Ricky Hatton – A Modern British Great

by Fran on December 16, 2012

Ricky Hatton vs Jose Luis Castillo

Walking in a Hatton Wonderland

Ricky Hatton is one of the most celebrated British fighters of all time. His simple charisma, his ‘man on the street’ approachability and his fantastically exciting style of fighting all appealed to the British fight fans and indeed the wider public.

Hatton flew the flag for Britain with great pride and wherever he boxed he took with him a level of support that often had American fight fans stare on in amazement, or a good deal of confusion anyway. You can count on one hand the number of times that the big fight venues in Las Vegas have reverberated with the sound of 10000 British fight fans chanting “Walking in a Hatton Wonderland” to the tune of the famous Christmas carol.

Oh yes, Ricky was adored by British fight fans, an adoration that for many transcended the conventional support of a sporting star and became a form of hero worship. I will put it this way, I’m sure that Amir Khan would kill for a fraction of that level of backing from the boxing world in the UK. Right or wrong it’s simply not there for him.

Given the rather disastrous comeback of Ricky Hatton at the age of 34, I wanted to try to understand why Ricky was unable to recapture some of the form that saw him ascend to the top of the boxing tree. After all, in my article on Ingredients of the Greatest Boxers I suggest that a fighter’s longevity, or ability to stay at the top for a long period, is a key measure of greatness.

The week after Ricky Hatton’s defeat at the hands of Ukrainian welterweight Vyacheslav Senchenko, a defeat that undoubtedly removed any hopes of Ricky recapturing his early glory years, Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao. Marquez at 39 apparently remains as effective a fighter as ever long into his maturity.

The Marquez performance made me want to understand Ricky’s inability to continue on into his 30s and continue to deliver success to his own high standards. In this article I will seek to achieve 2 things. Firstly, I want to celebrate the style of Ricky Hatton by examining his 2007 encounter with Jose Luis Castillo, a fight in which the Hatton style was at it’s most effective.

Secondly I want to put forward the suggestion that, however much the British fight fans adored Ricky Hatton and would have liked to see him fight indefinitely, he was destined to see his best years in his twenties and no more. It was simply not possible for Ricky Hatton to continue to fight into his early 30’s, let alone any further on than this.

Ricky Hatton – The Wonder Years

Ricky Hatton’s encounter with Jose Luis Castillo took place in the Thomas and Mack Centre, Las Vegas in June 2007. Castillo was a tough fighter and was credited with being involved in arguably some of the most exciting fights ever seen alongside the late Diego Corrales. If you get the chance, watch these fights.

So Castillo is tough, experienced and a well-skilled fighter. On this night though, everything that is good about Ricky Hatton is on show. It is little wonder that after this fight Hatton felt very confident in taking on a certain Mr Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest fighters of all time. But that’s for another article.

So, let’s identify some of the key characteristics of the Hatton Style. Here’s the video of the 4 round Castillo fight and below this are the observations that I have made on Ricky’s style:

1. “Not a Step Back!”

The order ‘Not a step back’ was issued by Russian dictator Josef Stalin during the brutal fighting against German forces in the Second World War. Ricky Hatton takes a similar approach. As soon as the fight starts, he advances to Castillo and begins the ‘shock assault’.

Hatton has a direct, intense style. He seeks to boss the ring, making sure that the opponent knows that he cannot switch off or relax even for a second. I’m careful here not to suggest that it’s a ‘throw caution to the wind’ type of assault from Ricky. He uses the occasional foot feint to try to draw the lead of Castillo, this can be seen at 0.55 and throughout the fight. But his highest priority is to attack and get close, albeit with some slipping on the way in.

As a general rule, if your approach in the ring is attack, attack, attack then quite simply you must expect to take your fair share of incoming punches. Ricky is not afraid to deal with this. His upper body movement whilst not overtly defensively-minded does allow a number of Castillo’s shots to miss the target. See 1.47 for an example of Hatton’s upper body movement. Again, there’s plenty of evidence of this throughout the fight.

Hatton’s style is very direct. He has one method of fighting and that is to exert total pressure on the opponent that by and large was effective throughout his career, with notable exceptions against Mayweather and Pacquiao.

