Newest Review: ... grow up winning titles at all levels until Hatton becomes professional, then it gets interesting. I found the early life of Hatton inte... more
The Hitman: My Story - Ricky Hatton
Member Name: thedevilinme
The Hitman: My Story - Ricky Hatton
Date: 31/07/08, updated on 16/09/10 (137 review reads)
Advantages: Easy read
Disadvantages: All good and no bad
Ricky Hatton, apparently, is going to be a stand-up comedian! The likeable 'Mancunian world boxing champion is now contemplating life after the ring, hoping to try show businesses ,booking theaters around the country for 2010. After splitting with his long time trainer he's has made the papers for all the wrong reasons of late, preferring to tell jokes than crunch ribs in front of drunken punters these days. He's already a popular after dinner speaker and I saw him do a meal in Northampton and he was very warm and funny. The room was packed and at £25 a ticket I can see his point. He is a humorous guy in that self-deprecating way we love and has lots of stories to tell. But the cocaine and boozing stories have exposed the real after fight life of a fighter and I think its rather silly to make more of that. He is a boxer and so lives the hard life in and out off the ring. Boxers are not meant to be role models.
What's wonderful about Ricky Hatton is he has always known his own limitations and really is the man you see on the box, wearing his heart on his sleeve and his nose on the back of his head. Everytime he gets punched in the hea dnow it will be like Quentin Crisp applying his compact! He's a simple guy from good North West working - class stock that's always destined for boxing or the armed forces.
Ricky loves to remind us on telly and in the magazines that he's down-to-earth and he's the salt of the earth from good Manchester pikey stock but, alas, spends half the bloody book doing it, which does get a bit wearing here. But with a face like Ricky's it's hard to have any pretensions and airs and graces about oneselfyou can only really write an honest book to be taken seriously.
The book begins with Ricky's career defining victory over Kostya Tsyo, the then undefeated light welterweight champion of the world, seen as the best pound for pound fighter out there. It was Hatton's 40th victory at an impressive 26 years young and also the 40th fight where Ricky would be straight on the drink soon after the match to celebrate, a 'shit shirt 'competition no less called for in the early hours, one of many laddish traditions he refuses to give up to retain his man of the people cred. It was an extraordinary fight and win for the Hattersley boy and earned him the Ring Magazine Fighter of the year award. No other British fighter had received that honor from the American boxing bible in its 60 year history.
The second biggest victory for Ricky was that of the one over his previous promoter in Frank Warren, Mr. Boxing, the guy who makes the best fighters in Britain, but milks them like a goat having them knock bums out to boost his and not the fighter's bank-balance so much. It had worked with Joe Calzaghe for twenty years so why not the likes of Hatton, Calzaghe only recently having the freedom to fight in America after those two decades. Warren is only interested in 'undefeated' world champions'. Ricky won his career defining fight, of course, but his career is probably worse off without Frank, whether he will admit that or not. The book goes into how fighters get paid and how it breaks down and how the promoters have to lay out big to get fights on, something Ricky and the people around him perhaps don't grasp and vector into their paycheques.
The early years...
There's not much point in me telling you about his upbringing as its so predictable, little Ricky getting into fights in the playground, soon taking out that aggression in the local gym, his family also having boxing in their blood, his older brother Mathew a fighter of repute who has thought on Ricky's under card in America.
Born in 1978, he showed early signs of his naughtiness in the womb, refusing to come out so extracted with the thongs by his big ears like a pickle, weighing in at 9lbs. Growing up as a Bruce Lee fan, its was kickboxing that first introduced him to pugilism. His dad briefly played for Manchester City and his mom was also athletic, so naturally the boys emanated away from education and towards sport.
After an impressive amateur career, including the world championships in Cuba, his first paid £750 in Widness, where he was a 'floater', a guy that waits around at the venue to fill in when a fight finishes early or someone drops out. It was here the famous 'Hitman' body shot was deployed. He would soon shoot up the pro rankings like he did the amateurs, knocking out an Italian called Laura for the Intercontinental Belt ,bagging the British Championship soon after. But as he never defended either title they were lost, no Lonsdale belt either, only awarded to British champions who defend their title three times. But there's no money in the domestic pro circuit and so foreign fighters beckoned.
Its here in the book that Ricky begins to interpolate his comments on other people in the fight game, especially on the likes of Amir Khan, who he rates highly but feels the guy is along way off being world champion. Although Amir won silver in the Olympics, Ricky points out that Olympic glory is not the route to professional glory, only three British gold medalists going on to win proper world professional titles.
Ricky would defend his WBU belt 16 times after beating Tony Pep for it; one of the new federations bought about in Europe so promoters could put on more fights, especially guys like Frank Warren who had no real clout in America. The WBU belt allows for Warren and the like to put his guys in against average fighters to milk them for all they are worth, Hatton's biggest complaint against him (a apart from disputer pay packets). Long gone are the days of eight weights and eight world titles.
But Ricky's career could have been curtailed, the light welterweight cutting badly. It's revealed that the eye damage was mainly because Vaseline had got into previous cuts and hardened and blackened up, meaning any average blow to the head was splitting the eye area. A plastic surgeon fixed him up and Ricky began to chase the big fights, this being where the Warren/Hatton thing really begins to break down in the book. Kostya Tzyo and Mayweather were not the sort of fighters Warren wanted near his 'investment' just yet.
The book has a lighter side too, Ricky more than keen to reveal his after fight activities, that inevitably involving booze, girls and clowning around with the lads. He tells little stories that are not exactly complimentary to his intelligence levels, again endearing himself to the reader. One story goes that he had a real chance to get off with a girl he really likes, she, after a few drinks, suggesting he goes to the toilet to get what was required from the vending machine. There were three vending machines, one selling toothbrushes, another mints and the third the condom machine. Ricky arrived at the bird's house and seductively pulled out a packet of mints! At least she got a fresh snog.
Some of you may know that Hatton is also the proud owner of Del Boys iconic yellow Reliant three-wheeler and camel coat, both parked in Ricky's garage, the boxer proudly driving it around Manchester's urban streets. We also learn Ricky is also scared of cats.
This is the sort of 'lad's mag' read you would see in HMV or airports for £5.99. It's an easy read from an easy going guy, an honest account of a brainless but likeable boxer being the best at what he does, respecting those around him in the book, especially family and friends, which is gently heartwarming when you consider the brutality of the sport. He doesn't want you to know about the naughty things he has done in his life. But as yet no one seems to have a bad word about him.
There are humorous bits here too mixed in around the detail on his big fights and its not one of those name dropping reads either. Ricky is big mates with the likes of Wayne Rooney and other footballers in the NW but he is a big Man City fan as Rooney is a big boxing fan, so reciprocal...I believe Wayne Rooney carried in Ricky's belt at the Vegas/Castillo fight.
At 300 pages and reasonably short chapters with nothing remotely intellectual about the book it is that ideal holiday read. I would say it loses star for Ricky for not adding more anecdotes in on the darker side of the sport he feels the likes of Warren ripped him off on, although the fact Frank has great lawyers then maybe that's why. Boxing is a dark and corrupt sport and none of that comes through in the book and so conspicuous by its absence, Ricky perhaps using his first memoir as more everybody loves Ricky propaganda.
Summary: An honest account
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