Hatton continues to be one of the lads
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.