Boxing: I'm back from the brink, says Ricky Hatton after darkest days


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The Independent Online

Ricky Hatton has revealed the extent of his depression, including just how close he came to committing suicide, during his three-year retirement from boxing.

The 34-year-old said his girlfriend often had to prise a knife from his hand as depression took its toll on his life.

Hatton, who has had well-publicised battles with drink and drugs since his defeat to Manny Pacquiao in May 2009, will return to the ring against Ukraine's Vyacheslav Senchenko next month.

He told Radio Five Live's "Sportsweek" programme: "I was near to a nervous breakdown, depression, suicidal. Most mornings my girlfriend would have to come downstairs and take a knife out of my hand. I had a knife at my wrists, I was in a really bad way, just hysterically crying for no reason.

"I've always liked a little bit of a drink, but my drinking had gone way off the Richter scale. The real lowest point was when my little girl came along, who is one year old now. [Hatton's son] Campbell had the misfortune to see his dad in such a bad way, I am not going to do it any more to my kids and I'm not going to put my family though it any more."

Hatton claims his life now is "really rosy", but admitted he was returning to the ring "ashamed" and as a "failure" in his eyes. "I feel sad because I feel ashamed of myself," he said. "It doesn't matter how many people say, 'Ricky, everyone has problems and you got beaten by [Floyd] Mayweather [Jr] and Pacquiao who are the two best fighters of our generation, you did the country proud'.

"That's very kind of people to say, but they don't have to deal with this little fella who sits on my shoulder every day telling me that I'm a failure."

Of his comeback bout he said: "It's more than a boxing match for me. For me everything I've done in my career, all the world titles and great wins have all been for nothing. I feel I have to come back and redeem myself as a man to my fans, my family, my friends, loved ones, just the whole of British sport, to be honest."

Hatton said he had thought about how he would handle a defeat against Senchenko on 24 November, saying: "I would rather get flattened again so I could look at myself in the mirror and say, 'You know what Ricky, you gave it your best shot'. Whether I win, lose or draw, I've already won from where I came in."

Hatton said his current weight of 11 stone two pounds was "music to his ears" one month out from a fight at which he must be 10st 7lb. He said that during retirement he ballooned to 14st 10lb. Hatton added: "The way I'm performing in the gym I think everyone is going to be shocked at the Ricky Hatton that comes back."