“I’ve done a lot of good things in boxing, my win over Kostya Tszyu, my fights in Las Vegas, but it’s up there with one of the best,” admitted Ricky Hatton amidst an ecstatic crowd.
This is how the 44-year-old former super-lightweight and welterweight world champion, also known as “The Hitman”, shared his thoughts after fighting eight exhibition rounds (2-minutes each) against Marco Antonio Barrera, Baby-Faced Assassin El Barreta El Baron, the Mexican boxing legend. People were on their toes, cheering for the Ricky Hatton vs Marco Antonio Barrera Exhibition Bout at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday, 12th of November.
Let’s look at their professional record side-by-side, courtesy BOX.LIVE.
Hatton closed the show inside a fully packed Manchester Arena after Natasha Jonas outclassed Marie-Eve Dicaire to add the IBF title to her middleweight belts, WBC and WBO juniors.
Back to Hatton, things were not quite the same ten years ago for the legend. Hatton’s last professional appearance ended in a heartbreaking loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko inside a sold-out Manchester Arena about a decade ago.
Showing up after a three-year hiatus following a crippling knockout by Manny Pacquiao, more was expected of Hatton that night as his career ended in a ninth-round knockout loss.
But this time, there was no danger, no pretense of a real return to sport. Just a final bow on his own turf to the people who have made his career so special and a chance to bring into the limelight the resilience he showed against a wave of mental health issues in the past few years.
Though Hatton relived his trademark ‘Blue Moon’ ring walk on a Zimmer frame, he definitely made it clear that he could still perform at a top level with his remarkable performance against the three-weight world champion.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) November 12, 2022
The 44-year-old, who had nearly lost four stone before the fight, and Mexican legend Barrera, 48, traded blows from the first round to the last in a no-holds-barred fight.
Watching them circle each other across the ring is also a reminder of how quickly life can slip away from you. It’s like yesterday watching Ricky Hatton stop Ray Oliveira in the 10th round to retain his WBU light welterweight title in 2004 at London’s ExCel Center.
Seeing your heroes disappear into the oblivion of the sunset is always too much to ask for (sigh). However, there were flurries and impressive reactions throughout the match.
Initially, it looked like both men were stuck in some kind of invisible web, unable and unwilling to throw what their fighting instincts told them. But the audience got what they were looking for soon after, cheering like crazy whenever they saw one launching at the other.
“I wondered how it was going to go, me and Marco are friends. “But with such a big crowd getting behind me, I wondered if it would get a bit heated. But it was good, entertaining, I think everything we wanted,” Hatton said after the match.
Hatton has always said that his greatest achievement throughout his career was the devoted fan base he had built up, and the roaring, cheering crowd showed this last Saturday. And while his return was appreciated, it was something he needed to do for himself more than anyone.
“I just fell to the edge of the world. I didn’t think I’d be here to fight again,” Hatton exclaimed anxiously to the media.
Although the duo wore RDX 16oz boxing gloves, this did not stop the fighters from landing big shots, one of which left Hatton with a bruise on the right thigh after the third round.
Despite not having a definite winner that night, boxing fans couldn’t care more because they were lucky enough to witness a great fight between two of the best fighters of yesteryears.
In fact, the night couldn’t have ended better, as there is talk of a possible rematch between Hayton and Mayweather, the guy who stopped Hatton in the 10th round of their last meeting in 2007.
Hatton hasn’t ruled out a return to the ring for an exhibition rematch at some point in the future. But for now, he just wants to bask in the glow of an unforgettable night, and well deservedly!
So, we conclude this Ricky Hatton vs Marco Antonio Barrera piece with Hatton’s own words,
“I would be an idiot to say no with how good it has been for me, but let’s just let me enjoy this one first.”
And, in the meanwhile, we leave you here with a glimpse of his evolution as a top level pugilist over the years.