What Really Happened to Ricky Hatton After the May 02, 2009 Fight Against Manny Pacquiao

Again, after so many fights and countless rumors that Manny Pacquiao is nearly retiring from boxing, he has another fight scheduled nearly end of 2012. Many have wondered if there would ever be a Pacquaio - Mayweather clash, well, let's just keep our hopes up.

This article though will reveal what really happened after the Manny Pacquiao - Ricky Hatton fight. For many of us, there's nothing to talk about that fight. Well, you ought to know this! Ricky Hatton almost died after that excruciating battle...

Let's have a quick review what happened that starry night on MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Manny Pacquiao, with a left hook that landed on the butt of Ricky Hatton's chin with six seconds remaining in the second round of their super lightweight fight, had just connected with the best punch of his career.

Hatton went down as if he were shot, completely out, as in black out, as Pacquiao leaped upon the ropes in celebration. Medical personnel rushed to Hatton's side as he lay without any movements, flat on his back atop the logo in the center of the ring at the MGM Grand Garden.

Jim Lampley
HBO's Jim Lampley looked at the fallen Hatton, with only a few seconds after the fight ended in a brutally devastating manner,  and said, "I'm not a medical guy, but he's in very bad straits there."

Lampley, nor anybody else, had a clue how bad it would get for Hatton. Yes, he's lying there flat, but anyone haven't had a clue about Hatton's dilemma.

It's now more than three-and-a-half years since Hatton lost to Pacquiao. He's 34 and preparing to return to the ring for the first time since that ignominious night in Las Vegas on May 2, 2009.

On Saturday, November 24, he'll fight Vyacheslav Senchenko  in his hometown of Manchester, England, in a welterweight fight that will be broadcast on Showtime. And in 48 hours, more than 24,000 tickets were sold, long before an opponent had even been named.

Hatton exclaims that "I can't even express to you how grateful I am for the outpouring of love and support I've received".

That Hatton is alive is somewhat of a miracle. Yes, indeed a miracle! Several times, he found himself with a knife, about to slash his wrists and end it all, looking to run away from the pain.

It was all about drugs. He abused cocaine. He was in a constant drunken stupor. His weight ballooned to 210 pounds. He had panic attacks at all hours of the day or night. Well, who wouldn't! And yes, he wished he were dead.

"There was a time when it seemed like that might be the only option, when it would be best for me to just [commit suicide] and end it all," according to Hatton.

A year-and-a-half before he was knocked out by Pacquiao, Hatton met Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a battle of unbeaten fighters in Las Vegas.

Quite literally, the MGM Grand Garden had been taken over by Hatton's passionate British fans. More than 30,000 of them had flown to Las Vegas for the bout, though the arena only held a bit more than 16,000.

Over and over and over again, they were omnipresent, singing Hatton's unofficial theme song, "There's Only One Ricky Hatton".

There's only one Ricky Hatton!/One Ricky Hatton!/Walking along, singing a song, walking in a Hatton Wonderland!

One of the most remarkable spectacles in modern boxing history was the weigh-in held on Dec. 7, 2007. There was more passion inside the MGM Grand Garden that afternoon than there'd been for any fight in years, maybe decades, maybe fingers crossed, even centuries ;-)

"That," Hatton says now, "is something I can never forget. I've always tried to be a down-to-earth guy and remain close to my roots. Over here in England, the way they phrase it is they say, 'You're just one of the lads. You're one of us.' I wouldn't have the fan base that I have if I were any other way. Let's be honest. They supported me so strongly because I was no different than they were."

Ricky Hatton was in the pub in Manchester drinking a pint with one of them if he wasn't fighting, watching sports on television and generally being a bon vivant. Hatton wasn't a celebrity to the citizens of Manchester; he was a Mancunian, albeit one who happened to have a special talent.

Hatton obviously ended up losing the fight to Mayweather, but it didn't hurt his popularity one iota. Mayweather, after all, was widely viewed as the finest fighter in the world. Hatton had been knocked out in the 10th round, but he'd never stopped attacking and trying to win.

His fans were unhappy with the way that Mayweather used his elbow and more angry with referee Joe Cortez for not doing something about it.

