SPORTING HEROES – RICKY HATTON
A name that is familiar to millions of boxing fans around the world who can also be seen here on his occasional visits to Pattaya is Ricky Hatton. A great favourite amongst fight fans, Hatton was a world class fighter who is ranked the best British light-welterweight of all time and one of the best ever worldwide.
Hatton won the British light-welterweight title in 2000 and the WBU the following year, which he defended a record fifteen times up until 2004. He reached the height of his career in 2005 by beating Kostya Tszyu for the IBF, Ring and lineal titles and followed that up in the same year by defeating Carlos Muassa for the WBA title, thereby uniting all the belts and becoming the undisputed light-welterweight champion of the world. Hatton was given very little chance against Tszyu, who was considered one of the best fighters in the world at that time and when he never came out for the start of the twelfth round, Hatton was catapulted into the big time.
Hatton moved up a weight to welterweight the following year and had a hard fight against Luis Collazo to win the WBA version of the championship and secure his first title in another weight class. This turned out to be one of the toughest fights in his career with some judges saying that Collazo did enough to win but Hatton got the decision mainly because of a first round knockdown.
The Collazo fight was his only match in 2006 and the following year he moved back down to light welterweight to fight Juan Urango in January. The fight was mainly taken to set up a match with Jose Luis Castillo, a widely anticipated match up. Hatton won a unanimous points decision and the Castillo fight was on.
The fight was in June of that year and Hatton won in the fourth round by getting his opponent counted out with what many have described as the perfect body punch. That was the first time Castillo had ever been stopped.
Hatton then signed up for a welterweight fight with Floyd Mayweather, undefeated and regarded by some as one of the best boxers of all time. The fight took place in December 2007 and Hatton was stopped in the tenth round after his corner threw in the towel. He was well behind on all the scorecards at the time.
Hatton then returned to light welterweight in 2008 and had two victorious appearances over Juan Lazcado and Paulie Malignaggi, putting up excellent performances in both. He then signed up for a match against Manny Pacquiao, who alongside Mayweather was another legend of the ring that Hatton fought against.
The fight took place in May 2009 and Hatton was beaten in the second after being knocked down three times. Probably unknowingly past his best by then, it was the last meaningful fight of his career.
Ricky Hatton was a great boxer, make no mistake. He took the best around on and never took a backward step. One of the best fighters the UK has ever produced, he is a highly respected figure in the boxing world, and rightly so. Looking back on his record to research this article emphasizes that even more. An occasional visitor to Pattaya, Ricky is still a popular figure amongst boxing fans and public alike and always has time for people. If you see him over here again, (or anybody else at the moment!) stop and say hello.