AMID a flurry of PR fanfare and following a premiere in the city which forged the central protagonist, the feature-length documentary about British boxing icon Ricky Hatton was released.
Given its rich drama, propensity for scarcely believable back stories and – as Steve Bunce highlights during the flick – romance, the sport of boxing is manna from heaven for filmmakers.
But there is not a shadow of a doubt that in HATTON, director Dan Dewsbury has produced one of the best films of its kind for many years with this 90-minute-long run down of Hatton’s boxing life. This is very rich subject matter, pun intended, but Dewsbury and Noah Films no doubt did it justice.
Ok, full disclosure, for viewers of a certain age – like me – who grew up around the Hatton phenomenon, from the rise, through the Kostya Tszyu fight, to the Las Vegas heartbreak, this is an acutely glorious watch. Meanwhile, those with little or no reference point to the kid from the Hattersley Estate, are too served up one of the biggest rollercoaster-ride careers in modern British boxing.
A heady combination of old footage, which dates all the way back to the days of young Richard chinning equally youthful people in his amateur vest, spliced with modern day talking head interviews with the key figures from the story, not least Hatton himself, his mother, father and former fiancé, make this deeply watchable. To be honest, it’s worth sticking on for the soundtrack alone.
But the real star turn – and the jewel in the crown for this doc – is the contribution of Billy ‘The Preacher’ Graham. Of course there are clips of Graham from back in the day, the body belt, the cigarettes and the hand injections. But what elevates this piece of film is the perspective of Graham now, nearly 16 years on from his Team Hatton exit.
Often with such personal documentaries, some of the real nitty-gritty is extracted by request. But Hatton’s painful downward spiral in the wake of his defeats to both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, his lawsuit with Graham and the accusations of stealing by his father are all included here.
No film about Hatton, however, would be complete without the fights, the action and the knockouts. If nothing else, this beautifully nostalgic piece of film is a chance to relive just how thrilling Hatton was in his pomp. It is no coincidence that he truly transcended the sport in this country.
And with that in mind – and with a bit of a spoiler alert here – the line of the film, which comes at the very end, is delivered by Graham himself. After revealing that the misty-eyed view of Hatton as the people’s champ, jack-the-lad, down-the-pub actually annoys him, Graham says: “What people forget is… that he could fight like fuck.”
With the water of PED use in boxing growing seemingly murkier with every week in this sport, hearing a convicted cheat laying everything bare has probably never been more welcome.
Tris Dixon’s excellent Life Stories podcast brings in none other than former British heavyweight Larry Olubamiwo, who once admitted to taking 13 banned substances, including human growth hormone and anabolic steroids. In other words: heavy shit. And that’s what this podcast is packing too.
“I’d been on stuff from the start,” he tells Dixon casually before later explaining: “If you’re taking growth hormone it’s an everyday injection. EPO is an every-other-day injection. Then things like Dianabol, you’d take one or two pills a day. I was not on a lot of stuff but I used to try a lot of different things to see what would be best for me in my sport and my body.”
There is no doubt that PED usage is one of the biggest problems facing the sport today but a lack of basic knowledge is striking. Therefore this particular episode is essential listening, especially if you think doping is confined to a tiny group of super-rich athletes. Big Larry O will explain why that is simply not true.
Just another Monday in boxing. Within about 36 hours of steering Chris Eubank Jnr to the most significant win of his career, trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre was detained at Manchester Airport as he attempted to fly home.
The 53-year-old, who also trains pound-for-pound No.1 Terence Crawford, is said to have had a gun and ammunition in a checked suitcase, which was found during a routine scan. The Daily Mail’s Mike Keegan broke the story mid-morning on Monday, describing how armed police ‘descended’ on the departure lounge in order to detain BoMac.
The story developed throughout the day and by just after 1pm, the official website of the Greater Manchester Police had confirmed that McIntyre was charged with possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition for a firearm without a certificate. They also confirmed he attended Stockport Magistrates Court where he was further remanded in custody. He will now appear at Manchester Crown Court on October 9 for a pre-trial plea hearing.
It was reported that he had made no attempt to conceal the weapon and the whole situation begs the question: how did it get here in the first place? There are suggestions that McIntyre could face jail time which will have a dramatic butterfly effect on the likes of Crawford, who had been expected to face Errol Spence Jnr in a rematch following his conclusive win in their showdown in July.
Worrying times indeed for BoMac and his associates but the scenario conjures up the image of Uncle Avi in Snatch as he lands back on American soil and is asked ‘anything to declare?’
“Yeah,” Avi replies. “Don’t go to England.”