By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
RICKY HATTON finally hung up his gloves yesterday – after being KO’d by the snooze button on his alarm clock!
One of Britain’s greatest-ever fighters said he knew the final bell had rung when he no longer felt motivated enough to get out of bed.
The former two-weight world champion told me: “It became clear to me that I did not want to fight on when the alarm clock went off in the morning and I ignored it.
“Instead of leaping out of bed and heading off to do training or whatever, I would press the snooze button and roll over and go to sleep again.”
Yesterday’s announcement finally ended all speculation about a return to the ring for the 33-year-old former two-weight world champion.
Rumours of him fi ghting again have repeatedly surfaced in the wake of his brutal, X-rated KO at the hands of pound-for-pound world No. 1 Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas two years ago.
That was only the second defeat of his 47-fight career, the other coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather in 2007.
Now, though, he has brought an end to one of the finest careers in British boxing by saying: “I can go out with my head held high.
He said: “I knew it was time to bring closure to my career. It’s the hardest decision I have ever had to make but I had to do it.
“The toughest thing for me will be missing the atmosphere of those massive, massive boxing nights I have enjoyed throughout my career.
“But I had to do it. I had just been sitting around and sulking and not getting on with my life after losing to Pacquiao.”
Those two losses against Mayweather and Pacquiao clearly took their toll on the ever-popular ‘Hitman’ who earned worldwide praise for his career-defining win over Kostya Tszyu at the MEN arena in 2005. That landed him the IBF world light-welterweight title and put him fi rmly on course for world domination.
He then collected the WBA belt with a win over Carlos Maussa and then became a two-weight champion by defeating Luis Collazo for the WBA welterweight belt in Boston.
Hatton said: “I know I can hold my head up high. I have fought the best and never dodged a fight – and became a two-weight champion into the bargain. “I have enjoyed some great nights and I like to think that I always gave my army of fans value for money. Whenever I fought, I did my best.”
Hatton’s career reached a low point last September when he was admitted to the Priory for drink and depression problems.
He said: “I was there for four weeks and now I feel in great shape. I have picked myself up again and I am raring to go once again.
“Now I can concentrate more fully on my promotional life where I am looking after some exciting boxers.”
He looks after the interests of his younger brother Matthew who he led to the European welterweight crown and two world title shots.
Olympion Joe Murray is also under Hatton’s guidance along with Anthony Crolla, the exciting British lightweight champion.
He also took Matthew Macklin to the European crown and also promotes leading welterweight champion Craig Watson who he took to Commonwealth light-middleweight and British welterweight titles.
Hatton said: “Things are really buzzing on the promotional side. I may be hanging up my gloves – but boxing hasn’t seen the last of Ricky Hatton.”