How Good Was Ricky Hatton?
By Henry Walter
Back in the mid to late 2000’s England’s Ricky Hatton was the light-welterweight champion of the world and was widely considered to be one of the best fighters in any weight class.
Yet the last few years of the decade were not kind to him and after high-profile defeats to pound for pound greats Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, his stock dropped considerably in the eyes of his critics.
There has been considerable revisionism amongst boxing experts and fans regarding Hatton’s career. When he fought Australia’s brilliant tactician Kostya Tszyu in 2005 the fight was considered by most, to be a fight he couldn’t possibly win.
Tszyu was the reigning long-reigning champion, and had not lost a fight for over eight years, despite operating at the very highest level.
When Hatton upset the odds to defeat Tszyu he catapulted himself onto the world stage and became a household name. His eleven-round war with Tszyu went down as one of the great fights of the modern-era and Hatton was given the due credit he deserved. Fast forward to 2020 and things are rather different.
According to many boxing followers today Tszyu was well past his best by the time Hatton mauled him at the M.E.N Arena, despite him having posted one of the best and most chilling wins of his career in his previous bout.
Jose Luis Castillo was considered an excellent scalp for Hatton at the time of their 2007 fight.
Hatton stopped him four one-sided rounds. However, some fans today will happily inform you that he too was shot, despite him coming off three of his best career wins going into the fight and posting another win in his next fight by knockout.
Another great Hatton win, his 2006 triumph over Luis Collazo for the WBA welterweight title, is discounted for two reasons. Firstly it was a close contest, Hatton prevailed via a close unanimous decision.
Secondly Collazo went on to be bested by Shane Mosley and Amir Khan in subsequent fights, with many fans happy to forget that Collazo proved his class many times over at world level and always gave a good account of himself even at the back end of his career.
It seems today that, rather unfairly, Hatton is best remembered for his two losses to Mayweather and Pacquiao. This does Hatton a great disservice. Hatton had a host of wins at the very highest level.
The way he outclassed elite opponents such as three-weight champion Paulie Malignaggi and Juan Urango showed his quality.
Even whilst fighting arguably the best fighter of his era at any weight in Mayweather, Hatton was able to have considerable success and was comfortably ahead after five rounds on HBO’s scorecard.
Hatton went into the Pacquiao fight after a disastrous camp and had already bizarrely asked his opponent’s trainer, Freddie Roach, to train him for future fights.
Despite being beaten in a one-sided fight Hatton never stopped coming forward and was able to use his speed to give the prime Pacquaio some uncomfortable moments.
Ricky Hatton was one of the greatest boxers that Britain has ever produced and he thoroughly deserves to be remembered as such. He proved that he was able to beat great fighters such as Kostya Tszyu and Jose Luis Castillo and he beat a host of other top-level boxers throughout his career, going 43-0 before his defeats.
“He was prepared to die in the ring to beat me.”- Kostya Tszyu