There has been an awful lot written about Ricky the hitman Hatton, but you will have to forgive me for adding to that mass of words with a few carefully chosen musings on why we should cherish the Hitman and not knock him.
Few modern fighters and especially British ones have captured the imagination of the public in quite the way Hatton has.
How did he achieve this?
The answer is to take the reader on a journey through a special type of boxer – to be more specific not just a boxer but a fighter. Hatton’s style is not polished or even defensively minded, Hatton is a brawler, a relentless, come forward, swarming, non stop killer. His boxing skills however are actually excellent – many a tough night he ground out a win against often bigger opponents (Juan Urango, Luis Collazo) using beautiful footwork and every ounce of the sweet science.
What won the fans heart though was his aggression – Hatton comes to fight, not to dance and avoid the action. You know what to expect from Hatton – he comes to take the other guy out – whether that’s one round or twelve. His often quoted comment that “it’s not a tickling contest” is a perfect description of this and Hatton’s unique personality.
Hattons personality saw him crossover from boxing star to British superstar – he is a man of the people, devoid of airs and graces and the trappings of fame. He is happy in his own skin, amongst his homeland of Hyde near Manchester. His sense of humour and wise cracking jokes won the British public over long before HBO’s excellent fly on the wall documentary 24/7 opened the flood gates up for the American fans to follow.
I will personally remember a night at the MEN arena in Manchester where Hatton took the fight to Kostya Tzysu. He walked through fire that night – taking shots that could have dispatched tree trunks. He took it all and burst off his stool at the beginning of each round like he couldn’t wait to get back in there. It was perhaps the peak performance of Hatton’s so far.
So to the future – one foot in and one foot out of retirement. Two losses to the greatest fighters of his generation. I feel Hatton could do it all again – Erik Morales has shown the desire to lose 50 pounds of flab and come back taking shots and firing more back just this last weekend. For now I will just savour the fights he’s had and for me that’s enough for now!