Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Hatton faces his biggest fight yet
Ricky Hatton’s admittance into a rehabilitation clinic is yet another case of a sports star falling victim to the perils of depression, and yet another sad tale of the demise of a former boxing champion.
We’ve seen countless others who have been hit hard by the problem of depression - Paul Gascoigne, Frank Bruno and Marcus Trescothick to name just a few of those.
Now, after recent newspaper revelations of drug use, ‘The Hitman’ faces the toughest fight of his life so far as he tries to battle the demons which have obviously taken over since the 31-year-old realised his career in the ring was finished.
Hatton has always enjoyed his drink between fights so I wasn’t surprised to see he had been making a lot more than his fair share of visits to the pub since he got dispatched of in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao back in May 2009.
But, to see him taking drugs was a surprise and it’s sad to see such a character, a down to earth family man, snorting cocaine in a hotel room.
Replacing the drug that is sport is always a difficult task, especially those who live and breathe their profession. So many struggle and Hatton is just the latest in a long list.
Boxing is a hard sport to walk away from, many hang around in the game far too long and refuse to hang up their gloves, leaving themselves open to physical and mental damage.
Hatton seemed to be coming to his senses, after first speaking about wanting to fight again after his battering at the hands of Pacquiao he recently came out and said that his time in the ring was up despite renewing his licence with the British Boxing Board of Control in July.
A lot of fight fans breathed a sigh of relief that they wouldn’t have to see one of their favourite boxers endure any unnecessary punishment after a long career.
But this declaration came amidst this apparent depression and the sudden realisation on his part may have tipped him to breaking point. If not, the newspaper revelations certainly did.
Ricky can be very grateful he has a strong family around him who have no forced him into rehabilitation as the News of The World revelations may have ruined him for good.
The paper in question was definitely correct to publish the story. They were given evidence in the form of video that a British sports star was a drug user - it’s a no-brainer.
However, with his image in tatters, an already despondent and isolated Hatton could have fallen deeper into depression. We all know what it can do to you but thankfully his family and management have helped him go to rehab.
Despite all of the history of depression with sports professionals, Hatton’s case is one that has surprised me as during his boxing career he wasn’t exactly the type of fighter who devoted himself fully to the ring.
There’s boxers, and other sportsmen and women, who live for only one thing and that’s their sport. They cut themselves off from normal life and push themselves to very limits but when that goes they’re left with nothing but the financial rewards and a name in the history books.
Hatton never quite did that, but that’s not a detrimental comment on what he achieved as he’s won world titles and done very well for himself financially.
However, we all knew between fights he was ‘one of the lads’ and could drink Guinness as good as any Irishman, so he wasn’t a ‘loner’ or cut off from reality but he obviously hasn’t had the right friends around him.
The 31-year-old also had his promotion company to look after which was something to keep him busy and continue his involvement in the sport that he loves but it obviously wasn’t enough for the former world champion.
The BBBofC will now look at his case when they can next meet with him so he could still lose his licence to promote and will almost definitely lose his boxing credentials.
This will no doubt hit Hatton hard, and he’ll need even more support, but let’s hope he can get the help he needs and we will see the ‘Hitman’ sitting at ringside in the future watching one of his protégés claim a world title.
And let’s all hope that when this scandal dies down that the charitable, and utterly likeable Hatton can be remembered in the boxing world as the exciting fighter who thrilled many an audience with his thrilling and aggressive style.
On a side note, the woman involved in the case, Emma Bowe, an Irish National boxing champion (had no fights to win this as nobody else entered her weight so she won by walkover) who decided to sell her video of Hatton snorting cocaine to the News Of The World is just as disgraceful as the former world champion’s actions.
She may have, or may not have enjoyed a line herself, but selling the story about Hatton, who she calls her ‘friend’, to the newspaper is sickening.
The newspaper to publish the article, it was too good to ignore but Bowe’s greed to compensate from her supposed pal’s problem is despicable and something that proves again that some people have no morals.
She believed she was acting in his best interests by revealing his problem but she was just interested in the big pay day, and not what the story could have done to him.
If Bowe was really interested in his interests then why didn’t speak with his family? Or even some of his closer friends?
You can bet she never even considered that, she ran to the nearest newspaper who would bite and she struck gold. I certainly hope my friends are more trustworthy than her if I ever run into a spot of bother.