Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton was never the greatest fighter in boxing. He might have had the biggest stones, but, technically, Hatton left a lot to be desired.
This cost him late in his career, notably in knockout losses to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, after he spent the majority bulldozing opponents with viscous left hands, body shots and pressure. The man walked through more punches than doors and never gave an inch. He also drank and ate like Joey Chesnut between fights, often ballooning up 40 pounds between fights at the local pub and earning the nickname Ricky Fatton in the process. A lads lad.
Those kinds of fighters always attract big crowds, but most pale in comparison to Hatton's following. Boisterous, drunk Brits routinely traveled miles for their Manchester hero, none depicted better than at the Hatton Mayweather weigh in, which took place in Las Vegas.
Looking back, that was the beginning of the end for Hatton. He earned another victory before a devastating knockout to Pacquiao led to problems with cocaine and depression, all taking place publicly. Hatton faced his demons and eventually picked himself up. Once he began training fighters, one thing led to another and Hatton's inevitable comeback took place three and a half years after his loss to Pacquiao.
Unfortunately, it didn't end well for Hatton. Though his fans sold out the arena before an opponent was ever announced, the Hitman took a solid body shot in the ninth round which put him down, possibly for good.
Hatton will be missed in and out of the ring, but will hopefully continue training fighters and staying involved in the sport all to devoid of heros and legends these days.
Of course, I would be remiss to dismiss boxing like that, especially after the performance Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero put on late Saturday night. It didn't look like either fighter could see let alone throw the bombs they did through 12 rounds. This is what the sport is about: Passing the torch from one warrior to the next.