Wed, Sep 15, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Boxer Ricky Hatton suffering from drink problem, depression

AFP, LONDON

Former world champion Ricky Hatton was diagnosed with depression and a drink problem by a specialist on Monday after a newspaper published video footage of the boxer allegedly snorting cocaine.

The News of the World secretly filmed Hatton, who has not fought since being knocked out in the second round of his showdown in May last year with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, supposedly using “industrial quantities” of the drug during a marathon 10-hour drinking session.

Hatton’s spokesman Max Clifford told the Press Association that Hatton’s father had already sought advice as he was worried by his son’s behavior.

“Ricky’s father has already been talking to the specialists over the last few weeks,” Clifford said. “He and others have been increasingly concerned about Ricky’s depression and his drinking.”

Clifford added: “He met with the specialist [on Monday] for four, five, six hours and he was told that his depression is severe and that he has a drink problem. The drugs are quite recent and not actually the problem when we’re talking about degrees.”

Hatton also faces a meeting with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) over the allegations.

Reports claim he could be suspended, fined or have his fight and promoters’ licenses withdrawn.

“The Board want to see Ricky at the earliest opportunity and discuss the issues raised in the press accounts,” BBBC chairman Charles Giles said.

The newspaper states the video footage was captured over several hours at a Manchester hotel two weeks ago while Hatton was on a night out with friend Emma Bowe, 29, the Irish national senior women’s boxing champion.

She told the paper Hatton also binged on drink by sinking 11 pints of Guinness, vodka, wine and sambuca during the night out.

“I’m only talking about this because Ricky is a danger to himself. If he carries on like this he’ll kill himself,” she is quoted as saying. “I’m really, really worried for him, especially if he tries to make a comeback in the ring as he’s hinted — he could have a heart attack.”

Hatton became a household name and huge favorite of boxing fans for his aggressive style and reputation as a ferocious body puncher, attributes that earned him the nickname “The Hitman.”

Although brutally outclassed by Pacquiao last year, Hatton has yet to confirm his retirement from the sport.

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