2. The Irresistible Force

As part of the very direct Hatton approach, Ricky uses his very considerable strength to out-muscle Juan Luis at close range. He is willing to ‘wrestle’ his opponent up close. This process is effectively a competition to find out who has the most physical strength. It’s a key part of a fight, assessing the strength of an opponent and gradually bringing any advantage to bear.

I must admit that as a coach of amateur boxers, this type of wrestling is not something that I would (or should) coach. It’s very much a trait of the professional ranks. That is not to say at amateur that the physical strength of an individual is not used at close quarters. The difference is that this would be in the form of a double arm block and body-to-body contact without the wrapping of arms.

The fact is though, Ricky in this fight and all of his others at light welterweight used his physical strength to wrestle and ultimately contribute to the level of effort that an opponent had to attain to stay with Ricky. He was physically a very, very strong light welterweight.

3. Quantity and Quality

The next aspect of Ricky Hatton’s style that leaps out at me is the volume and variety of his punching. On his way in from long range to short range (he really likes to fight at close range), he likes to use the inside slip followed up with a jab in order to increase the leverage and torque of the punch. When that jab lands, it really, really hurts! This can be seen at 3.07 and often throughout the fight. This is a great move.

A further, more damaging, variation of the use of the inside slip to add ‘whack’ to punching can be seen at 4.36 where Ricky follows the inside slip with a double short range left hook. This approach avoids the Castillo jab and put’s Hatton in the perfect spot to deliver his ‘juiced-up’ left hooks.

Once at short range, the number and quality of Ricky Hatton’s punches is very impressive indeed. He rattles home hooks and uppercuts to the body and head with daunting regularity. Look at around 2.00 where we see 3 short range right uppercuts to the head, followed swiftly by a short range left hook to the head and a left hook to the body. Those shots are precise and hurtful and the variation of head and body mean that they have a much greater chance of landing successfully.

Further evidence can be seen at about 2.40 where Ricky let’s go a diversionary right hook to the body followed by a forceful right uppercut to the head and a left hook to the head. This is very impressive infighting, as good as any you are ever likely to see in the boxing ring.  And then again at 6.19 with the right uppercut to the head followed by the right hook to the body, it’s just great fight skills on show and some of the best body punching in the game.  If you want to learn body punching you could do worse than studying Ricky Hatton.

What Makes You Breaks You

I really enjoyed watching Ricky Hatton ply his trade. All action, intense and all-in-all a credit to British boxing. He will always have my great admiration and respect and I’m sure that’s true across the spectrum in British boxing. Regardless of his losses to greats like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and more disappointingly the loss to Senchenko in his misguided comeback, Ricky has cemented his place in British boxing folklore.

But, and here’s the thing, as far as I can see Ricky was destined not to attain the longevity of many of the greats of the sport precisely because of the fighting style that brought him success in the first place. What makes me say this?

  • The intensity and work rate of the Ricky Hatton fighting style requires a young man’s strength, speed and stamina to execute successfully. It is not a fighting style that can be supported into the early 30’s and especially into the later 30’s. Generally, pressure fighters like Ricky do not stand the test of time unless their style develops into something different (think Roberto Duran).
  • Ricky Hatton had one style of fighting. He could not all of a sudden go onto his back foot, he was the epitome of a front foot fighter. A fighter like Marquez for instance can do different things. He can stand in the trenches and fight or he can counter punch (which is what he is best known for). In basic terms he can do different things to limit the incoming punches that he takes.
  • As a fighter ages, they may need to move up the weights. Now, many would assume that moving from light-welterweight to welterweight, a step of a mere 7lbs, is no big deal. Well, it is, and this makes those fighters who do it with apparent ease all the more impressive. The fact is that Ricky was very strong at light welter, and using this strength was a vital part of his style. At welterweight Hatton’s strength was simply matched by his opponents. The 7 lbs made a big difference to Ricky. His strength and indeed punching weight simply didn’t translate successfully into the higher weight class.

