Boxer Ricky Hatton talks about his depression
By William Smith
The mental health of sportsmen is in the spotlight again. Ricky Hatton once had great hopes of becoming the world’s top light-welterweight boxer. In 2009 he entered the ring to fight Manny Pacquiao with determination and ambition.
Hatton’s hopes were dashed when he was knocked down three times in two rounds by the Filipino and lost the fight. It now appears that this defeat led to a downward spiral which took Hatton to the biggest fight of his life.
Hatton, from Manchester, spoke openly about his depression and alcohol and drugs abuse in a recent interview with the BBC.
‘I was so down. I was crying and breaking out and contemplating suicide,’ Hatton said.
‘I was going deeper and deeper into depression. I was going out and having a few drinks. The worst thing you can do with depression is add alcohol to it.’
‘I needed something to get my backside into gear and pull my finger out. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to think – ‘Blimey Ricky, get a grip.’
‘Depression is a serious thing and, after my defeat to Manny Pacquiao, I contemplated retirement and didn’t cope with it very well.’
It was over two years later that Hatton did formally announce his retirement in July of this year, but Hatton has never stepped into the ring again since that Pacquiao fight.
The News of the World filmed Ricky Hatton about a year ago. The 32-year-old was taking cocaine. In his BBC interview Ricky talks about the aftermath of this as he realises the scale of his problems.
‘For someone in my position taking drugs one is nothing short of disgraceful. The reason behind my actions and the way I was behaving wasn’t a drink and drugs thing, it was depression,’ Hatton said.
‘Half the things I was doing I didn’t even read about in the paper. I can’t even remember the night it happened, that’s what depression does to you.’
‘I was having blackouts, days on end whether I was drinking or not when I couldn’t remember what had happened in my life. I thank the News of the World because who knows where it could have ended up.’
Following the News of the World revelations, Hatton went into a rehabilitation centre. Today he believes that he is coming to terms with his depression and now owns a promotion company called ‘Hatton Boxing’.
Hatton said ‘A lot of people say – ‘I’ve tried committing suicide’ – but there is saying it and doing it and it was coming on a regular basis.’
‘Depression is a very serious thing. People don’t raise how deadly it can be,’ Hatton concluded.
The mental health of athletes has been highlighted in many reports in recent times. The pressure that is put on sportsmen to succeed is causing concerns across the world of sport. Mental Healthy published a comprehensive article on this subject which you can read here.
Picture taken from BBC Ricky Hatton's career in pictures, see more here