The Hitman fires a parting shot
Only a deranged person would walk into their local Kwik-Fit fitter and start abusing all and sundry for not working their way on to an F1 pit crew. Yet when a British sportsperson fails to reach the highest peaks in his or her chosen field, phone-ins and messageboards run thick with invective.
Yet, just as there were people who called Tim Henman a "loser" for making four Wimbledon semi-finals, winning 11 career titles and rising to number four in the world, there will be those who denigrate Ricky Hatton as he officially moves into retirement.
Envy? Probably. Nonsense? Most of it. But then it is easy throwing bombs anonymously from your living room sofa. How high, I ask myself sometimes, have these armchair critics soared in their chosen professions?
It is one of the oldest adages in boxing, indeed sport in general, that you are only as good as the other person lets you. And just as Henman's path to potential immortality was blocked by superior talents, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao were on hand to put 'The Hitman' in perspective.
The nature of those defeats - outclassed over 10 rounds by Mayweather, demolished in two rounds by Pacquiao - demonstrated that not only was Hatton short of true greatness, but also that he was some way past his best when he met them.
For all the hype surrounding his bouts on American soil (nine in total), Hatton's personal Everest was his defeat of Kostya Tszyu in Manchester in June 2005. Despite his protestations, he had been descending ever since.
No-one who was present will forget that clammy Sunday morning at the MEN Arena, when Hatton ploughed Tszyu into the canvas to claim the IBF light-welterweight crown. Just as no-one will forget the manner in which he did it.
Pressurising, mauling, wrestling, it was what Hatton did best - and most often. Unfortunately, against slicker, and less shopworn, fighters than the 35-year-old Tszyu, Hatton's roughhousing did not cut it.
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach put it best when he said: "Hatton is what he is. We studied tapes, it's right in front of you. All you do is watch."
Hatton's preferred style, meaning he was prepared to take two punches to land one of his own, meant he was an 'old' 30 when he engaged in his final fight against Pacquiao in Las Vegas in May 2009.
Hatton suffered only two defeats in his career spanning 15 years
The unmistakable signs of very real decline were in evidence the previous summer, when Juan Lazcano, a career lightweight, rocked Hatton to his boots in a bona fide tear-up at the City of Manchester Stadium.
After that bout, Hatton got himself a new trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr, and convinced himself he was a fighter reborn with an easy win over Paulie Malignaggi. Pacquiao disabused him of that notion in brutal fashion.
While Pacquiao's ability to carry his power up through the weights is phenomenal, you have to remind yourself the Philippine superstar was unable to do to a host of big-name opponents what he did to Hatton.
Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales (in the first two fights anyway) were all able to withstand Pacquiao's biggest bombs, into the championship rounds at least. Even Oscar de la Hoya, a dehydrated husk when he fought Pacquiao last December, was never put down.
As former super-middleweight world champion Richie Woodhall told me recently, a fighter's head is like a walnut: it might take some cracking at first, but once the fissures start appearing, it is time to get out.
"Knockouts like that are not good for people," added Roach, who suffers from Parkinson's disease exacerbated by boxing. "I was told to retire and I fought five more fights without my trainer. I lost four of them, so my trainer was probably right."
Hatton's loyalty to two of his closest friends, Ronald McDonald and Arthur Guinness, no doubt accelerated his decline, and while his geezerish demeanour endeared him to many, there is no doubt it adversely affected his standing with some boxing fans.
Some readers of this website found his man-of-the-people schtick difficult to stomach. As one wag put it to me, it is all very well pootling about in a three-wheeler van, but Del Boy did not make a habit of referring to himself in the third person.
But to tens of thousands more, Hatton was a folk hero, one of their own, and they raided their piggy banks time and time again to prove how much they loved him. His popularity was made all the more astonishing by the fact he never once fought live on terrestrial TV.
While Hatton's many forays across the Atlantic stretched his supporters' finances, and devotion, to the limits, they also proved he was willing to test himself against the very best and, if it came to that, be carried out on his shield. For that, he should be admired.
Being told you are the best promoter in Europe - an accolade he was bestowed with last month - is not a patch on being told "there's only one Ricky Hatton". Over and over again, by tens of thousands, while you are up there under lights. But perhaps the award was the reassurance Hatton needed that there is life beyond the ring.
That Hatton was found wanting on the biggest stage is nothing to be ashamed of. There are no testimonials in boxing, no gentle kickabouts, no hit and giggles. Hatton is right to get out now, while he can still remember what glorious fun it all was.