Two of the most celebrated boxing figures of the 2000s will swap punches in the ring later this summer.
Following on the recent craze for showcase bouts between retired veterans, Ricky Hatton will take on Marco Antonio Barrera in an exhibition bout on June 2 at AO Arena in Hatton’s hometown of Manchester, England.
The fight, which was first reported back in February, was formally announced by Hatton on Thursday on his social media.
"I can confirm my return to the ring," Hatton wrote in a Twitter post. "Join me for a huge party night - with top music acts - in Manchester on July 2. #HitmanRises…It's not how you fall, it's how you rise..."
Hatton, 43, won titles in two divisions and was the darling of the British boxing world throughout the aughts. Barrera, 48, collected titles across three divisions, and like Hatton, was much admired in his native homeland of Mexico.
Sky Sports reports that Hatton-Barrera will be capped at eight rounds. It is not clear what weight they will fight at.
This will be the first time that Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs) has entered the ring since he retired in 2012, when he was knocked out by Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Senchenko with a body shot in the ninth round of a welterweight bout. Prior to that bout, Hatton was coming off a three-year hiatus after suffering a brutal stoppage by Manny Pacquiao in 2009. In 2007, Hatton was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the 10th round.
Barrera (67-7, 44 KOs), on the other hand, is no stranger to exhibition bouts, having taken on both Daniel Ponce de Leon and Jesus Soto Karass last year. Barrera is best known for his legendary showdowns with Erik Morales, Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Naseem Hamed. Barrera’s last professional bout took place in 2011, when he delivered a second-round technical knockout of Jose Arias.
In an Instagram post, Hatton, who has had troubling stints with depression since his retirement, said he is gloving up again for mental health reasons.
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you can’t do,” Hatton wrote. “With mental health your head hears things such as this constantly. You can’t do this, you can’t do that, nobody loves me, I’m useless, I’ve had enough, I want to give up, etc etc.
“I was in that place several years back. Well I changed my way of thinking and my attitude. I had to be positive in everything I did, as a father, a grandfather, a son, a boxing trainer. AS A MAN. In doing that I’m in a position come July 2nd to show everyone what you can do & how you can put your life back on track if you live by them rules, take them steps & make the changes needed.
“You can come out of the darkness into...the light. Let’s be positive. If you don’t believe me wait & see the show me & [Barrera] are gonna put on for you July 2nd. We’re retired not dead. I still have dreams, I’m living them. It’s not how you fall it’s how you rise that defines us.”
A Hatton-Barrera exhibition follows the recent trend of retired boxers returning to the ring. Most famously, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. engaged in an eight-round heavyweight exhibition match on Nov. 28, 2020 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. While that fight was well received by the public, there have been less than savory incidents as well. An exhibition bout between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort (marketed deceptively as a professional bout) last year was regarded as an embarrassing flop.
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