long time trainer Billy Graham, with Ricky moving on to Floyd Mayweather Sr, father of the first man to beat him. A slight change in style saw Hatton become the first man to stop current WBA welterweight king Paulie Malignaggi to claim another world title, and the Hitman seemed back to his best, as a fight with Manny Pacquiao was set up for May 2009. The rest as they say, is history.

 Ricky was brutally stopped in 2 rounds, and the whole world witnessed a stunning fall from grace. Hatton’s punch resistance had gone, the blowing up in weight between fights looked to have caught up with him, and a torrid training camp with Mayweather Sr cost the Hitman in the biggest fight of his career after Mayweather Jr. The Ricky Hatton in the ring with Pacquiao was a shadow of the man who broke down Kostya Tszyu 4 years earlier and it was clear he needed to call it a day. And thankfully, last year he did. But rumours of a comeback have never gone away, and they seem to be gathering pace as it stands.

But I don’t want to see my hero fight again – and here’s why. Hatton had a phenomenal career and only ever lost to the best out there in Mayweather and Pacquiao, who will go down in history as two of the greatest ever, particularly in Mayweathers case. He is a British legend, and the most popular fighter to come out of this country ever. His achievements, particularly in terms of the army of fans he carried, will never be matched again, and for that alone, you have to regard the Hitman as a legend of boxing. He achieved so much, and although he lost his last contest against the phenomenon that is Manny Pacquiao, he won’t be remembered for that.

So why tarnish a legacy? If Ricky was to make a comeback, a rumoured opponent has been Paulie Malignaggi, a man Ricky dominated in late 2008. But would today’s Ricky Hatton be able to handle an opponent like Malignaggi? Granted, Malignaggi is one of the softest punchers in the game, so he wouldn’t be able to hurt Ricky, but he is incredibly slippery and he dominated a previously unbeaten world champion in Vyacheslav Senchenko to win a world title last time out. If Ricky was to face Malignaggi again and be out boxed, he would surely tarnish his legacy.

But say if he beat Malignaggi, where does he go from there? 3 years ago, Hatton was far past his best, and his punch resistance, a vital part of his style, had totally gone. There are some big punchers in the welterweight division, and I don’t think Ricky could live with that anymore. 3 years is a long time, and the punishment he took from Pacquiao was so bad, I’d hate to see him like that again. He can’t have improved anything in 3 years, if anything he will be a worse fighter in my opinion, because his speed and reflexes will surely have diminished. He may have the fire again, and his power may be up to scratch, but I just don’t see how he’d be able to compete anymore. My biggest worry is seeing him knocked out again, and all his personal demons returning because of it.

On the flip side, you could say that as he only lost to the best out there in Mayweather and Pacquiao, he still could compete as the best of the rest. A fight with Amir Khan, or even Kell Brook would be massive for Britain, and as Ricky has been losing the excess weight slowly, he could return invigorated. I suppose you never know, but I personally just don’t see it. 3 years out of the ring, particularly for a man who has a style like Ricky’s, is a long time and I don’t see how he could return to the top.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more that I’d like to see than for Ricky to return to the ring, become a world champion once again and prove the world wrong. I would love him to gain revenge on Mayweather and Pacquiao, and become the pound for pound king. But, I just can’t see that happening.

Of course, the Hitman may never return, the rumours could be meaningless and Ricky may just be improving his fitness to help him train other fighters. I hope that is the case, but there’s no smoke without fire, and I think there may be truth in what is being said. I hope that’s not the case, because I’d hate to see my boxing hero hurt again as he was by Manny Pacquiao, because if he was, all the demons may come back and may never go away. As one of Ricky’s biggest fans, I would hate that to happen and tarnish his legacy in the process. And that’s why I’m saying please, stay retired Ricky.

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