In short what I am suggesting here is that in terms of meeting that measure of greatness that is longevity, for Ricky Hatton the style that brought him so much success ultimately dictated that he would not have a prolonged career. He was never destined to fight into his 30s and indeed not in a higher weight class. What we need to do is appreciate his achievements as a top class light welterweight.

What I have not touched upon in this article is Hatton’s well documented practice of really, really relaxing in between fights. His weight would increase dramatically and this process of having a yo-yo approach to body weight and fitness may very well have had an impact on his longevity. I for one could never criticise a fighter for kicking-back in between fights and enjoying life. After all, it’s one of the toughest businesses there is and the demands of a 10-week training camp followed by a fight surely buys a fighter some leeway in the relaxation stakes!

Did Ricky’s lifestyle foreshorten his career? I’m sure that there are plenty of nutritionists who would categorically state that it did. Maybe so, but for me it’s irrelevant. OK he may have stayed around for a further 12 months, maybe slightly more, but the end result would have been the same. Ricky’s destiny was to be a modern British great at light-welterweight.  A brilliant pressure fighter and someone who could lead masterclasses on infighting.

The great author Roald Dahl had a little poem that he used to recite, and in Ricky’s case as a boxer I think that it fits perfectly:

“My candle burns at both ends it will not last the night, but ah my foes and oh my friends it gives a lovely light”

As always, your thoughts (positive and negative) are very much appreciated so waste no time in letting me have it in the comments section below.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex fasting January 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Another good article mate. I loved watching the hitman and was lucky to meet him a couple of times.
Agree with all of the above mate and it will be a long time until we have a boxer that invokes the kind of loyalty and assign that Ricky did amongst his fans.

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Fran January 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Hello mate, I hope you and the family are well.

I remember him being one of your favourites, and you certainly knew your boxers if I remember rightly! As Dave says above, that ‘Man in the street’ approachability really suited him well. Very honest man and an honest athlete.

Thanks for the comment mate. Gonna have to sort that curry with you, Chris and me.

Take care Al

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Dave Waterman December 27, 2012 at 6:15 am

Merry Christmas Fran (slightly late, been working and just logged on to see your reply above); what did you think of Khan’s performance against Molina?

My thoughts are Molina was a tailor-made return for Khan and, had he lost, he would have had no where to go. So a decent performance and emphatic victory were expected. Khan has become guilty of looking beyond the man in front of him and it’s something he’s been doing for a long time: remember him opining that Michael Gomez was a league below him and then finding the seat of his pants in touch with the canvas? At least in this fight Khan didn’t appear to look too far forward, which showed, I think, how this was really a make or break fight for our man.

Khan’s hand speed and excellent foot work were on full display and he boxed as you might expect against a smaller, shorter come forward fighter ie keep the fight long and make good use of the jab.

It would have been too soon to see any change to Khan’s ability to fight on the inside and indeed Hunter has stated so. Also, what would have been the point in engaging Molina up close? This was only place the American had any real chance of success.

So a win was achieved, but without any real changes from the Khan of old. We will see how he develops with Hunter but my gut instinct is influenced by the old adage that you can’t train a chin. Down against Willie Limond, Michael Gomez, Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia, I think that Khan will always be susceptible to a well timed, solid shot on the chin and at elite level will always come up short.

To bring the discussion back round to Ricky Hatton: in terms of legacy, it’s unfortunate Amir has failed to create a similar dedicated following as Ricky. No one can say that the Bolton man’s work at range isn’t something joyous to watch; neither can it be argued that he’s ever been afraid to stand and trade. His fights are exciting precisely because they might end at any minute, and often with Khan on his back. I think he will be remembered as a good, but not great, world champion.

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Fran December 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Dave

Just watched (most of) the Khan vs Molina fight. I agree, Molina was tailor-made for Khan. A decent first opponent though following the Garcia loss and in the tutelage of a new trainer. It was not the kind of test that would tell us all we need to know, but it told me a lot.

Khan’s long range work was as expected. He is quite simply one of the best at long range, unsurprising given his amateur pedigree. Here’s the thing for me though, I did see significant improvements up close. OK, it wasn’t a prolonged infighting trial, and as you rightly say nor should it have been. Long range jabbing was the winning factor.

