Ricky Hatton announces retirement

Former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton has announced his retirement at the age of 32  .

He has not fought since suffering a crushing IBO light-welterweight world title defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in 2009.

Hatton's only other defeat in his 47-fight career came as a welterweight against Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2007 .

"I am very upset. It's a very sad day for me. I know it is the right decision though," Hatton said.

"I've known it was the right thing to do for 18 months to be honest.

"It's a bit of a relief to finally do it. It's been hovering over my head for such a long time. I need closure on my career so I can move on with my life."

'The Hitman', as Hatton became known, lost his licence to box in 2010 after allegations of cocaine use.

Ben Dirs blog

"Hatton's preferred style meant he was prepared to take two punches to land one of his own"

But he was allowed to continue working as a promoter, for the likes of former WBC light-middleweight champion Ryan Rhodes and his own brother Matthew.

"These last two years have been really frustrating. I hit rock bottom and it almost drove me insane," said Hatton.

"There's nothing more I love than training for a fight but I have no dreams left now."

After turning professional in 1997, Hatton won his first 21 fights before he beat Jon Thaxton on points to become the British light-welterweight champion in 2000.

The Manchester fighter then beat Tony Pep to win the WBU light-welterweight title in May 2001 and went on to dominate the light-welterweight division with his most notable victory at that weight coming in 2005 against IBF champion Kostya Tszyu .

Tsyzu was a huge favourite for the fight in Manchester, but Hatton overcame the odds with perhaps his finest performance to defeat the Australian by technical knockout.

In 2006, Hatton became a two-weight world champion after he defeated Puerto Rican Luis Collazo to take the WBA welterweight world title , and he followed that victory up by beating Juan Urango to reclaim his IBF light-welterweight title.

RICKY HATTON'S CAREER

  • Born: Stockport, 6 Oct 1978
  • Turns pro in 1997
  • 21 fights unbeaten and becomes British light-welterweight champion in 2000
  • Wins WBU light-welterweight title in 2001
  • In a defining fight, beats IBF light-welterweight champion Kosta Tszyu by TKO in Manchester in 2005
  • Points victory over Luis Collazo in 2006 sees him become WBA welterweight champion
  • By now awarded an MBE, loses first fight in December 2007 - knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr
  • Beats Juan Lazcano and Paul Malignaggi in 2008 but knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009
  • Stripped of licence to box in September 2010
  • Retires 7 July 2011

A sensational fourth-round knockout of Jose Luis Castillo in Las Vegas further increased Hatton's popularity and helped set up his fight with Mayweather Jr in December 2007.

Undeterred by his loss to Mayweather - his first in professional boxing - Hatton split from long-term trainer Billy Graham and returned to the ring with victories over Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi in 2008 before taking on the world's pound-for-pound best fighter Pacquiao in 2009.

It was a bout that proved too much for Hatton, who was knocked down twice in the first round before being knocked out cold in the second .

Although he returned to the gym after the Pacquiao fight and was also linked with several big-name fights, including a rematch with Mayweather Jr, he admitted he had lost his spark.

"Nobody loved going into training camp more than me but you need to have the motivation to go through the routine of going out for runs, start dieting and go through the hard slog," Hatton told BBC Sport.

"After the Pacquiao fight the drive had disappeared and I found it more difficult when I went into camp. I'd gone into the gym at times and did some pads work but nothing came back and that was the moment when it clicked.

"I'd like to be remembered as someone who was exciting, always on the front foot and who challenged the best and gave British boxing fans a lot of entertaining nights but it never went to my head and I still remained the same person - Ricky Hatton, world champion but still one of the people."

Hatton was stripped of his licence to box at a British Boxing Board of Control [BBBC] hearing in September 2010 and fined £20,000 plus costs after allegations he used cocaine - Hatton said he was "disgusted" at himself, and spent time in a rehabilitation clinic.

Despite his personal troubles, he kept his boxing promoters licence, but has now decided to end his 14-year professional career.