Hatton's reputation remained pristine among the passionate British boxing fans. In his first fight after losing to Mayweather, he drew an astounding 55,000-plus fans to the City of Manchester Stadium for a bout against Juan Lazcano.

He then returned to Las Vegas to defeat Paul Malignaggi, setting up the showdown with Pacquiao. A Pacman-Hatton fight was about as big as it could get in boxing at the time.

Hatton had hired Floyd Mayweather Sr., his old nemesis' father, to train him. Hatton was utterly confident, though Pacquiao was the betting favorite, .

To give those wildly loyal fans the victory they so desperately sought, he wanted to win so badly. He'd always tended to blow up a little bit in weight between fights, so much so that he'd been nicknamed "Ricky Fatton" by the British media.

Hatton knew, though, how good Pacquiao was and knew he would need to be in superior condition to win. And so, he started camp early and attacked it with a vengeance.

"Training camp was going absolutely sensationally," he says now. "I was so confident of winning. I had started earlier and I got my weight down earlier. I think I hit my peak two or three weeks before the fight. Really, my brother [Matthew], my father [Ray], and my team, everybody was saying, 'Rick, look, you've got to slow down. You're going to leave it all in the gym.' "

He kept pushing and pushing. He didn't pay attention to them.  He received a warning sign when he was knocked down in sparring by a super featherweight.

He didn't take the hint.

"That should have been a sign to me," Hatton said. "I look back on it now and it's obvious. I'm not saying I would have won the fight no matter what, because Manny Pacquiao is Manny Pacquiao and he's a tremendous fighter. But I didn't give myself my best chance. I needed to be smarter with how I trained and I was at my peak weeks before the fight."

He was knocked down twice in the first round and Pacquiao was hitting him with just about everything he threw.

Pacquiao was cracking him again and again and again with powerful shots before landing the most famous punch of his career at 2:54 of the second.

That punch turned around Hatton's life and, truth be told, almost cost him his life. Yes, Ricky Hatton almost died after that bout.

"I let a lot of people down," Hatton said. "I felt like an utter failure. I let my country down. I let British sport down, British boxing, my kids, my friends, my community."

He retired after the fight, still in prime fighting age. His life was spiraling out of control as he binged on cocaine and alcohol.

He would cry hysterically, for no reason. He found himself in court in a lawsuit with his former coach and one-time best friend, Billy Graham. He had a nasty split with his parents.

He says he often thought of drinking himself to death. Several times, he said, his girlfriend, Jennifer, caught him with a knife attempting to slash his wrists.

"I think I was having a nervous breakdown," he said.

He's coming back believing that he's still got the ability to be a world champion. He's fighting a guy who held the WBA welterweight title earlier this year.

Hatton says that no matter what happens in the fight, he's certain of one thing.

"People ask me, 'Rick, what are you coming back for? What have you left to prove?' " Hatton said. "I'm not coming back to prove anything, though. I've already won. I turned my life around. I was horrible, pretty much as low as one could go, and I've overcome that.

"I'm in great shape. I'm ready to fight. But that's not the point. The point is that I've gotten to this stage. This fight is about redemption. I don't want to be remembered as that guy who got laid out by Manny Pacquiao. I had demons and they got the best of me for a while. But I think I have won already because I'm able to get back in there and do this again."

Getting a world title at some point, he said, would tell the proper story to his children. He was down, but he got up. He turned his life around.

He's still at odds with his parents and says that may never change. He won't reveal details, but says it's "one of the saddest things ever, to be on the outs with my Mum and my Dad."

What they did, he said, was unforgivable.

"My parents aren't there any more and that's a sad situation, but I'm a father and I have a great girlfriend, a wonderful little boy and a beautiful little girl," he says. "And I love being with them and being there for them. They're the most important people in my life now."

He chuckles when he's asked what he will do if it doesn't work out, if he no longer has it, if he's not able to flip a switch and become the Ricky Hatton of old.

He knows it's possible, if unlikely. He's sharp in the gym and expects that to translate to the ring. But if it doesn't, he's prepared.

"Without a doubt, I've had the greatest win of my life, overcoming the personal demons that I have," he said. "I've won this already. No matter what might happen in a fight, I am already the winner."

It's a sad sad thing but, someone has to learn something from this... Have you?


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