But, when up close Khan fought out of a very conservative double arm block position and slammed home some impressive short range hooks and uppercuts. He was also much improved when getting in and out of close range, his chin far less exposed (although there were a few noticeable lapses). So, on the whole some real positives. Sterner tests ahead for sure, but hopefully he can add stuff from Hunter to the stuff learned from Roach.

As for the chin, well, you’re right he cannot ‘train’ a chin. What he has to do is limit the times he exposes that chin in such a reckless way. This will be the focus I’m sure for the new Khan camp.

Thanks Dave, Happy New Year mate.

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Paul Smith December 23, 2012 at 1:48 am

Oh yeah Fran and anyone else who is interested, here is a boxing video site that I love, it’s called – SoSoBoxing.com and it has most fights up in less than 24 hours.

Enjoy.

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Fran December 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Yep, just about to watch Khan vs Molina on SoSo.

Thanks Paul

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Paul Smith December 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Season’s Greetings All,

Thank you for another great article Fran, on one of my favourite fighters Ricky Hatton. He showed he had the ‘it’ factor in the boxing world. Ricky was never boring in the ring and the support he was shown from his fan base was unequalled. I also fully agree with your opinion of being able to learn a lot about body punching from Hatton – he was very crafty and quite devastating in that regard.

Merry Christmas Fran.

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Fran December 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Thank you for the comment Paul. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Dave Waterman December 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Never been good with figures……. 😉

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Fran December 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I love the exchanges between you two. Proper boxing people swapping proper sensible viewpoints.

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Dave Waterman December 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

As we mentioned previously Fran, the comments section of your site is evolving into a kind of forum where ideas and opinions are exchanged which, as Ben Doughty’s page proves, results in a greater understanding of the specifics and the history of our sport. That’s all good, mate.

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Fran December 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Amen to that Dave. I’m currently trawling around looking for the Khan vs Molina fight, eager to see whether Virgil Hunter has taught him anything about infighting. If that lad learns how to hurt people up close he can open up a new chapterI reckon. Definite follow-up article on the other Khan stuff if I can find it. 🙂

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Dave Waterman December 21, 2012 at 8:38 am

Do you think it’s too far down the road to teach Khan to fight on the inside, Fran? Hunter will seek to improve Khan’s defence, which will provide some balance to the overtly aggressive approach taught at the Wild Card, but I wonder whether Khan’s style is too ingrained to create the instinct required to box up close against a hard hitting pressure fighter.

Dave Waterman December 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

Not wishing to labour the point about weight loss, mainly because I don’t think this had a significant effect on Ricky’s performance against Senchenko (let’s not forget he’d been blowing up between fights for years), but George Foreman weighed 121kg when he made his comeback in 1987 and was 30kg lighter 11 months later when he TKOd Dwight Muhammad Qawi. And he fought six times within those 11 months.

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Ivan December 19, 2012 at 7:15 am

Foreman is a favorite of mine, the last true boxer in heavyweight, glad you mention him. I checked up on him, 267 in the first comeback fight and 235 a year later against Qwavi. 32 pounds ( not kilos) lighter or 14.5 kg, which is a ~12% decrease. If Hatton lost 70 out 217 pounds, it’s more than a 32% difference. The crucial thing for me is that he had to drop 70 pounds to get to 147, the excess was half of his fighting weight. Incredible as it sounds it makes Ricky a real Transformer, but there is a huge price to pay health-wise. In my time I had to deal with 10-12 pounds and it was always a struggle, especially the last two. 70 seems inhuman.

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Dave Waterman December 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Ivan, regarding the problems with sudden weight loss, you are right, it is not healthy and could be catastrophic for anyone stepping into a competitive boxing ring. But Ricky spent a year or so taking the weight off and getting himself into shape.

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Ivan December 18, 2012 at 7:40 am

Hi Dave,
Dropping 70 lbs~31 kg can’t be done much sooner, most people could never do it and a boxer should not let himself slip into such a predicament. So dropping 70 pounds, be it in a year or more, is more than sudden, its self-destructive. And he still could not make light welter, he came back at welterweight.
I’m trying to give Ricky a break here by pointing out the weight loss issue.

