As always, Gorilla Productions with the killer video, covering Hatton's entire career.
I was quite familiar with Ricky, obviously, before we started Bad Left Hook as part experiment back in 2006, but it's those fights that I've covered for the site that stick out the most to me, and I think taken as a collective, you can kind of see his career starting to run out of gas over that time. We weren't quite up for the fight with Luis Collazo, but that's when he started looking a little vulnerable. Sure, he was out of his weight class, and Collazo is a good fighter, and the style matchup was bad for Ricky, but at the end of the day the style matchup was bad for him because he wasn't quite good enough to overcome that. But here's what we did cover, and the series of fights tells a real story to me:
- Juan Urango: Hatton attacks but can't dent the Colombian brawler. This was the double-header with Castillo vs Ngoudjo that was meant to set up Hatton vs Castillo. After this night, expectations for that fight were lowered, or should have been, by Hatton's fairly mundane performance and by Castillo's rather lousy performance.
- Jose Luis Castillo: Shot Castillo gets chewed up by a nasty body shot in the fourth round. I really have never thought a ton of this win, but I think even less of it now, to be completely honest. Hatton got last bit of rub from the shot Castillo.
- Floyd Mayweather Jr: I actually thought Hatton fought better here than he did against Urango or Collazo, and I'll always love this fight. It was a blue collar fighter giving it his best and coming up a little bit short. It certainly wasn't for lack of effort.
- Juan Lazcano: One of Hatton's worst performances. Lazcano was by this point no better than "pretty good," and I've never felt that the scorecards for this one (120-110, 120-108 and 118-110) accurately reflected the fight at all. There was even that moment where referee Howard John Foster gave a slightly reeling Hatton a break to let him tie his shoes. Giving all 12 rounds to Hatton (Phil Austin) was pathetic; giving him at least a share of all 12 rounds (Marcus McDonnell) was just as bad; even the 10-2 card (Pat Russell) was pretty transparent. I had it 116-112, a win for Hatton and one he deserved, but it was not without trouble along the way, and it was the fight where I knew that Ricky Hatton would never quite be the same again. It was also his last with Billy Graham, which was no coincidence of course.
- Paulie Malignaggi: One of Hatton's better performances, and something I was genuinely quite surprised to see -- not that Ricky won, but that he looked so good doing it. Sure, Paulie can't punch, but I actually thought Malignaggi had an outside shot at taking this thing on the cards, but Hatton just overpowered him, and even outboxed him, I'd say.
- Manny Pacquiao: I was so certain this was going to be a great fight. It was, in its way -- very memorable, of course, and I think Manny achieved sort of a "must-see" quality to some casual fans with this one, sort of like Tyson used to have in that you have to tune in because he's a wrecking ball. That didn't last, really, but the images of this fight have lasted for me. I hated to see Ricky Hatton go down like that, and I feel bad his career ended this way, but in some ways, isn't it kind of fitting, even perfect, for Ricky Hatton's career to end like this? He was a bull-rushing, hard-charging, high-energy, reckless fighter.
I'll miss Ricky Hatton. I've missed Hatton the last couple of years. His fights were fun to watch, if not always for the action then for the atmosphere. He was one of the few guys of this era who created a true big fight atmosphere, and he did it wherever he went. But it was time to go, and I'm pleasantly surprised that he won't be making any ill-advised return to the ring.