Ricky Hatton seems to be remembered best for the thunderous punch from Manny Pacquiao that ended his career in 2009. The two-division titleholder was much more than that, though.
Hatton had a dominating run through the junior welterweight division in the first half of the last decade, dispatching a number of quality 140 pounders before his defining 11th-round knockout of now-Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu in 2005. And the pride of Manchester, England, made fans worldwide with his fast-paced, aggressive attack that ended most of his fights short of the distance.
Hatton would run his record to a remarkable 43-0 (31 knockouts) before finally meeting his match in 2007 against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 147 pounds.
The fearless Briton gave a spirited performance, as usual, but ultimately fell victim to the American’s sublime skills and otherworldly speed, the final result being a 10th-round knockout.
Hatton wasn’t finished, though. He outpointed Juan Lazcano and then stopped Paulie Malignaggi in 11 rounds to set up a huge fight with an emerging superstar, Pacquiao, in May 2009.
Alas, Pacquiao, too fast and too good for his overmatched foe, dominated from the opening bell. Hatton went down twice in the first round and then was put to sleep with a left hand that rocked the boxing world and ended Hatton’s career.
Hatton, who walked out of the ring in disgust that night, certainly didn’t leave the sport on his terms. However, when we reflect on his career, we’ll remember his greatest moments along with the worst.
Here are the best fighters Hatton has faced:
Best overall: I would say Manny Pacquiao. Just his speed. Southpaw. Obviously he hits very hard. Floyd Mayweather also was very good but the more and more I see Manny Pacquiao, maybe I’m shifting to him. And Kostya Tszyu, he was a deadly, deadly puncher.
Best boxer: Oh, Floyd Mayweather. Technically, he was very, very good. Defense. Boxing. Choosing his moments to step on the gas. Defenseively, he is a genius, really.
Best puncher: Quite obviously I would have to say Manny Pacquiao. He just seems to be getting stronger as he moves up in weight.
Best defense: Floyd Mayweather.
Fastest hands: I thought Floyd was very, very quick. Pacquiao was very, very quick too but the fight was over before I could really know. I would say Floyd.
Fastest feet: Floyd was fast on his feet. But he planted his feet; that’s his natural defensive stance. Probably Pacquiao had the fastest feet.
Best chin: Tszyu. I would say probably Tszyu. I hit him with some good shots and he stayed in there. In the end, I had to put out quite an effort to take him down.
Strongest: Kostya Tszyu. Juan Urango was physically very strong but he didn’t have the speed, really. He was just strong.
Smartest: Floyd Mayweather. No doubt.