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Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Hatton accepted the final loss like a man and did not look for excuses. I never liked him and thought he had to stay retired even if he won the comeback fight. Sudden weight loss has a lot of adverse effects and one of them is depleting the liver. Weight drainage affects the mind as well as the body.
There is plenty of time in a pro fight to try every kind of punch and be hit with every kind as well. A body shot always hurts and has much more serious consequences than a head shot. Ironically Ricky who was begging to be hit in the head all those years was retired by a body shot.
Unlike Marquez who pulled a “Rocky” on Pacman while being on the verge himself, Ricky was no Rocky and could not find a Hollywood ending.
Still Hatton deserves respect even in defeat and those who disrespect fallen warriors perhaps have never set foot in a ring and have no idea what’s it like to be hit in the body.

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Ivan December 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Perhaps should have stayed undercover after speaking my mind about Ricky, but that was me.

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Roberto December 17, 2012 at 5:16 am

Hi Fran,

Thanks for a great article… I couldn’t agree more.

Have a great week,

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Fran December 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Thank you and you too

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Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 2:45 am

Fran,

First, let me say thanks for a great post. I love your website, and I appreciate articles like these.

Second, regarding Ricky Hatton’s longevity, I’m surprised he has lasted for this long. You bring up two points that make me say this: 1) “Ricky Hatton had one style of fighting,” and 2) when it comes to Hatton’s style of fighting, he takes his “fair share of incoming punches.”

Being a one-dimensional fighter is a recipe for fleetingness. Many boxing analysts expected Hatton’s “hook and hold” style to work well against a fighter who had already had 63 professional fights and who had been fighting for approximately 18 years–Castillo. What’s more, Castillo had never been hailed for his defensive prowess.

However, when Hatton met a multi-dimensional fighter who knows how to avoid his fair share of incoming shots while throwing punches from a number of angles, he caught a check left hook and knocked his head on the ring post. Although Hatton had not lost fight before facing Mayweather, the blueprint for beating him had already been revealed through his propensity to get hit. Getting hit too much in boxing is a formula for a bunch of bruises and brief career.

Also regarding Hatton’s longevity, you characterize his ring generalship by noting that Hatton rarely took “a Step Back.” Perhaps Hatton could have added to his longevity if he had taken more steps to the side. Your website, Fran, emphasizes the value of lateral movement. I submit that if Hatton had blocked effectively, moved laterally, and bobbed his head more frequently, we would be having a different conversation.

Thanks again for a great post.

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Austin December 17, 2012 at 2:27 am

Absolutely awesome article

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Fran December 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Thank you.

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Chris December 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Love these articles. Can’t get enough of them and look forward to seeing them in the inbox. All the above analysis is spot on re Ricky, he was a great fighter and wish him the best with Hatton Boxing.

On the subject of Marquez he really has been an under rated fighter for years and in my view should be elevated to number 1 in the Ring Magazine pound for pound ratings. He’s now rated at 3 behind Mayweather and Andre Ward. Before he fought Pacman there was no overall pound for pound number 1 (Pacman and Mayweather were both joint rated number 2 ) and having won the fight ( and what a punch to win it ) I thought he should have been given the number 1 slot. At his age his energy and dedication is amazing, I think he deserves the top spot. I know these rankings have little value but they do give ammunition to people like me who live talking about the sport!

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Fran December 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Glad you like them Chris.

Marquez is something else. I know that many believe that Marquez was robbed during a few of the Pac fights but I think they were all close. That’s because he really knows how to take Pac out of his comfort zone. He doesn’t fight like Pac needs opponents to fight. Very clever, need to do a little article on that fight. The right hand work and footwork from Marquez was great.

Thanks for the comment Chris, it’s really great to get feedback on the stuff that I put on here.

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Dave Waterman December 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Sorry Fran, I left my name off the post above. As much as I like to be anonymous in some cases, I feel I should put my name to a possibly contentious post.

