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Report: Ricky Hatton to announce retirement from boxing

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Despite Richard Schaefer's idea to talk to Ricky Hatton about fighting Juan Manuel Marquez later this year, and his own rumored plans to stage a comeback fight this summer, the latest news is that Ricky "Hitman" Hatton will officially announce his retirement from professional boxing soon.

Hatton, 31, reportedly told friends and family this weekend that he would be hanging up the gloves, 10 months after a brutal second round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

The move is both surprising and not very surprising at all. Hatton (45-2, 32 KO) had a fantastic run and became a massive international star in boxing, fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao in two of the bigger fights of the 2000s. But he is seen by almost everyone now as damaged goods. The brawling Mancunian has also damaged his own career by ballooning up in weight between fights, earning him the nickname "Ricky Fatton."

But like most things, Hatton took that mocking nickname in stride, and made a joke of it. It was that sort of everyman, laid-back, well-humored personality that made Hatton a major star. Unlike many in boxing, Ricky Hatton never did a lot of bragging about how tough he was, never really went on about kicking asses, never talked a ton of trash. He is a unique personality, one that has connected with a lot of people.

If Hatton does indeed retire, I'll miss him. He was the flagship star for a generation of British boxing, a rough-and-tough brawler who bashed his way past a true great in Kostya Tszyu, and put up the best fight he could against Mayweather later in his career. He beat a lot of good fighters, and he often beat the odds. When you look back at the pre-Tszyu version of Ricky Hatton, it's not all that easy to see how he would become the sort of sensation he did. But through a great rapport with fans and a willingness to fight the best, he became one of the biggest boxing stars of the decade.

We'll have more as it develops, and if Hatton does make an official announcement, a look back at the career of Ricky "Hitman" Hatton.