Ricky Hatton has revealed how close he came to suicide during his three-year break from boxing.
The 34-year-old Briton, who is about to relaunch his career with a fight next month, slipped into depression after a second-round knockout by Filipino Manny Pacquiao in his last fight in May 2009.
Hatton, who won world titles at welterweight and light-welterweight, says that, during the worst bouts of the illness, his girlfriend had to take a knife from him to stop him hurting himself.
"I was near to a nervous breakdown; depression, suicidal," he told BBC Radio Five Live on Sunday.
"Most mornings my girlfriend would have to come downstairs and take a knife out of my hand. I had a knife at my wrists. I was in a really bad way, just hysterically crying for no reason.
"I've always liked a little bit of a drink, but my drinking had gone way off the Richter scale. I was having black-outs.
"And even when I was stone cold sober, I was trying to kill myself. The real lowest point was when my little girl came along, who is a year old now.
His son Campbell “had the misfortune to see his dad in such a bad way. I am not going to do it anymore to my kids and I'm not going to put my family though it anymore."
Hatton will return to the ring against Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine at the Manchester Evening News Arena on November 24.
A much-loved figure in the UK during the first part of his career, Hatton admitted his defeats at the hands of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather left him feeling like a "failure".
"I feel sad because I feel ashamed of myself," he said. "It doesn't matter how many people say, 'Ricky, everyone has problems and you got beaten by Mayweather and Pacquiao, who are the two best fighters of our generation. You did the country proud.'
"That's very kind of people to say, but they don't have to deal with this little fella who sits on my shoulder every day telling me that I'm a failure and I've let my family and my fans down and British sport, British boxing.
"I feel a failure and it doesn't matter how many people say, 'Don't be too hard on yourself.' That's how I feel and that's why I'm coming back. I feel I've got to redeem myself."