Ricky Hatton – A Little Perspective

Ricky HattonBy Matthew Collin - As the dust settles from this weekend’s superfight between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao, a number of questions remain unanswered and a number of new ones have presented themselves. Many observers (myself included) are still reeling from the devastating nature of Manny’s victory, and more and more it seems we are in the presence of boxing greatness as we watch a career for the ages unfold before our eyes.

However, the inevitable criticism of Hatton has already begun, and if indeed it is the last time we see him inside the squared circle, I would hope that history will be a little kinder to him than the headlines we have seen over the last couple of days.

In a boxing world where fighters are continually lambasted for their money first, risk second attitude towards the fights they take, I believe Hatton and indeed for that matter Pacquiao, should be celebrated for continually testing themselves against the best. Right from his breakthrough win against Kostya Tszyu in 2005 on that momentous night in Manchester, Ricky has taken his 140 pound championship on the road, immediately stating his intention to travel to America and fight the best.. Not for him the safe cocoon of home territory which has proved such a security blanket for other fighters both European and American. In the same breath, Pacquiao’s resume reads like a who’s who of modern day greats, and his nickname the Mexicutioner is an old-style nickname, one actually earned from the deeds of the fighter, not a promoter hyping up a fighter to sell tickets.

As soon as fights were available with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were, Hatton jumped at them without thought for money or risk or home advantage. Yes, he lost in both of them and I think we can all say that at the very, very top level Ricky was found wanting. But contrast that with the attitude of Mayweather, who has cynically played his way to the top of each division he has fought in, choosing the easiest route to the biggest belt with the minimum risk. Will Floyd be remembered as the better boxer? Certainly. Will he still be remembered in 20 years for his never say die, all or nothing risk taking outlook? No.

Should he eventually make the incredibly difficult decision to hang them up, Hatton should be remembered not for what happened on Saturday night, but for the way he tried to live up to all our expectations of what a championship boxer should be. No fear. Fight the best. Entertain the fans. Perhaps we should all take a step back from Saturday and consider how many current fighters have this attitude, because when warriors like Hatton and Pacquiao are gone, we might miss them more than we think

Article posted on 05.05.2009

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