Boxing


Happy Birthday, Ricky Hatton - "The Hitman" Turns 30 Today!

06.10.08 - by James Slater - Exactly thirty years ago today, in Stockport, Greater Manchester, Richard John Hatton was born. He would go on to achieve worldwide fame and popularity as a boxer known as "The Hitman!" The age of thirty is often seen as the great divide for a lower weight fighter. Reach your third decade, the experts say, and you are usually past your best. This looks to be the case with Hatton..

An all-out aggressive-minded warrior, who also lives a well known bad lifestyle out of the ring, Hatton's 20s were always going to be his best years. Rampaging to his initial world title shot with his fan-friendly, 100-miles-an-hour approach, Hatton put on his very best performance when he met the great Kostya Tszyu in June of 2005. We didn't know it then, but this was the very best Hatton would ever be. His great 11th round TKO win came at the age of 26.

It wasn't exactly all down hill after the Tszyu win, but never again would Hatton look quite the same fighting machine he entered the ring as that late night at The MEN Arena in Manchester. Good wins over top class fighter like Juan Urango and ( an albeit a faded version of) Jose Luis Castillo served to keep "The Hitman" in the pound-for-pound ratings, but in his next fight, against the#1 boxer on the planet pound-for-pound, we saw what was arguably the beginning of the end for Hatton.

No, there was no disgrace in losing to Floyd Mayweather Junior, but going into the December 2007 super fight many fans gave Hatton a real chance of winning - especially British fans. Stopped for the very first time, and in only his second fight up at welterweight at that, Hatton was, for the first time, unable to physically manhandle and subdue a rival to defeat. Maybe the loss would have occurred had Hatton fought Mayweather when the Brit was at his very peak, and down at light-welterweight; but I have a feeling the Hatton who conquered Tszyu would not have been stopped by "Pretty Boy."

So now we look to the future, and at age 30 Hatton may not have too long left, as he has admitted himself before now. If he gets past Paulie Malignaggi in November, Hatton will have the chance to go out with a huge, blaze of glory, mega fight next year. Names like Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao have been mentioned as possible final opponents for Hatton and win or lose there he would be going out in real style. Whereas a win would make this article, and its claims of his peak having been reached in the summer of 2005, null and void.

Who knows, maybe the best of Hatton is still to come and he will prove his critics wrong. Until then, however, let us wish Rick a happy 30th birthday. Why do I think he'll be mulling over whether or not to have a pint or ten today?

Article posted on 06.10.2008



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