Matthew Hatton has decided to retire from the sport of boxing following a March loss to Chris van Heerden in South Africa, deciding that he was not going to be able to reach the level he wanted, and that was to become a world champion.
The former European welterweight champion leaves the ring behind with a career record of 43-7-2 (17 KO), overachieving in many ways, but falling short of his larger aspirations.
"Chris is a decent fighter but I expect so much of myself, and with all due respect to Chris, even though it was a tough assignment, I shouldn't be losing to fighters of that level. ... When you've got kids, you begin to realise what is important in life and when you've got a doctor pointing out all the possibilities of what could go wrong, it puts things into perspective. I've got two young children now and even though they can act as a motivation tool for fighters, they also highlight the risks that a fighter takes every time we step into the ring."
Hatton, 32, never quite lived up to the fame and fortune of his older brother Ricky, but he made a fine career for himself on the domestic level, and benefited from his brother's star status, too. With Ricky behind him, Matthew was given a chance to win what was frankly a very soft vacant title at the European level in 2010, beating junior welterweight Gianluca Branco. Hatton defended the title against Yuriy Nuzhnenko and Roberto Belge, a couple more more or less soft touches, before traveling to the U.S. to fight young Canelo Alvarez in 2011.
Though the fight was to be contested at a 150-pound catchweight with the vacant WBC junior middleweight title on the line, Alvarez didn't make the contracted weight, though he was given the title with his victory anyway. Hatton stood in there admirably and fought about as well as could have been expected, given that he was no junior middleweight. He was totally overpowered and outclassed, but he was there to fight.
After that, Hatton scored a pair of easy wins over Andrei Abramenka and Michael Lomax, swapping those victories with defeats against Kell Brook and van Heerden. The younger Hatton was a tough-minded scrapper whose career probably went further than his pure natural talent level would take him, getting there in part, yes, due to his brother's connections, but also because he worked hard and always tried to improve as a fighter. He had real hopes, and came up short. But he went for it.