Ricky Hatton again leaning toward retirement

Once again, Ricky Hatton says he thinks he's done fighting. But he reminds you to never say never. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In what feels like about the 37th time in the last year or so that Ricky Hatton has been asked the question, "The Hitman" once again told BBC Radio Manchester that he's most likely never going to fight again.

"You can never say never, but if I was to put my last pound on it I would say 'no, I think that's me done.' ... I'm doing the promoting now and my goal is to try and make champions of my fighters. I've been retired, if that's what you can call it, for 16 months. I announced I was going to make a comeback and I came back off holiday and went into a training camp for three or four weeks, but it just wasn't the same."

Hatton turns 32 in about a month and has let himself balloon in weight since his last fight, a brutal second round knockout at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in May 2009. Ballooning in weight is, of course, nothing new for the man affectionately called "Ricky Fatton," but he's now done it and has taken by far the longest break of his pro career. There's really no way he could ever compete again at his former level. Time has taken its own toll, and Hatton's conditioning between fights has always been something you could point to as a reason his light was going to burn out faster than most. Plus, he took (and dished out) plenty of punishment in his career.

If he really does never fight again, I can't help but hope he earns more respect from non-UK fans over time. He had a dominant reign as the 140-pound champion of the world, retired the great Kostya Tszyu, and his only losses came to the men regarded at that time as the best in the world (Pacquiao and Mayweather). He had a lot of good wins, and he was by far the biggest global star that British boxing has produced in quite a long time, and an era-defining megastar in his home country. Few fighters anywhere in the world during his run grabbed on to casual fans the way Hatton did in the United Kingdom. He was the face of British boxing for the better part of the decade.

But all that said, he still hasn't made anything totally official or concrete, and we all know that crazier things in boxing have happened than Ricky Hatton returning sometime in 2011 or even beyond. Hopefully, he doesn't. As a promoter, he's taken off, one of the few fighters who has made something legitimate out of that side of the business. And he's given all I think he can -- or should -- give to boxing.

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