Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton


He fought hard and played even harder and everyone, not just from his beloved Manchester, loved  Ricky Hatton for it.

His 48-fight Boxing career at light welterweight and welterweight was always rousing, never dull and often brutal. It started quietly, mainly because Hatton fought on Sky Sports to small audiences.

But his reputation grew quickly – especially his talent for stopping fighters with savage body shots – and Hatton earned a tilt at the IBF light welterweight world title held by highly-rated Aussie Kostya Tszyu.

Nobody gave Hatton a chance but when a battered and exhausted Tsyzu failed to come out for the 12th round, The Hitman had pulled off one of British boxing's greatest ever performances.

A number of defences followed, as did a WBA word title at welterweight, before Hatton embarked on the two fights that defined his career.

The first was against one of boxing's all-time greats, Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was the perfect boxing match – the street fighting hustle of an all-action Hatton against the silky counter-punching skills of Mayweather.

Hatton started the stronger but ended up on the floor after Mayweather found his range and Hatton ran out of steam in the tenth. The referee stopped the contest and Hatton had lost for the first time.

Back at light welterweight, Hatton lost to another legend, Manny Pacquiao, in two brutal rounds. Many thought he should have quit there and then, but an ill-advised comeback led to a third and final defeat before he hung up his gloves for good.

Sport is full of what ifs and Hatton's career was no different. Famous for piling on the pounds between fights, we can only wonder what might have been if he'd indulged rather less out of the ring. But he will always be loved, both for his heart on the sleeve fighting style and his quick-witted man of the people persona.

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Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton

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