– Andrew Schweitzer after watching
Ricky Hatton fight for the first time.
Those are the words I had after Ricky Hatton knocked out Jose Luis Castillo in the fourth round back in the summer of 2007. I was excited beforehand because I kept hearing a lot about the fighter from Manchester they called Hitman. Anybody who takes their nickname from Tommy Hearns has to be doing something right.
But when the fight was done, I thought that his name should be ‘Holdman’. That’s all I saw, was Ricky Hatton hit his guy and then hold. Break. Hit and hold. Repeat for about twelve minutes. But if there’s one thing I did like about the fight it was the atmosphere.
You could barely hear Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward speak to each other before the fighters came into the ring. If you closed your eyes before Hatton came out of his dressing room you would think you were watching England playing France in the finals for the World Cup. It was probably comparable to my dad seeing the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show over 40 years ago.
And…there was something about Hatton’s personality that you couldn’t help but enjoy. He didn’t use the standard line of “I’ll leave that up to my manager and my promoter”. When he wanted the Floyd fight he took a jab right at Floyd’s ego so that Mayweather would have no choice but to respond.
Now granted, the result probably wasn’t the one that Hatton or the thousands of Brits in attendance would have wanted but Hatton was never one to surrender. Incidentally, my aunt and uncle travelled to Vegas around the time of the Mayweather fight. Neither of them are boxing fans but I remember my uncle telling me that everywhere they went, there would be a chant or song revolving around Ricky Hatton.
I remember racing home after an amateur boxing event in Windsor to watch him take apart Paul Malinaggi under the tutelage of new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. I thought the pairing of Hatton and the father of the man who handed him his first defeat was…interesting but not one that would last long.
Hate to brag that I was right but as take note: As soon as Hatton got stretched by Pacquiao, you don’t see Floyd Sr. in the ring checking to make sure that his fighter is OK. After such a devastating knockout loss, retirement was the only thing that made sense and it’s not as if he wasn’t worthy. He’d had a long career, fought a lot of times, was still in good mental health, had money (Still does) and had the distinction of coming up short only against the two best fighters of his era (Like another person to bear the name ‘Hitman’)
When rumors began circulating that he was coming back…I was actually for it. Now that he’s announced that he is coming back…I’m still for it. But the question is…who does he fight?
A rematch with Malinaggi? Why not? Paulie has always wanted that fight and given how he’s stepped up his game and won a title at welterweight, would probably make the stakes more interesting.
A showdown with Amir Khan (Loser must retire bout)? Hmm…both are popular in their home countries as well as abroad. If they could make it happen in England the chants and shouts would be so loud I could probably hear them from here in Calgary.
A fight for Tim Bradley? Yeah…it’s a better matchup than his potential fight with Ruslan Provodnikov. And no, I have no idea who that is either. Seriously, Bradley’s gotta look at a fight like that and realize, “OK, I didn’t deserve the decision over Pacquiao.” Sorry, but if someone did beat Pacquiao, I doubt their first fight afterwards would be against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Let’s just hope that when Hatton’s next fight does happen, he gets with a trainer who will stick with him through good or bad to help him improve his skills and emerge from the fight no worse for wear than when he came in. One thing I do know is that where Hatton goes, the fans will follow. After all, there’s only one Ricky Hatton.