''David Haye Should Fight On To Secure His Legacy'' Says Ricky Hatton

Former triple world champion Hatton tells Haye ''Give it one last go!''

One of the most popular and successful British fighters of all time has urged former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye to renege on his decision to retire on his 31st birthday this Thursday and instead pursue either a rematch with WBO/WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko, or a fight WBC kingpin Vitali Klitschko.

Despite pre-fight boasts that he would knock out Wladimir Klitschko in style when the two met in July of this year in Germany, Haye fought a cautious, ultra-defensive fight that resulted in him losing a one-sided decision, and drew derision from the thousands at ringside, and the millions who had bought the fight on Sky Box-Office.

But former two-time IBF light welterweight and WBA welterweight champ Hatton believes Haye should reconsider his decision to quit the ring:

''He will be the first to admit he is better than his last performance against Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko.'' Hatton said in an interview this week. ''And I have a feeling in my water he might yet give it one last go. Look at my career. I had a few ding-dongs and a few heavy defeats. I had to drag my a*** off the floor and come back again but David has not had that gruelling a career.''

Hatton has not fought since he was knocked cold in two rounds by current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao in May 2009. The loss sent Hatton into a spiral of deep depression, and he has since admitted that during this time he considered committing suicide. Soon after came revelations of drug taking and binge drinking, but Hatton has since turned his life around and established himself as one of the top promoters in Britain, looking after the interests of fighters of the caliber of Gary Buckland, Ashley 
Theophane, Rendall Munroe, Ryan Rhodes, Anthony Crolla and his own brother Matthew Hatton among others. 

Despite his current success, Hatton is still haunted by his last fight against Pacquiao:

''His last fight is how most people will remember him, just as people remember me for mine — getting knocked out by Manny Pacquiao. For David, it was the night he came second to Klitschko and the manner of his defeat. That is why I believe Haye should fight on, to set the record straight — but I totally respect the decision he has come to.''

Hatton toyed with the idea of making a comeback, even considering a mega-fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2010. Ironically, De La Hoya himself spent time in rehab this year for his own drink and drug issues. Hatton, who retired officially in July, announced this week of his intention to return to the ring – as a trainer. He has taken out a trainer's license, and will work his first corner this November. He claims that working as a trainer has given him the most happiness and satisfaction he has felt since his fighting days.

''There are boxers who wish they hadn't boxed on but David appears to be one of the sensible ones. I knew after losing to Pacman that my hunger had gone. There were too many miles on my clock because I'd been fighting for so many years. Kids dream of what David has done but he has made those dreams a reality. We will have to wait and see with him because there is always one more pay-day. I was getting loads of offers to come back but I refused them all and, just because David said he won't be renewing his fight licence, doesn't mean he can't return. But you can't knock him for walking away because he has achieved so much.''

In an era of overly cautious heavyweights like the Klitschko brothers, David Haye was a breath of fresh air when he brought his all-action style up to heavyweight  in 2008, after unifying the cruiserweight divsion with a two round KO of Enzo Maccarinelli at the O2 Arena. After winning the WBA crown from the 7' 2'' Russian Nikolay Valuev in 2009, Haye bludgeoned former two-time WBA champ John Ruiz to defeat in nine wildly exciting rounds, then scared the daylights out of Audley Harrison before ending their ''fight'' in the third round.

Many, including this writer, believed that Haye would knock out Wladimir Klitschko when the two met, yet Haye rarely attempted anything approaching a sustained attack throughout the fight. If he stays retired, he will bow out with a record of 25 wins against two losses, with 23 knockouts – the second highest knockout ratio of any heavyweight champion in history behind Vitali Klitschko. 

''There haven't been many British heavyweights who've won the world title but Haye is one of the most exciting if not THE most exciting. He reignited the heavyweight division — a big puncher who went for the knockouts. That style was right up my street. All the credit in the world to him for sticking to his guns over his retirement, he has done exactly what he set out to do. But come on David, one more time please!''
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''David Haye Should Fight On To Secure His Legacy'' Says Ricky Hatton

Former triple world champion Hatton tells Haye ''Give it one last go!''

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