Former junior welterweight world champion Ricky "Hitman" Hatton officially and formally announced his retirement from boxing today, 26 months after the last fight of his career.
Hatton, 32, hasn't fought since a brutal second round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2009, and since then has had his ups and downs. There were comeback rumors all along, but never anything that seemed particularly close, as Hatton focused professionally on the budding Hatton Promotions, and also had some personal lows involving drugs and alcohol. He has been able to overcome the latter and get his life back on track, which has been good to see.
Hatton retires with a professional record of 45-2 with 32 wins by stoppage, his only losses coming to Floyd Mayweather Jr and Pacquiao. He was a British champion at 140 pounds, but held that title just briefly, before moving on to later win the legitimate world championship from Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, retiring Tszyu in 2005. He also won a paper title at 147 pounds and challenged Mayweather for the legitimate championship in that division.
Over his career, Hatton became one of modern boxing's more beloved figures, a phenomenon in the United Kingdom, and was one of the rare UK boxers in recent years to cross over and also become a star in the United States. When he fought Mayweather in Las Vegas, his fans traveled with him to create an atmosphere not often seen in American boxing, and even though he lost, it was one of the more memorable events of the decade.
The retirement announcement comes as no surprise, and frankly I think is a decision that his fans will welcome. It's been too long that he's been out of the ring for a comeback to have likely gone well, and there was really nothing more that he was going to accomplish. He's proven a natural at the promoting game, following closer in the footsteps of Oscar de la Hoya than of the dozens of boxers whose "promotional companies" really don't do anything, and has a long-term future there. It was time to go, and it's good to see Hatton in a position where he's happy enough to go. He made for some exciting fights and some great moments over the years, and will be remembered for a long, long time.