Boxing: Hatton calls time on his 'sulking' and sounds bell on fighting career

Former world champion with a massive following ready for future in training and promotion

Ricky Hatton finally walked away from boxing yesterday with a tear in his eye, half of lager in his hand and a giant smile on his face when he officially announced that he would never fight again.

Hatton's last fight was in May 2009 and since that night in Las Vegas there have been several attempts to get him back in the ring, including a serious few weeks in the gym early last year, but with each passing day he has grown increasingly happy with his life – a life that did hit a dreadful low late last year when he was splashed on the front page of a tabloid.

"I genuinely believed that I would be back in the ring but when the alarm went off in the morning I couldn't get up and I couldn't pass a chippy," an emotional Hatton said. "Nobody liked training as much as me, I loved the buzz and I will miss every day; I also liked a beer; I'm a fighter of extremes."

"I have spent the last 12 months sulking and you know how low I have been. I have let myself down, that's over and now I'm happy and ready to get on with my life on my terms," added Hatton, who just last month was voted the top promoter by the European Boxing Union. He has also started to train fighters.

Hatton departs having won 45 of his 47 fights and after being part of 25 world-title bouts, including five quite amazing contests in Las Vegas when as many as 100,000 British fans are calculated to have travelled to see him. In 2007 his fans officially drank the MGM casino dry and thousands sang and formed a human corridor when replacement booze was delivered from other hotels. I was there, having just come off air from a short hit into BBC Five Live at 4am.

"I'm not saying that I'm the best British boxer ever," continued Hatton. "But nobody had my support and following; my greatest achievement in boxing was my devoted fans. They liked me and I liked them." It was much more than that and I have never met a Hatton fan at any of his fights that had not met him. Trust me, it was personal.

Covering any Hatton fight in Las Vegas was a unique experience due to his fans, from the arrival at the airport in Britain or Ireland, through the long nights of endless singing and boozing in the perpetual casino twilight and all the way back home after a fight. His weigh-ins attracted over 10,000 supporters and they remained loyal even when he was knocked out. He was "Our Ricky".

In 2007 Wayne Rooney carried Hatton's world title belt to the ring at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas for the Jose Luis Castillo fight. Hatton recalled a moment before his group left the tunnel at the back of the vast arena when he noticed that Rooney, who was holding the belt up above his head, was shaking. "I'm doing the fighting and he's the one shitting himself!" remembered Hatton.

The following year, back in Las Vegas, the Oasis front man Liam Gallagher carried the belt into the ring for Hatton's fight against New York's Paulie Malignaggi. "He got right in Paulie's face and one or two of Paulie's people wanted to hit him!" After the fight, which was one of Hatton's finest performances, Hatton went with the Gallagher brothers to Mexico City and made an appearance on stage.

It was his type of celebrity night out, as was his nights in Las Vegas as a guest of Tom Jones. "It doesn't get much better for a kid from a Manchester council estate," Hatton was fond of saying whenever something exceptional happened in his life and there were many exceptional nights in the ring.

In 1996 he won a bronze medal at the world junior championships in Cuba, the following year he turned professional with Frank Warren after winning the domestic amateur title. He won the British title in 2000, a lightly regarded World Boxing Union title in 2001 and then he had sell-out after sell-out at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

Admittedly not all of his victims were top-five contenders but Hatton never failed to engage with the crowd and it soon became an essential night for all boxing fans because of the stunning atmosphere, even if the opponents often had no chance of going beyond two rounds. "When I hear 'Blue Moon' [the Manchester City anthem] the goose bumps come up, great nights," Hatton added. It was not unusual for there to be in excess of 30 Premier league players at his fights.

In 2005 Hatton fought the best light-welterweight in the world when he came out against Russia's Australian-based Kostya Tszyu at the MEN in the small hours of the morning in front of 20,000 people. It was his greatest fight and he won when Tszyu quit after 11 rounds. In 30 years at ringside it is arguably my best memory.

It was after Tszyu that Hatton split with Warren, which was nasty and is still nasty, and started to take more control of his career. A change of promotional partners, more disputes and a break in the flow of his fights delayed his Las Vegas debut until 2007. However, the fans stayed loyal and when at the end of 2007 Hatton met and lost to Floyd Mayweather they left a lasting and positive impression on the city and Hatton's TV paymasters at HBO. It was after the Mayweather defeat that his brilliant working relationship with his trainer Billy Graham started to fall apart. The pair split after 57,000 watched Hatton beat Juan Lazcano at his beloved Manchester City ground in 2008. The Malignaggi and Manny Pacquiao fights followed with Mayweather's father, Floyd, in his corner.

"It's been a mad journey and I've loved every second of it," continued Hatton. "I've got my health, I've got a few quid and I've got great friends and family. I've also met a lot of influential people. I've just come back from Steven Gerrard's golf event, I was at John Hartson's charity event – I'm happy and Jennifer [his partner] is expecting a lickle girl. Not bad, eh?" No, not bad.

Hitman's highs and lows

6 October 1978 Born in Stockport

1997 Makes professional debut, knocking out Colin McAuley in Widnes.

2000 Wins British light-welterweight title after beating Jon Thaxton on points.

2005 Beats Kostya Tszyu in Manchester to secure the IBF world title.

2007 Wins IBF and IBO titles after beating Juan Urango before knockout by Floyd Mayweather Jnr in WBC bout.

2008 Retains IBO title with wins over Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi.

2009 Defeat to Manny Pacquiao ends Hatton's reign as world champion.

2011 Announces retirement, ending with record of 45 wins from 47 fights.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam