BBC BLOGS - Ben Dirs
« Previous | Main | Next »

Hatton continues to be one of the lads

Ben Dirs | 18:46 UK time, Monday, 24 November 2008

I don't want to boast, but I've got a reason for boasting: I was in Ricky Hatton's living room yesterday. And he wasn't selling anything.

The Observer's Kevin Mitchell, who's seen a fair bit in sport, says he's never seen 'access' like it. If you only follow Premiership football, you might not know what he means. The point is, Premiership footballers only speak nowadays if they've got something to flog. Ricky, on the other hand, just wanted to chat.

Feet up on his sofa, with the Nevada desert stretched out behind him, Hatton was playing host to 20-odd British journalists. He could quite easily have had the day off.


That's why we love him. He claims to be one of the lads, and he is. Five hours later, he was necking pints of Guinness in an Irish pub. Even Richie Woodhall, a former world champion, joined the scrum for photographs.

After his defeat of Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday, I was reminded that Hatton was a man who has never appeared on terrestrial television. It makes his popularity all the more astonishing.

Among the press corps, the relief at the manner of his victory was palpable. Once he's gone, there's not much coming up behind him. Even if there was, it's unlikely he'd invite you into his hotel room for post-fight beers.

As Hatton chatted, his dad Ray and girlfriend Jennifer pottered in the background. "The Sunday Mirror reckon we've split," said Ricky. "Mind you, I wouldn't blame you..."

Ricky is off to Mexico on Tuesday with the Gallagher brothers and 400 fans. As someone who covers boxing, I sincerely hope he enjoys it. The boy's an absolute Godsend.

PS. Many thanks for all the chat. There are times when you wonder if anyone's still into boxing, and your comments provide one hell of a boost.


  • Comment number 1.

    Sounds like a class weekend all in all Ben. I'd love your job

  • Comment number 2.

    I absolutely love the coverage of Boxing on the BBC website. It is a great source of up to date information on the greatest sport in existance.

    I have really enjoyed reading this report as once again it has hit the spot.

    Keep up the good work guys you are all doing a fantastic job!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Premiership footballers only speak nowadays if they've got something to flog? Woah..for a minute there I almost thought you were heading for a gross generalisation..!? The obligatory pop at footballers when discussing the merits of another sport or sportsman is weak.

    I'm sure there are plenty people out there who don't buy this 'humble hatton' line which is poured out again and again.

    "I've been doing a chat show for tv and I like to think that might lead somewhere because of my humour and wit" ???

    " is only because I had general knowledge about the celebrities who came on, quick wit and off the cut jokes that i got through it." ???

    What about your modesty Ricky? Did that help?

    ..because of my humour and wit..?? who says that about themselves?!?

    This was an interview with a journalist in which Hatton is gagging for a job as a chat show host when he retires. He certainly wasn't just 'chatting'.

    Paul Scholes is humble. Ricky Hatton and his false humility is certainly not.

  • Comment number 4.

    We often criticise the money premiership footballers make but I certainly wouldn't begrudge Ricky making the money he makes.
    Granted his Jack the Lad image is worked very well but who can blame him when it makes him so marketable and likeable, everybody in Manchester knows a few people who have met him at some point and by and large you usually hear the same story that he was approachable and more than happy to pose for pictures etc.

    He deserves his success (wins against Pacman and JM Marquez wouldnt be bad ey?).

  • Comment number 5.

    "Paul Scholes is humble."


    Yeah.... if I was Scholes I'd be humble too!

    However, I agree with you about Hatton.

    How many self-effacing, salt-of-the-earth blokes do you know who comtinually refer to themselves IN THE THIRD PERSON?

    He's all "Ricky-Hatton-this" and "Ricky-Hatton-that". The last time I heard anyone refer to themselves as another person so relentlessly was Saddam Soddin' Hussein.

    The whole I-Am-What-I-Am guff is just another aspect of that. Popeye the bleedin sailor. No wonder he pals about with the Gallaghers - they had that same mindless "Yu gorra be yselhhhhlflll" drone going on. Yeah, real deep, lads - deep like... like... the toilet in yr local.

    Everyone is what they are, Ricky. It's impossible not to be - no matter how frequently you refer to yourself in the third person.

  • Comment number 6.

    Now i'm not one to usually engage in whinging at other people on forums but... "Paul Scholes is humble. Ricky Hatton and his false humility is certainly not"... I'd love for you to quantify your comment i.e. give us some points as to when Paul Scholes has spent time with the paying public after one of his matches?

    Ricky is widely known as being a great guy, he's got every right to forget modesty (he is a boxer after all, arguably the most arrogant and cocky of all sportsmen) for a sentence or two.

    Or is your comment merely because you're a jealous reds supporter?!

    With the way Ricky acts and performs it makes me proud to be English, unlike when i read about another footballer killing someone drink driving, fighting, taking drugs etc

    Ricky is the man full ruddy stop!

  • Comment number 7.

    coxy0001, this ain't Man City v Man Utd.

    Paul Scholes probably wasn't the best example for someone to give, but the reason why Paul Scholes hasn't spent time with 'the paying public' after matches is probably because he's a shy bloke. He'd rather do his job on the pitch and then spend his time with his real friends and family, rather than attention-seek and play to the gallery. It's just a thought.

    Calzaghe is a man who is uncomfortable with the media stuff as well, he lets his fists do the talking. That means that maybe he's not as high profile as Hatton, but it doesn't detract from him being a fine boxer.

    Hatton portrays himself as a 'man's man' and 'one of the lads'. Thats the way he sees himself and the way he wants others to see him. It appeals to the Nuts/Loaded/FHM, Oasis-listening 'mad for it' male demographic as well, who form most of his fanbase.

    Ricky Hatton: a true 'bloke' pint of lager, packet of crisps and a curry. A man you can have a pint with down your local. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that image. But I do sympathise with some of the comments here, that maybe Ricky does play to to the gallery a bit. The 'down to earth' persona maybe isn't as genuine as people think it is. It's quite opportunistic and definitely a case of self-promotion.

    He is a celebrity sportsman though, and he does bring in the punters, and thats what it's all about.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Everyone is what they are, Ricky. It's impossible not to be - no matter how frequently you refer to yourself in the third person."

    Spot on. I'm a man of the people..arf are lots of sportsmen's just that they don't make a big deal of it.

    Apparently, after a fight, he relaxes with friends..has a drink..nah I'm not having it?? Relaxing? with friends? if only other sportsmen and women would follow this approach.

  • Comment number 9.

    Paul Scholes is a good example. He doesn't mingle with the paying public afterwards because he doesn't want the attention. He's a down to earth bloke trying to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances of being one of the best players of his generation.

    Ricky Hatton mingles with the paying public afterwards because he does want the attention. He's a down to earth bloke enjoying the adulation that comes with being known as one of the best boxers in the world.

    I'm not sure there's anything wrong with either.

  • Comment number 10.

    Great job all round Ben.

    I was at Buckingham Palace last night. Had a bit of banter with Camilla, bit of tucker and booze and went home.

    smug fools.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Ben,

    I don't mean to get personal but was wondering how you pronounce your surname?

    If it's "Ders" I was wondering how "benders" was selected for post fight duties with Ricky Hatton???


  • Comment number 12.

    I have to agree that Ricky speaking in the third person is annoying. If you claim to be one of the people then why not act like one of the people? Talking like he does, does not make him sound like one of the lads. He is funny, down to earth and all that, but surely we know that by now so why does he have to constantly try and cultivate it? The act wears a bit thin after a while.

    I remember Tony Bellew speaking like that after an amateur bout on BBC v. Canada, and I was thinking, 'who the hell is this knob end?'

  • Comment number 13.

    Its just any opportunity to criticise on these boards by some folk. They would argue the sky isn't blue if they could.

    First its Ricky is going to be beaten by malignaggi, then its oh malignaggi isn't actually that good...then they move on to ricky's personality...oh he's false, its all an act, he's actually not like that.

    Get a grip you bunch of negative, drooling in your own self pity losers

    There is a reason that he attracts so many fight fans and followers...he has charisma about him. Something clearly lacking in others on this board

  • Comment number 14.

    "It appeals to the Nuts/Loaded/FHM, Oasis-listening 'mad for it' male demographic as well".... So a conservative-voting Daily Mail reader can't like him for who he is?!?

    He's not the first boxer to refer to himself in the third person, neither will he be the last. Away from self hyping before and after a fight i somewhat doubt he does this with his mates, or down the pub "Ricky Hatton would like a pint of Guiness please"!

    I think that having a beer with fans in the hotel bar is actually a rather decent thing to do, bearing in mind they've spent a small fortune in following him out there. He did it after he lost to Mayweather and from the various video clips that came back from Vegas he was acting like another one of the lads just enjoying the atmosphere...

    We're not ruled by communists, we don't get told what to do so if things annoy people then why put themselves in a position to be annoyed? I don't like Linekar so i don't watch MTOD! Pretty simple really

  • Comment number 15.

    Why have people wasted time comparing Scholes and Hatton, how many footballers, be it humble or not, spend time with the media after games? They don't because it's a team sport and therefore cannot be compared to boxing... comparing Hatton/Calzaghe to someone like Hamilton would be far more appropriate.

    Also can't we just enjoy Hatton while we've got him?! Aside from Haye, when Hatton and Calzaghe have gone we can kiss goodbye dreams of watching mega-fights in the UK or the US.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'd just like to voice my annoyance at the too often repeated phrase, "cement his legacy." It's used by boxers now with nauseating frequency. It's not a legacy that they leave behind, just their fight record and it won't be inherited by anyone. in the case of Evander Holyfield, a badly chewed ear could arguably be described as a legacy provided someone were to preserve it in formaldehyde. Otherwise, no. it must be something about sportsmen who become famous and don't have anything to say. They road-test phrases to destruction. Having said that, Premier League footballers are in a class of their own when it comes to spouting nonsense. I wish they'd just leave the nonsense to journalists and commentators. Seasons greetings to all.

  • Comment number 17.

    ben, have you turned into mark nicholas? you're like a starstruck kid here.

    hatton's sitting back now, job done. spend 20 minutes with the media massaging my ego after a win against a bloke who couldn't punch and watch my "man of the people, alf tupper of the ring" image get another airing.

    nothing to sell? every boxer has something to sell - it's called their next fight.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Ben,

    Keep up the good work, I enjoy your blogs, they are delivered with all the crispness of a good straight right across the face of lazy boxing writing...hmmm, best leave that type of metaphor to the professionals. I think boxing has received a real boost from the Brits recently, although the performances were memorable I don't really think that the quality of opposition in either the Haye, Hatton or Calzaghe fights was up to much, but I now think that at least two of them are looking for the biggest challenges out there which is great for boxing, next summer could be a great one for boxing.

  • Comment number 19.

    Just walked through the door after getting back from Vegas. I have to agree with coxy0001. It's too easy to be cynical about Hatton's 'man of the people' schtick, but as coxy0001 points out, it's not an act, it's just him doing the polite thing and having a booze with people who have spent fortunes following him to Vegas. I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Is it?

    etienne123 - Yeh, maybe I am a little starstruck. And what's wrong with that? Would you prefer it if I acted the cynical, emotionally detached hack and pretended I wasn't bothered? The point is, journalists don't normally end up in sportspeoples' apartments after they've competed. It's a bonus, and that's what I was trying to reflect. Anyway, and so to bed...

  • Comment number 20.

    Ricky's more interested in being a 'Celebrity' these days, and boring us with his rubbish repetitive jokes such as....."dad's a midget", "it's not a tickling competition" etc etc yawn yawn.

    I think the tide is turning against Ricky in the popularity stakes. Most of the lads I know have given up watching him and didn't go to his fight at the weekend or even pay £15 to watch it. They see him as a 'fat suit wearing' Frank Bruno style joker, and cringe when he talks about himself as the Third person or tells his rubbish Bernard Manning in the 70's style jokes.

    Ricky likes to play the 'Man of the People' card in the run up to a fight as he knows that it is the working class lads who buy the tickets and come and support him. The reality is that Ricky Hatton is a Rolex wearing, celebrity chasing, self promoter who loves money and the celebrity life style, who lives for his 'celebrity' appearances on second rate TV shows like Nuts TV and Loose Women.

    If Ricky is a 'normal guy' why does he keep telling us about his celebrity friendships, such as "I got a text off Becks", "Noel and Liam are carrying my belts" blah blah.

    Ricky likes to say that he comes from a council estate, but even this is not true. Ricky's dad Ray has always been a successful businessman and wealthy (by Manchester standards). He owned a pub close to a council estate that they lived in and the Hattons profited from the good folk on the local council estate.

  • Comment number 21.


    no one doubts he enjoys having a beer with fans, it's his telling everyone about him having a beer with fans and how he's just one of the lads, honest, that grates.

    just have your beer and spare us the 'look how normal i am' drivel.

    as for the unexpected access, good luck but to say he wasn't selling anything, come on.

    this is boxing, where all fighters are on the sell - they've been doing it since the start when they had to try to shift 40 tickets or face not going on the bill next time round.

    i've a lot of time for hatton and what he's achieved - i've followed him since he won the ABAs in 97 - but this love-in is a bit much.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hattons personal life is a dreadful example to all young aspiring sportsmen
    His disgusting boast of bloating his small body up 40 lbs by stuffing himself with beer and junk food in this day of heart disease and diabetes etc is disgraceful and for BD to tout it as being a regular guy pathetic.

    I came from the old school where drinking and not being in condition got you removed from the team .

    The behaviour of his disgusting fans with their ignorant booing of national anthems and filthy language makes me ashamed of my nationality on this side of the ocean.

    Be content to make a great deal more money than you are worth Ricky but leave your personal life out of the tabloids because it is nothing to be proud of mate.

  • Comment number 23.

    Dear oh dear, there really is some bitterness on here. etienne123 - I don't think he did tell everyone about having a beer with the fans, the press did. And no, he wasn't selling anything. He'd already held a presser the previous evening, there wasn't anything else to tell. He just wanted to chat about the fight and express his thanks to the press who'd followed him to America.

    And apparently he's not allowed to wear a Rolex. Do me a favour. I know plenty of working class people who've done well for themselves and bought nice houses, cars and watches, but they still go down the pub with their mates.

    "Ricky's more interested in being a celebrity nowadays". How do you work that out? If the fight on Saturday proved anything, it's that he's not more interested in being a celebrity, he's very much knuckled down to his boxing. And who can blame him for doing plenty of media stuff? He's got an eye on the future. Far too many fighters turn into quite desperate cases after they've retired, we should be happy he's got some idea of what he wants to do after he hangs them up.

  • Comment number 24.


    sounds like your a little jealous mate to be honest. I liken myself to Hatton in a sense that he lives the life he wants to lead, yet reaps the rewards people said he cant or never would because of his life......imagine he lead other peoples vision of perfect life.....he would be immense wouldnt he? no because he wouldnt be Ricky Hatton as we know him.

    Drinking, eating, ballooning in weight is his choice, in fact it makes it more remarkable that his training, hard work and determination pays off to make the weight, truly showing a reflection of his committment to the cause.

    I liken myself to Ricky in the sense that i was told i would never achieve what i wanted with my lifestyle, my education, and my "recreational" activities......hasnt stopped me earning way above the national average and mixing in the corporate world. I did it my way......enjoying myself.

    Credit to will always have critics but the true working class brit can relate to you and thats why we admire you!

  • Comment number 25.

    mrireland - "I came from the old school where drinking and not being in condition got you removed from the team." Old school? You have got to be joking? The history of boxing is riddled with fighters who drunk too much and didn't look after themselves between fights. They reckon Wilfred Benitez trained for about a week before his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard. Sugar Ray Robinson was on the lash for months before his first fight with Randy Turpin. Roberto Duran didn't train at all for his fight with Kirkland Laing. And as for Kirland Laing... the list of boxers who didn't look after themselves between fights is almost endless.

    "in this day of heart disease and diabetes etc" - what, are these new illnesses then?

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't get all the negative comments on here, he's easily one of the best boxer's this countries seen in years - we get to support him in the kind of fights that we'll have to wait at least a decade to see again.

    He'll be retired well before he's 35 and then what? He'll suddenly become some prima donna celebrity type who because he doesn't need the public anymore? He's more genuine a sportsman and human being than i've seen for many years - especially in boxing.

    If this is some City vs Utd bulldink it's sad beyond words.

    Ben, you're doing a good job - keep these blogs up.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well done team "BBC". I think your blogs add an extra element to boxing we diddnt really have 10 years ago.
    Id love to see Ricky fight Manni, the styles would make a cracker.
    Keep up the great work Ben....
    looking forward to some more.

  • Comment number 28.

    BBC Sport,

    Benetiz lost to Leonard, Robinson lost to Turpin, so thats hardly a good recommendation to piss it up prior to a major bout

    And yes heart disease and diabetes have increased dramatically ie in Ireland they had lowest rate of heart disease in Europe before war recently it had the highest.

    Both are preventable with proper diet and exercise

    No reason to be jealous mate I have probably got a lot more than Ricky but certainly more than I can spend during my lifetime and I started out probably with a lot less.

  • Comment number 29.


    So...........i don’t get your point.

    Your sole purpose to post is what? Give a preach on healthy eating? Tell Ricky he is not living his life the right way? Who are you to do so?

    I somehow doubt you have more than Ricky and/or started with less, but as Gabrielle once said.....”Dreams can come true...”

  • Comment number 30.


    'I have probably got a lot more than Ricky... '


    Haha, you're clearly either Bono or Eddie Irvine - i'm guessing Bono with the philanthropic edge to your posts.

  • Comment number 31.


    sport used to be a means to a healthy lifestyle and character building teaching respect not only for yourself but your opponents.

    The present era seems to have lost those values and the yobs wallow in the mire, well be my guest

    We all have our own set of values and are free to practice them and others are free to criticize of course, its called democracy

    Some of us love the sport but not its reputation sad to say.

  • Comment number 32.

    No not Bono

    Just a humble real estate developer, was lucky to be in right place at right time.and ability to work hard and stay focused

    I promote sport as a hobby not profession but was a competitor

    Have several friends world class boxers promoters and trainers both amateur and proffesional

    I would like to elevate the status of boxing but its an uphill battle with the army of Lager Louts prevailing

  • Comment number 33.

    i'm amazed at the anti- Rick Hatton stuff on here.... i think the guy is a genuinely nice bloke.. the fact that star struck people then constantly talk about it (no dig at you Ben) like Ben has here isn't Rickys doing... maybe he likes the attention... but that doesn't mean that everything he does is geared towards seeking it or cleverly angling towards a career in the spotlight after boxing....

    "Ricky is so normal there were 20 of us journalists in his lounge"... or whatever was said makes me think more about the intentions of the 20 people in his lounge rather than Ricky himself - whom was probably just trying to be accomodating to a lot of people wanting to be around him / feed off him...

    I think people should ease up a bit on the guy - if you want to have a pop then have a pop at the people that constantly try and make a celebrity out of him... the hangers on that love the fact that he is "a normal guy" when clearly "normal people" don't live the lifestyle and have access to the people he does... I am pretty normal and i haven't ever received a phone call asking me to go on holiday with the Gallagher brothers or Beckham inviting me to his house... and my mum doesn't socialise with Brad Pitt and Angelina.... it's the celebs and non-celebs alike that are promoting the image of "normal" Ricky - when the only reason they are then writing about it or socialising with him is because he is not normal.

    I have never met (but know people who have) him but bet he is a nice guy and approachable - but that doesn't mean all premiership footballers aren't approachable either - nor are alot of celebrities... I have met a few and with the exception of Gareth Chilcott and Pat Sharp (of funhouse fame) have found them all to be very pleasant - including Joe Calzaghe... and even Frank Lampard... who i think is a premiership footballer??

  • Comment number 34.

    Isn't sport still a means to a healthy lifestyle? Isn't it still character building?

    And what reputation are you talking about exactly?

    I honestly don't want to argue but what are you on about?

  • Comment number 35.


    You remind me a bit of victor meldrew, a self obsessed preached to the world for a utopia from your perspective. Times have moved on. Whilst I do not entirely disagree with your point, and i think your point is athletes should essentially lead by example, athletes are also human and have the right to a life they choose to see fit. Particularly with boxing, the athletes tend to come from disadvantaged backgrounds where fighting and scrapping for money, food and survival was a way of life. It’s difficult to then try and expect these people to act like monks.

    If on one hand i was offered the chance to be a sporting hero (talent permitted of course) but I could not drink, smoke, have a take-a-away etc ever but on the other hand was offered the same but also able to do what i wanted socially without detriment to my success, or serious detriment to my success, which am i going to choose? The latter....why? Becuase life is for living, and dependent on your religious views, we;re only here to enjoy the ride once, so enjoy it doing what you choose to see fit. If its a healthy hassle free life, great, if its an indulge in everything then all the better. As long as your happy.

  • Comment number 36.

    MrIreland -

    I for one would like to say fair play to you mate - all i can say is good luck to you and i hope you continue to do well for yourself. I am not a hater like alot of people in this world and anyone who comes onto a blog and says they have "alot more than Ricky" when he has earnt over £50m in his career is someone that i have maximum respect for... so congratulations mate

    there is a chance you are someone i met in Vegas last year at the Mayweather fight... were you there?.... i met a pair of quality Irish guys - one of which was a very successful developer.

    ps - got a spare £1m i can have - considering you just "got lucky" i guess you won't miss it :)

  • Comment number 37.

    boomshakalak - I always suspected about Pat Sharp but Gareth Chilcott? You're kidding? - he always struck me as an amiable and 'bubbly' person - maybe i've got Hatton all wrong as well!

  • Comment number 38.

    Boom its one thing to earn 50 mill quite another to keep it after expenses and tax etc if you end up with a third yer doin good.

    Ask Rock Newman and Don King better yet ask Mike Tyson, managers and promoters are bloodsuckers usually.

    Boxers are not great money managers but I hope Ricky holds on to most of his as he earned it the hard way mostly as his face reveals.

    Listen hes a good fighter not really great but better than most and no one better in his true class.

    Its his personal life and behaviour that in my opinion best kept out of the tabloids.I made plenty of mistakes but luckily learned from them in time to change my ways nuff said.

  • Comment number 39.

    'I made plenty of mistakes but luckily learned from them in time to change my ways nuff said.'


    Come on, admit it, you are Bono!

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mr Ireland....

    If you aren't Bono then do you know Bono?

  • Comment number 42.

    i tried to post this but it got referred to the moderators... so i have tried to make it more postable... i hope this is ok...

    MrIreland - good point!... i hope you hold on to all your money mate... well all of it but that £1m you promised me!.... i can't accept credit or debit cards i'm afraid... but i will take a cheque with a valid cheque guarantee card... or alternatively cash will do me fine!.. i'll even buy you a pint to say thanks!

    Satanssidearm - yep "SAID EX RUGBY PLAYER" was in a club in bath (a few years ago i must admit) and he "ALLEDGEDLY" told my wife to XXXX off when she asked if he was SAID PERSON ... admittedly not the greatest question he has ever been asked... but hardly worthy of that response - especially as she loves Rugby - supports Bath and thinks he is great... he was probably just drunk and wouldn't remember it or normally do it... but he did... so the SLIGHTLY OBESE GENTLEMAN - whom incidentally is probably not popular with MrIreland either isn't on my xmas card list at present!... not that i expect he is bothered...

    anyone else got any famous people anicdotes... come on Ben... tell us about when Mike Tyson invited you back to his bedroom along with Naomi Campbell....! :)

  • Comment number 43.

    The director of eastenders gave me £50 note, when i was behind him in the co-op queing for cigs..........................thats about as good as it gets!

    First round was on me!

  • Comment number 44.

    #43. That's a great story- the best bit being the fact you made money out of it!

    Mrireland/Bono you must have loads of celeb stories mate.....share them with us!

  • Comment number 45.

    Why is it bitter not to get excited over your "Ricky invited me into his room and then went for a beer" flannel?

    "That's why we love him. He claims to be one of the lads, and he is. Five hours later, he was necking pints of Guinness in an Irish pub."

    Exactly. He claims to be one of the lads. Who "claims" to be one of the lads? You are what you are, you don't need to push it down everybody's throat every time you're interviewed. What next, panto with Ricky as a Manc Oliver Twist?

    And since when is a 30-year-old boxer a "boy"?

    Hatton has been brilliant for British boxing, even accounting for the easy rides he got as WBU champion and they hype after duffing up a lightweight like Castillo and a feather puncher like Malignaggi. Dumping Frank Warren was a brave move and moving up to welter to chase the big fights proved he wasn't just happy to rest on his laurels after Tszyu.

    But it's wearing thin that journos jump up and down because he gets p*ssed with his mates after a fight.

    You stay starstruck and I'll look for serious analysis elsewhere.

  • Comment number 46.

    I have no problem with Ricky Hatton whatsoever. He is amazingly successful at what he does and brings joy to millions with his performances.

    The only person I have a problem with is Ben Dirs. He tries to come across as a geezer, but all he really is, is an arrogant self-loving journalist, who doesn't give two hoots about what the "mere public" think, as long as he gets his fat licence fee funded check at the end of the month!

    Do us all a favour Ben, and learn some humility.

  • Comment number 47.

    etienne123 - "I'll look for serious analysis elsewhere". Apparently not, because you're still here. Journalists don't jump up and down because he had a drink with his mates, they jump up and down because he can be bothered to come down from his apartment and have a drink with his fans, who've spent thousands of pounds travelling to Vegas to see him.

    JobyJak - You've got to love that, finishing things off with a rant about the licence fee. God that made me chuckle.

  • Comment number 48.

    I didn't say i was getting off, just that I'll get the puff stories and peripheral 'diary' gossip here and the serious boxing analysis elsewhere.

  • Comment number 49.

    I am glad it made you chuckle.

    At least it proves that your ears are not as big as your mouth, or you might have actually heard what some of the posters on here were trying to say!

  • Comment number 50.

    what is going on boys...??? everyone calm down.... no need to critices each other personally - lets try and stick to the debate... Ben.. you should know better! tut, tut!

    Whether Ben Dirs is a great bloke or a proper tool is completely irrelevant - the guy has a great job that we would all love (funded by us or not is also irrelevant).... i like this blog - not necessarily because i think Ben should be recognised as the worlds greatest journalist - but because it has got a few (admittedly only a few) of us discussing the Rick Hatton situation.

    Ben - great point about Ricky mixing with his fans - but it does sort of overlook the claim that alot (not you necessarily) of journo's and other celebs hang around Ricky for the fact that he is everything but normal... and this is sort of what annoys me and maybe others a bit... i love Ricky Hatton and have paid lots of my own money (and i don't have much unlike MrIreland) to watch him... but when people say "he is normal" it starts to sit a bit heavy - like when people say "you have to love Prince Harry - what a normal bloke"... he isn't normal that is the whole point...

    The press and celebs don't love him because he is normal... the love him because he is a boxing icon, sells papers, is a person it is "cool" to be around and of course because he is a nice guy.... how many times did he go on holiday withthe Gallaghers when he had a record of just 2 wins...??...

    The point about his popularity being amazing due to he has never fought on terrestrial TV is also a bit lame as well - as most sports fans these days have something called SKY TV... which Ricky has been on ... and if those fans don't have SKY - they go around each others houses for the big fights.. or to something called a pub... It is what i used to do before i could afford SKY/Setenta/BoxOffice, etc.... people don't care about any fighters that are not successful - they love the good guys, the champions.. and then they support them... I don't think Ricky had 16,000 at his first few fights for example...

    I hope Ricky realises that all the 20 journos sat in his living room won't be there when he has retired and isn't famous anymore ... even though i am sure Ricky will be just as accomodating and keen to have a beer with them ... they probably won't be as keen to have a beer with him - no matter how nice he is.. as they would have moved on to the next Johnny Salesmorepapers... i hope i am wrong - bu ti doubt it.. it is a classic example of "mr average" is interesting and has hundreds of friends whilst he is "mr average with loads of money and success" but when he is "mr average" again he is dropped like a stone.... Ben .. you are in a priveledged position to see what goes on... do you think this is a fair opinion or do you think that you will all be around his house and he will be socialising with A'listers in 15 years time??... i don't think there is a bookie in the land who would take that bet - no matter how nice a guy he is!

  • Comment number 51.

    sorry to post again... but Ben, if it helps illustrate the point about why people described as "normal people" or "down to earth" or "one of the lads" rarely are just that is because the vast majority of us - who have no claim to be anything other than the above don't get called it on a daily basis... i don't walk in the pub abd people say "here is Darren, he is one of the lads"... why - because it is blindingly obvious... nor do i walk into a pub and say "hi guys its me, Darren, you know, i'm just one of the lads"... why? because they would tell me to go home and not come back... because it is so unnecessary... as i am one... sadly despite aspiring to be important and somebody above my station of mediocrity i have no basis to think for 1 second that i am any more than that....unfortunately Ricky has been told this all the time... because he isn't "normal" but still acts that way... so when you keep getting told someone is normal.. you start to realise that they aren't at all! ....

    but as i said before - Ricky is an absolute legend, a great boxer, nice bloke - and the way he mixes with his fans (again being truly normal i don't have fans either) is simply fantastic and something all people could learn from... just please can we stop being told about it!... we already know!

  • Comment number 52.

    you have a sense of humour thats good.
    Remember a wise man once said the secret of happiness is to be moderately wealthy and relatively unknown.
    Believe me most celebs aint all that nice and those that are dont like being recognised
    Paul H and I live in San Remo but not same San Remo.
    Back in the days ....Rinty Monaghan won world title and bought all the people in his street a pair of new shoes... I was only a wee lad but recall that fondly.
    Compared to B who I admire a lot I am an also ran
    If yiv got yer elf live in a tent yer better off than prince wif poor elf ...
    Happy days

  • Comment number 53.

    Wah! Such petulance being on show - most of it comes over as jealousy - I am not that much of a boxing fan, but I do like to keep an eye on Hatton.... To my humble eyes - I admire the way that he conducts himself out of the ring....

    I remember "our 'Enry" out of the ring he just didn't have it... A better boxer was Joe Bugner - but, no loyalty/personality - running from country to country for a pay-cheque! Cala.. Calzah... THAT Welsh bloke - yep seems to be a good boxer, but, so much is made outta his successes that he doesn't come over with the same appeal as Ricky or (another personality I like)... Barry McGuigan - who, it seems to me, was also one of those accessible boxers!!

    It's just personalities innit? For example - I used to really hate Agassi & McEnroe, but I have really warmed to them in their later years - mostly Agassi, whose philosophy is totally laid back, McEnroe as a humouress (who wouldda thought) straight shooter!!

    No, no doubt about it, the Hitman has his niche in his after (boxing) life, and there ain't no amount of jealousy or pitiful Football club mentality gonna change that! I just hope that he gets out of the game before his mental abilities diminish (see - I told you that I'm no boxing fan - strangely enough - I actually think that being slapped around the ring in Clay's latter daze, may well have contributed to his mental state now)!!

    I live in Jairmuni, and the Klitschko Brothers have made a fortune (or, at least a very good impression) by their "men of the Peeps" show!!!



  • Comment number 54.

    Both Enry and twin bro Jim were great blokes probably still are have not seen them for quite a while.

    Henry was very personable and spent a lot of time doing charity work and handing out awards etc.

    He was a very good boxer with a terrific left hook but really a light heavy and had craggy eyebrows cut very easily, but not before he decked Clay.

    I have an autographed photo of him standing over Clay who is resting comfortably on his ass

    Henry was a very dignified bloke modest and genuine he was just not a rabble rouser type but a credit to boxing and to England in my opinion.

  • Comment number 55.

    I don't disagree with you, Mr Ireland, if you liked our 'Enry, what have you got against Hatton?


  • Comment number 56.

    Ricky is a top class person and boxer, all these negative people need to head elsewhere, if you dont like him fair enough but he deserves all the credit and attention he gets.

    we all know he'll never be a comedian but its no danger coz he'll be one hell of a promoter/ trainer............after he's finished crackin' ribs, jaws and skulls.

  • Comment number 57.

    Well - that surprises me, looks to me as tho' you are a person that has transversed the red/blue divide in Manchester - Which, in my mind is the main source of this irrational hatred of a guy who is really trying to pay back his public.... (a lotta Irish are Manure luvers)


  • Comment number 58.

    I think this really boils down to the fact that people don't want to feel like they are being mislead or someone is using them to any extent.

    And the way Ricky Hatton seems to always talk about just being one of the lads, or all the attention he gets for it, could make people feel this way.

    Personally, I think he does play up to it a bit, and having his own chat show makes me think a lot less of him. That's for people with no talent/not enough to be succesful in that area.

    He's a very talented boxer, so the chat show thing would bring him way in my estimation. And I'm sure a lot of other peoples.


  • Comment number 59.


    I think you're over playing the fact that he isn't normal - of course he's not, not with regard to points that you make (in great length).

    The fact is that people can relate to him and the way he conducts himself - whether because of media portrayal, self promotion or whatever is niether here nor there - it's the only time most of us get to see or hear from him anyway.

    Yes Ben is a journo but out of all of us he is the only one here with first hand accounts of Hatton and I for one have no reason to doubt his words.

    i honestly can't see why this has got some people's hackles up so much.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm afraid you've been rumbled on this one Ben!! Hatton's Fag

  • Comment number 61.


    i reckon you are right.. i'll let it go...

    I love Ricky as much as the next guy and hope he does well in everything he does... i also hope that all the people around him are genuine and not leeches.

    MrIreland - i have no idea what the elf saying meant... i am clearly not very bright...but thanks for it anyway!

  • Comment number 62.

    On whether this is a City v United thing I should say that Lazcarno tried to drum up support at OT before his fight with Ricky. He was roundly booed.

    Some reds are bitter but the majority know a Manc hero when they see one (eg. there aren't exactly many people who'll listen to the stone roses but not oasis and vice versa because of football) and it's also worth pointing out that Matthew is a red.

    Ricky is a Manchester hero, not a blue hero.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hello - i am Mihir Bose

    I now nothing about sport but have a job as the Sports Editor!

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm sick of people on these forums having a go at authors of these Blogs such as Ben Dirs and complaining it's a waste of taxpayer money. It may be a waste to you but to many other's it's a light hearted read - it doesn't have to be serious analysis to be "worth" taxpayer money. And at the end of the day not everyone will be satisified by everything - I'm sure there are things funded through taxation that JobyJak likes but that others don't. So get over it and stop churning out that stock line.

    As far as Hatton is concerned - maybe it is a bit of a false demeanour - but who cares? He is a very good boxer and can do what he likes - perhaps it's just his boxing character in the same way Mayweather always came across as super arrogant but in actaul fact wasn't.

    And finally with reference to his eating and drinking - the only problem with that is that it could impact on his longevity - he is under no obligation no to do it to be a role model for kids. What complete rubbish - he is hardly going out assaulting people - he is unwinding after months of training.

    There seriosuly are some right plonkers on these forums. Keep up the good work Ben - I think people are just jealous because you got to go to Vegas with "taxpayer money"! Oh the injustice!

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry others*. Before some pedant picks me up on my grammar.

  • Comment number 66.


    I have two questions for you.

    Do we all have to agree with everything Ben Dirs says and does or can we disagree with his viewpoint if we so wish?

    And, is the licence fee a necessarry taxation?

    For me, things that have to be taxed are things like hospitals and schools and police stations. A media service is NOT a necessary taxation, it can either fight for it's position with the competition i.e. SKY, ITV etc, where I am sure it will be victorious or it can DEMAND a tax from the general public to fund itself.

    I could live wihtout the BBC, but am not sure whether I could live without hospitals. That is why I don't see the BBC as a taxpayers necessity.

  • Comment number 67.

    #12 KingPlymouthblue,

    "Talking like he does, does not make him sound like one of the lads. He is funny, down to earth and all that, but surely we know that by now so why does he have to constantly try and cultivate it? The act wears a bit thin after a while."


    That's the whole point- it's not an act, it's what he genuinely feels is a good thing to do and he enjoys doing it.

  • Comment number 68.


    Mate, f you're not happy with the licence fee or the way it's used the forum to voice your concern is, I would suggest, the BBC trust.

    Not boxing blogs.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ben Dirs is a credit to the BBC. his posts are well written, the comedy is good and he is topical in his musings. i think his efforts with the livetext on Cricket are admirable and have cheered me up no end when bored at work or when England are suffering another middle order collapse.

    well done Ben!

    totally agree with the Ricky Hatton third person comments. I read a quote from him in the build-up where he felt the need to refer to himself 3 times in 4 lines. comes across as either arrogant or perhaps just demonstrates he is thick as two short ones and attempting to appear intellectual

  • Comment number 70.

    So far as the man-of-the-people bit goes, Ricky possibly does lay this on a bit thick at times, but if that's the worst you can say about the chap, I don't think he's doing too badly. Far more relevant I would suggest is his willingness to genuinely challenge himself and place his reputation on the line against the best fighters available. To ask for the Mayweather fight - wise or not - and be prepared to take it at 147, in FMJ's home town took major cojones. The Tszyu fight may be some time ago now, but the performance against a potentially tricky opponent last weekend - and his main competition at 140 according to Ring Magazine - showed just how premature the obits were. He's top class - a proper national treasure - and as always the poison directed at him tends to say far more about the critic (see Frank Warren) than the man himself.

    As far as Ben's reports go, I have to agree with the last poster - his cricket stuff is particularly good, and I don't begrudge him these Vegas trips at all. The online sports coverage is one of the few things I reckon does justify the license fee.

    Pip, pip!

  • Comment number 71.

    So far as the man-of-the-people bit goes, Ricky possibly does lay this on a bit thick at times, but if that's the worst you can say about the chap, I don't think he's doing too badly. Far more relevant I would suggest is his willingness to genuinely challenge himself and place his reputation on the line against the best fighters available.


    But that isn't what the blog is about. The blog is about his supposed 'normality'.

  • Comment number 72.

    I've heard a lot of people commenting about Ricky Hatton speaking about himself in the 3rd person recently.

    Any psychology experts know why he (or anyone) does this?

    Also why does it bother people so much?

  • Comment number 73.


    My point is, considering the scale of Hatton's achievements, the level of vitriol he receives from some people for a pretty minor flaw is out of all proportion. Bearing in mind the level of fame, wealth and accomplishment, I think he comes across as a pretty level individual, and although I'm not a big fan of the Gallaghers et al, I can't criticize anyone for enjoying the fruits of their success in whichever way they see fit - they put the work in, after all.

  • Comment number 74.

    The only reason I gave my opinion about the license fee, is because koonie called it a necessary taxation.

    Someone said the "online coverage" Ben Dirs provides is worth the licence fee by itself to them.

    What online coverage?! The few reports is worth sending and paying someone to go to Vegas? If it was the Radio crew who provide live coverage of the fight it would be a different story, but I personally could live without the handful of online stories that cost tens of thousands to the BBC, let alone the licence payer.

    I just do not see the point of what Ben Dirs does when he goes over to cover the fights. He is simply a hanger-on journalist and that is how he reports.

    I just find him annoying and arrogant, with little respect of what the public actually think.

  • Comment number 75.

    Hi Ben,

    just want to say, keep up the good work!

    Your articles are refreshingly well-balanced and very readable!

    Nice to see there's still lots of people who are pasionate about boxing.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think unfortunately for Ricky Hatton is that he is the victim of his own success.

    I'm from Hyde and am a year below Hatton in terms of school years. I see his family all the time in Hyde and used to drink at his local The Lamb.

    Ricky prior to claiming the much unheralded WBU LW Belt was a young prospect coming through the ranks, and his fights were shown on Sky, generally on the undercard of a decent fight night.

    I bumped into Hatton in a kebab/burger shop in Hyde called the Charcoal Grill, I knew who he was, being a boxing fan, and he had no idea who I was. CLearly both of us had been on the lash. Hatton was completely jovial, engaging me in conversation, despite being one of the greatest young talents Britain had ever seen in boxing terms. At that point I told everybody how 'down to earth he was'.

    My guess is this happened to hundreds of other mere mortals such as myself, and word got out that Hatton was a humble lad and dead 'down to earth'.

    Unfortunately for him, it became a selling point to his fights, his likeability, his easy going approachable demenaour, all of it was churned out, reminding us all on a daily basis (especially after the epic Kostya battle). It became too much and it has snowballed into something kind of grotesque.

    Deep down Hatton is a 'man of the people - a working class hero - dead down to earth'. Unfortunately it has been played on to the extent that he now sounds like a broken record, and he is starting to get negative treatment for it.

    All in all I will remember Hatton as this super star in the making having a general chit chat with me in the centre of Hyde after a night out, and thinking what a decent lad he was. No pretences, nothing to sell, just a nice fella.

  • Comment number 77.

    JobyJack - At the risk of stretching this discussion to snapping point, there are a couple of things that need pointing out. I can handle the fact you don't like what I do, that just goes with the territory and I have to respect peoples' opinion. But you seem to be irritated by stuff that just isn't true. For example, your assertion that the BBC spent "tens of thousands" sending me to Vegas. Where are you plucking these figures from? Have a look online and you'll see how much it costs to go to Vegas.

    "What online coverage?" - It may interest you to know (or you may already know) that most of the national papers send chief sports writers to these fights, and they probably write between 500-1000 words on the fight all week. The Sundays also send - and the fights happen too late to make the Sunday papers! Meanwhile, the boxing writers might get a short slot here and there in the week leading up to the fight.

    Therefore, I have to ask the question, did you actually read BBC boxing index in the week of the fight? I had an exclusive interview with Malignaggi, an exclusive interview with Hatton, I did a blog every day I was here, perhaps 10 separate news stories, plus a fight report and post-fight analysis. Off the top of my head, that's well over 10,000 words. You'd have to agree, that's more than a "handful of stories.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    JobyJack is right-

    I don't pay my licence fee so that reporters can go abroad and report live on events.

    I expect them to use my money wisely and base their reports on reading others' online blogs and listening to the radio.

    A shocking waste of money if you ask me.

  • Comment number 80.


    one of the best points i've read on here.

    i remember first speaking to hatton in 97 when he won a bout on his way to the ABA title and he had a fair few noisy fans there that night. everyone went away talking about him and it was clear he was going to do something as a pro.

    he came across as what he no doubt is still underneath the showbiz, a nice bloke. just like most of the fighters you meet.

    allowing that young sick boy james to carry his belts to the ring each fight showed his class - and that's why i have no problem with him getting in there with noel and liam, wayne rooney or whoever.

    but say a year before the tszyu fight, when it was clear the fight was going to take place, all of the papers got on board. he'd been covered before but not to the extent that people wanted to know all about him out of the ring. and i reckon the journos couldn't believe their luck how accessible he was simply because most of them were probably used to covering football.

    and since then it's just grown and grown with non-stop mentions of 'normal', 'man of the people', comparisons to footballers etc etc, and hatton telling everyone the same.

    it's almost become a parody, it's like the monty python sketch with the five yorkshiremen. "we were so poor ..."

    and the fact we've heard it for the best part of four years was probably why this seemingly inoffensive blog wound me up.

  • Comment number 81.

    Well... I couldn't agree more with you Ben. Having all the riches in the world, owning a huge house, nice jewelry, a Rolex gold watch or whatever else you can think of, still doesn't mean that you won't go down to the pub and have a pint!


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.