- Insider had five votes in the modern men’s category for the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
- Ricky Hatton received the first tick on our ballot, as we believe it’s time to enshrine the Brit.
- We also voted for Carl Froch, Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez, and Diego Corrales.
It’s time to induct Ricky Hatton into boxing’s international Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
Insider has a vote in the modern men’s category, and he earned the first tick on our ballot this year.
The swarming, body-punching pitbull was one of the most electrifying British boxers of all time, unifying the super lightweight division and scoring a notable win over Hall of Fame fighter Kostya Tszyu in 2005.
Hatton was a Guinness-drinking everyman, a blue-collar hero, and the perfect foil for the money-loving Floyd Mayweather — a first-ballot Hall of Famer — to play off of during the build-up to their historic 2007 bout.
The 44-year-old commanded a fervent, soccer-style fanbase in the UK because of his deprecating sense of humor and his magnetism as a people’s champion.
Hatton’s fans drank relentlessly, brought big drums into Las Vegas boxing venues, and chanted, “There’s only one … Ricky Hatton!” at the top of their lungs.
They told everyone who’d listen that they were “walking along, singing a song, walking in a Hatton wonderland.”
‘There was nothing like Ricky Hatton,’ Steve Farhood told Insider
While Hatton was beloved in Britain, he also made significant inroads in the American market and featured on ShoBox before booking boxing’s biggest bouts in the super lightweight and welterweight divisions.
“For atmosphere, there was nothing like Ricky Hatton,” boxing historian and Showtime analyst Steve Farhood told Insider recently, regarding the company’s ShoBox graduate.
“We introduced him to the American audience, and he was a big hit,” said Farhood. “For pure atmosphere, when ‘Blue Moon’ would play, I don’t think there’s anything like that.”
Hatton easily embodies the “international” and the “fame,” but, while he did not exhibit the defensive boxing wizardry of Pernell Whitaker, Hatton had all-time tenacity, heart, and cumulative bruising power. Together with his showmanship and popularity, he deserves to be inducted because of his fighting. He had that dog in him.
He finished Jose Luis Castillo with a fourth-round shot to the liver, overcame an early cut to knock out Carlos Maussa with a left hook in the ninth round, and battled through a cut that required 28 stitches to out-point Jon Thaxton.
Aside from an ill-advised comeback to Vyacheslav Senchenko in 2012, Hatton only lost to pound-for-pound superstars Mayweather, who was enshrined in Canastota’s boxing museum earlier this year, and Pacquiao, who is a lock when he’s eligible, too.
Hatton otherwise decisioned Luis Collazo in Boston, defeated Juan Urango in Las Vegas, and finished Paulie Malignaggi, too.
But, while Hatton was kind to boxing, his life after boxing was not as kind to him.
Longtime boxing writer Kevin Mitchell described the start of Hatton’s downfall for The Guardian in 2010 and observed that, according to “headline fodder” at the time, Hatton was “all of a sudden … a washed-up bum with a drug habit.”
Since hanging up his gloves, Hatton has reportedly suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, while battling addictions.
Mitchell wrote that Hatton would drink up to 20 pints of stout until he was black-out drunk. The boxer was caught on camera sniffing cocaine from the edge of a bar, according to now-shuttered tabloid News of the World, and he told the BBC in an interview in 2016 that he tried to kill himself “several times.”
After lengthy drinking sessions in the pub, Hatton would return home, take a knife from one of the kitchen drawers, and cry “hysterically” in the dark, he said.
Hatton, along with Frank Bruno, was one of the first boxers in Britain to openly talk about men’s mental health at a time when it was regarded as taboo.
Hatton and Bruno broke down barriers, which allowed athletes that followed, like Tyson Fury, to speak more freely about their own depression.
Hatton continues to operate in British boxing today, and was even in Fury’s corner for the first of the UK heavyweight’s three historic fights with American rival Deontay Wilder.