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Fran December 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I’ll reply to this late mate. Believe it or not listening to your podcast, currently listening to a well-spoken scouser (I think), waiting with bated breath for yours! Not sure about the music though 🙂

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Dave Waterman December 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Did you like the podcast, Fran? Lee (Mrs Mac….my burd) thinks that I had a bit of Ross Kemp inspired, pause-for-effect action going on. In fact it was the sixteenth take after many spoken mistakes so I was trying hard to enunciate everything and not mumble. By the way, the well-spoken scouser is indeed a scouser. John Kynaston, now resident in Paisley but remains a committed Evertonian. I spend many a quiet moment winding him up 😉

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Fran December 16, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Loved the podcast Dave, great stuff. I got a shovel load of Quadrophenia flashbacks mixed with the occasional Guy Ritchie movie overdub. Didn’t spot the Ross Kemp inflection, but I’ll not disagree with Mrs Mac thank you very much.

Really enjoyed the story as well mate, and after all that what it’s all about. Hooper the Paratrooper sounds like he has quite a constitution. But then anyone starting that 95 mile run/foul weather/wilderness thing has to be considered ‘ard as nails by law. Not one for podcasts really up to now, you may have changed that pal.

Liked your comment on Ricky as well, all made perfect sense. I think it was the Urango fight that really made me think that there was something not right and that he should stay at light welter. When the comeback was announced my heart sank. Just didn’t want to see it, but it’s the curse of the game. First to know it’s gone, last to admit it.

Like you though I was really shocked at how much Hatton was missing with shots. His percentage punch success rate must have been in single figures. I was ducking sitting on the couch at some of those left hooks. And you’re right, Senchenko is a very skilled fighter. Ukraine has been producing solid pros since the Wall came down, and they’ll only get more prolific. As for Malignaggi, in this state Paulie would have done Ricky by the 5th I reckon.

Anyways, it’s done now and clarity and sense has returned for good I think.

By the way, tell John it’s gonna be our season 🙂

Cheers Dave.

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Anonymous December 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I was in two minds about Ricky’s comeback. On the one hand the only defeats on his record were against two modern greats of the current era, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao; and despite Ricky’s aggressive boxing style, he hadn’t become shopworn in countless ring wars (although he claimed ‘too many hard fights’ in the post fight presser, but maybe the hard fights he was thinking of had not all been fought in the ring); so why couldn’t the Hitman enjoy a successful return?

On the other hand Ricky was making a return at welterweight where he had never been a dominant force, against a world class boxer in Senchenko whose only loss was to the Hitman’s former foe, Paulie Malignaggi (Ben Doughty has sparred with Malignaggi and disputes the ‘feather fisted’ claims). This was always going to be a dangerous move for the Hitman and one he didn’t need to make, after all, the MEN had sold out before an opponent, or undercard, were detailed. Ricky could have safely boxed a domestic level fighter and eased back in gently, but he’s a proud and honourable man and wanted a decent test to put him into world title contention.

According to Hatton, and his trainer Bob Shannon, the training camp went well and Ricky was back to his old self. However, prior to the Pacquiao fight we also heard that everything had gone smoothly which we now know not to have been the case. I think the blackened eyes that Ricky sported in interviews running up to the Senchenko fight were testament to the fact that the Hitman didn’t have it all his own way in sparring.

Anyway, on the night I, like everyone else, was willing Ricky to win and hoping for a return of the tiger that mauled and battered Kostya Tszyu.

From the first bell I was disappointed. Ricky’s timing was way off; he launched himself into the lead left hook at long range and through himself off balance a number of times. His hands slung low style of old wasn’t compensated for with any head movement so he got speared easily with Senchenko’s jab. He looked increasingly desperate as the rounds went by and the lack of power was clearly evident. And where was the defence that Shannon claimed he had ingrained into the Hitman?

I believe Hatton’s eventual loss was actually a Godsend. If he could have made the end of the fight, just a round away, he would have nicked it on the score cards, we would have argued that his less-than-glowing performance was simply ring rust, and he would have been catapulted into a world title fight where he clearly had no place.

So was this simply a failed and ill-considered return? No, I don’t believe so. I honestly think that Ricky’s fading began at least before the Pacquiao fight and possibly back as far as late 2007. He was beginning to become easy to read as his speed and reflexes were slowing (seen quite clearly in the Lazcano fight). Had the crushing Pacquiao defeat not occurred I think we would have seen Ricky Hatton’s brightly burning light slowly extinguish over a few fights instead of being blown out so decisively by Pacquiao.

