‘Cry all day’: Ricky Hatton on plunging into depression after boxing defeats

Ricky Hatton previews Marco Antonio Barrera exhibition bout

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The multi-world championship winner – rated the 11th greatest European fighter by BoxRec, is set to jump out of retirement for an eight-round exhibition fight with Antonio Berrera scheduled for November 2022. The 43-year-old star retired in 2011 following his defeat at the hands of Filipino Manny Pacquiao which plunged him into a depression. In a new podcast interview, the star has opened up about the bitter effect losing fights had on him.

Hatton’s first loss was against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December 2007.

The Mancunian, undefeated at the time, brought heaps of Hatton-obsessed fans with him to Las Vegas craving a win.

It was a fight that ended in a tenth-round stoppage due to TKO and encouraged the star to go into hiding.

He told the podcaster James English: “Sometimes I’d go weeks without seeing me mates, weeks without seeing me mates.

“Something in my head, paranoia in the back of my head was saying ‘I hope they don’t think I’m getting too big for my boots, I hope they don’t think I’ve forgotten about them, what might have changed, I hope they don’t think I’ve changed.

“So I found myself nipping down to see them and, ultimately whereby my first defeat came against Floyd Mayweather, I felt like I’d let everyone down. Something wasn’t quite there, you know.”

But it was the Pacquiao fight two years later that really drove him to despair.

“I got the chance to fight Manny Pacquiao again for the pound for pound number one.

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“So obviously when the Pacquiao fight came along that I got destroyed in two rounds in, then my confidence was down. My head was down. Ultimately, I had to retire then.

Hatton also admitted that on the outside he looked content but behind the scenes, at home, was in despair and even contemplating suicide.

He added: “I’d come home from the gym, train me lads, tell a few jokes, crack a few smiles.
“On the surface, Rick’s alright, then I’d come in here and just cry. Cry all day, cry all day.

“It’s pretty much the same routine every day and then sometimes I’d come in and get a knife out and just sit there with it by my wrist, just crying, cry and cry and cry, and be going ‘come on, come on’.”

For him, doing the fight with Berrera was an easy decision to make.

He described it as a “celebration of us coming out of Covid”, which he admitted has affected him personally, having “lost family due to mental health in Covid”.

Hatton is one of many elite athletes who have described mental health issues. Tyson Fury is another who has spoken regularly about struggling with depression.

One study by the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine looked at rates of depression in competitive athletes.

It found 34 percent of athletes met the criteria for depression, and 26 percent self-reported mild symptoms of depression.

The prevalence of depression doubled among the top 25 percent of athletes, and failure was significantly linked to the condition.

Depression is defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a persistent low mood or loss of pleasure in activities that normally give you pleasure.

The symptoms include having low self-esteem, feeling guilt-ridden and having no motivation or interest in things.

If you think you might be depressed or know somebody that is suffering from depression, it’s important to talk to people about it.

You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 and [email protected].

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