“I’m so sorry. I’m not a quitter and wanted a challenge. I wanted to prove something but this is so heartbreaking”
A body shot to end it all couldn’t have been more fitting given the circumstances. The crowd in Manchester Arena was absolutely rabid. One can only imagine what pubs filled with fight fans around England and North America were like. Much like Ricky we were all getting a bit worn down. Ricky was worn down because he was at times swinging at his opponent with reckless abandon, wanting to gives us all a show. Typical Ricky. We were getting worn down because you could see him deteriorating in front of your eyes, leaving himself open to bigger and bigger shots. And then like that, the air went out of everything. Surely Rick is going to get up, right? There’s no way he can stay down, right? It doesn’t all end like this again, right?
Unfortunately we were all wrong. It did indeed end in disappointment all over again. Absolute and total shock just about sums it up. But there was no grudge to hold against Hatton, the way he seemed to be holding it against himself. Other then perhaps his pride, nothing matters more to Ricky Hatton then his fans. He seemed to feel like he let us down. Well he didn’t. It was the Ricky Hatton we all know and love.
It would have been easy for Hatton to come back against far easier opposition. Sure Senchenko is no pound for pound king, but he had only one loss going up against pretty fair competition. He was coming off losing his title to Paulie Malignaggi. Not generally the type of opponet one picks for a comeback fight. But, as Hatton made clear, if he was coming back he wanted to be fighting for a World Championship. It wasn’t about a payday or getting his fighters spots on TV, like many including this very blog thought was happening. He wanted to know he still had it inside him.
Unfortunately, Ricky doesn’t. This was a Ricky Hatton in better physical condition than he had perhaps ever been. No more nights at the pub, the glare of the sun burning his eyes at he exited some after hours club with Noel Gallagher in tow. Full of lager and a bit of the white stuff. Those days were past Ricky. His one goal was successfully returning to the ring and making everyone forget that loss to Manny Pacquiao.
I can’t claim to have ever watched that Pacquaio loss. I simply can’t do it. I went to a friends house to watch the fight, but rather luckily the feed cut out before it started. When I heard the result I knew I’d never watch it. Ricky was too important to me for that. He revitalized a love for the sport that had been flickering.
His fights were always a show. Even if the action in the ring was sub par, which was rare, the non stop chanting of “There’s Only One Ricky Hatton” would lock you into the fight. The atmosphere at the weigh in for Mayweather/Hatton was one of the most electric you’ll ever see. The atmosphere on Saturday evening rivals the first time Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank squared off. Goosebumps just watching the entrances.
“Blue Moon” on at full blast, Hatton’s supporters singing every single word with the sort of pride and joy only singing your clubs anthem with tens of thousands of fellow supporters. That’s what Ricky Hatton should, and will, be remembered for. It might be hard for him to imagine at the moment. One can only imagine the depths of despair one sinks too after such an unbelievable high followed by a haunting low. But his fans have and always will love him, warts and all. Cause he’s no different than any of us. That has always been the appeal. That will always be the appeal.