On hearing about the News of the World’s latest sting last Sunday, I have to admit to – at the time – having no sympathy for Ricky Hatton’s alledged drug taking. I don’t like the News of the World and their brand of reporting, but in this instance maybe they have done some good in bringing Hatton’s problems out into the open, as now it has been brought to a head.
A couple of days on, and with more of the facts now emerging it would appear that Ricky Hatton has been suffering from depression and has been drinking heavily. The interview on Sky Sports News tonight with Hatton’s father, Ray, made painful viewing as he partially revealed the extent of Ricky’s drinking and depression.
To see a man like Ray Hatton almost bursting into tears on two or three occasions during the interview shows how much all this has hurt him. According to Ray Hatton, Ricky has become depressed in the wake of his two defeats to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
There is no shame in losing to either of them as they will probably go down as two of the best fighters of their generation. Maybe Hatton didn’t do himself justice against Pacquiao who destroyed him, but it’s still no disgrace in losing too him.
It’s hard to know if Hatton could have achieved more if he had taken better care of himself between fights, you don’t see too many elite sportsmen let themselves go between events in the way Hatton did between fights.
The way he is alledged to have drank after a fight and before starting to train for his next fight probably wasn’t conducive to a long lasting career, and in hindsight maybe he has had an alcohol problem for a lot longer than he realized.
I don’t condone what Hatton is alledged to have done, and when he has recovered the British Boxing Board of Control should hand him the relevant punishment, for both Hatton the fighter and Hatton the promoter, a ban of some sort I would imagine.
But as we have seen with the sad case of David Bairstow, sportsmen who have nothing to occupy their lives after their careers have ended can slip into depression, and in some cases it can end in tragedy.
So in the bigger picture of things, I hope Ricky Hatton gets the help he needs and beats his depression. Even if he dosen’t fight again, and I hope he dosen’t, he still has a lot to offer to the sport of Boxing.