In conclusion, I agree with you Fran, Hatton was never going to enjoy a long career and, as I argued above, I think the downward slope began way before the Pacquiao debacle and I think his hard living may well have contributed to his failure to fulfill the longevity criterion of greatness. The Senchenko fight, at the very least, sealed the deal in Ricky’s mind that his warrior days are over and allowed him to lay his demons to rest (hopefully all of them). It also gave us one last chance to exist in a ‘Hatton Wonderland.’

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Pug December 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi Coach,
I agree with your analysis entirely. The one thing I would add, and it always made me exhale and shake my head when I watched Ricky fight, is how Ricky would charge after his opponents, squared off with his hands down and his head up. When I saw the opening round against Floyd Mayweather Jr. all I could do is shake my head and wait for Ricky to go down. I was hoping that after working with Floyd Sr. that he would have corrected some of his fundamental flaws but it was not to be. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for any trainer, I don’t care who it is, to correct fundamental flaws that are so deeply ingrained. A boxer or fighter, as in Ricky’s case, will always revert to their instinctive way of fighting when under pressure. Ricky had lots of sand but he was fundamentally flawed. He got away with it as a young man but I regret to say, he was doomed to fail against pure boxers at the highest level of pro boxing.

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Fran December 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Thanks Rick

Very well made points. I agree that we can see flaws in a boxer’s style, and even in this fight we can see some of Ricky’s fully committed square-on attacks. Evidently both Mayweather and Pacquiao saw the same thing because Hatton was knocked out by each of them as he was in the midst of full-blooded attack. If you are going to lose though, losing against either of those guys is no mark on his abilities as a solid, high-achieving pro. But you’re right, against the real cream he comes up short. I don’t for a second believe that Ricky was defeated by Mayweather and Pacquiao because he was getting slow or his skills were fading, they beat him because they were way better than him. No disgrace there though.

Like your point on trying to coach out ingrained flaws. Always tough, but we have to keep on tryin’ dont we!

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Peter Som December 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Solid article Fran! Each one of these an articles are like sacred folk tales told by the village sage. My idea of boxing, like most who start off learning boxing, was sparse and a bit naive. I remember thinking, “all I want to be is a great pressure fighter.” It’s such a glorious style, like an old Spartan style and attitude. Needless to say, my feelings about that have changed. I think being a jack of all trades suits me better. On to Hatton: this is a great start to get to know the great Ricky Hatton. I knew little about him except his two major fights with the 2 at the time best fighters of the world. After watching his 24/7 it’s easy to understand why his fans adore him so much. Also, I’ve come to understand how hardcore British fans are in general. Thank you for the article Fran!

P.S. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I learn about boxing in general from these articles about boxing. Foot feints, front foot fighters, back book fighters.

A kind suggestion if I may? Put together articles or an article about the subtle nuances of boxing that are apart of the sport. For instance, perhaps you want to eleborate on exactly how weight makes a difference, or why the ref shakes a boxers gloves after he gets knocked down and recovers.

All the best,
Pete

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Fran December 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hi Peter

Thank you for the comment. These analysis-type articles do seem to be appreciated, and that’s always nice for me. Ricky Hatton (as with most top pros) are always worth watching to spot some more subtle yet vital skills. As I said in the article, Hatton’s body punching is well worth examining.

Thank you for your suggestions that’s very helpful, they’ve gone onto the drawing board 🙂

Cheers Pete, thanks for taking the time.

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Fran December 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

That’s the 64 million dollar question Dave. Speaking as a coach I believe that anything can be achieved no matter how ingrained the style, the trick is to make it a series of very small changes over a reasonable period of time in order to address a significant shortcoming. In Khan’s case this shortcoming is infighting. If he can get comfortable up close, be sensible with getting in and getting out and learn how to actually hurt opponents at close range rather than seek to grapple and hold, then there’s lots more for him to achieve in boxing. Can he do it? Well, I’m going to watch the Molina fight this evening so I might get an indicator off that.

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