Making the Hall of Fame case for Carl Froch
International Boxing Hall of Fame voters ushered three of Britain’s modern-day great fighters into the Canastota museum grounds in recent years, including heavyweight king Lennox Lewis in 2009, undefeated two-weight world champion Joe Calzaghe in 2014, and freak puncher Prince Naseem Hamed in 2015.
That golden period for British boxers on the world stage crept through to Britain’s next era, and the Hall should now pay serious attention to the careers of Hatton, as well as his compatriot Carl Froch.
A teak-tough fighter, Froch never backed down from a challenge. He dominated the local, national, and Commonwealth scene as a champion of those regions for the first half of his career, stepped up to the world level by beating Jean Pascal in 2008, and then performed valiantly against the elite for the rest of his career.
After a come-from-behind win over Jermain Taylor, Froch entered the landmark Super Six World Boxing Classic in 2009 and ran a gauntlet.
He beat everyone he ever faced except recent Hall of Fame inductee Andre Ward. Froch edged Andre Dirrell, went 1-1 with Mikkel Kessler, and finished Lucian Bute — who was regarded as a killer at the time — with ease.
Froch finished his career on the highest of highs, beating George Groves somewhat controversially by knockout in 2013, before winning the rematch the following year to claim a 2-0 result in a hostile rivalry.
The last move Froch made exhibited his ring IQ as he knew if he tapped Groves on the side of the face with his left, his opponent would try a hook, leaving his skull open and vulnerable to a powerful right hand.
The shot dropped Groves in a vicious fashion.
Froch has intentionally become a parody of himself in the years since, as he’s seemingly used every opportunity — on TV or on social media — to remind everyone who’ll listen of what he did that night at London’s premier venue.
His speech at Canastota, should he get inducted, would no doubt include countless references to the time he knocked Groves out in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium. We’re ready to hear that speech one more time.
All-time great rivals Marquez and Vazquez should be inducted as a pair
The four-fight rivalry between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez, which ended 2-2, is one of the most important and entertaining boxing rivalries in the modern era, ranking alongside Arturo Gatti’s wars with Micky Ward, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera’s trilogy, and the four-fight series between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Rafael Marquez is a two-time world champion from two weight classes, and scored wins over Mark Johnson and Mauricio Pastrana. Vazquez, meanwhile, was a champion at super bantamweight for three separate reigns.
It is what they created together, though, in their fights from 2007 to 2010, that will stand the test of time.
Farhood once described the fights as “an explosion of artistic brutality,” as their first bout was voted fight of the year in 2007 and the rematch five months later contained a round of the year. The trilogy bout, in 2008, maintained that TV-friendly violence with another fight of the year winner.
As their careers are so entwined, it would be fitting for them to get voted into the Hall of Fame as a pair so that their fists get cast in bronze together.
It’s time to enshrine Diego Corrales
Diego Corrales’ 10th-round knockout win over Jose Luis Castillo, hailed as the best of the year in 2005, contained one of the most dramatic rounds in boxing history.
Castillo beat Corrales to the floor two times in Round 10. The referee deducted a point from Corrales for excessive spitting out of his mouth shield — a veteran’s move to buy more time when one is close to a loss — and boxing coach Joe Goossen, a renowned ‘say it like it is’ type of trainer, told his fighter that he had to “get inside of him now.”
Those few words seemed to resonate with Corrales as he came out the corner with rallying fists, dropping Castillo with a punch he later called “the perfect right hand,” to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He then swiftly finished his opponent to punctuate one of the most remarkable turnarounds combat sports has ever seen.
The mark Corrales made in that round, and in that fight, is immortal. And if he never did anything else in his career, it would still be enough to warrant inclusion in boxing’s Hall of Fame.
But Corrales, of course, had an entire career’s worth of highlights as a multiple-time world champion in two weight divisions, as a 45-fight pro, and for other historic bouts against Floyd Mayweather — which he lost — a trilogy with Joel Casamayor, and a victory over Acelino Freitas, who is also up for induction on this year’s ballot.
Corrales, like Hatton, Froch, Marquez, and Vazquez, should be enshrined permanently in the Hall of Fame.