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Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Sunday, 12 September 2010 16:14 UK

Ricky Hatton 'devastated' following cocaine claims

Ricky Hatton
Hatton was outclassed in his last fight, losing inside two rounds

Former world boxing champion Ricky Hatton is "distraught and devastated" after newspaper allegations of cocaine use, according to his spokesman.

The 31-year-old, who has not fought since May 2009, has recently hinted he is ready to retire as a fighter.

Responding to the News of the World article, Max Clifford told BBC Radio 5 live that Hatton "feels he's let everybody that matters down badly".

Clifford said Hatton had been urged by family and friends to go into rehab.

"He does recognise that he's in a bad way mentally and been in a bad place for some considerable time, a year or so," added Clifford.

"He needs to face it full on and show the courage he always did whenever he climbed into the ring.

"We all have to wait and watch and see what happens but what I'm hoping is that he tackles it with courage.

"I hope this will bring him to his senses and make him face up to a problem that has been concerning people for a while.

"I hope he can sort himself out and get himself clear because everyone knows that [with drug use] it's a one-way path."

A former two-weight world champion, Hatton has turned in part to promotional work since losing to Manny Pacquiao inside two rounds last year.

And Clifford suggested that moving out of the spotlight could have led to Hatton's alleged misdemeanour.

"I've worked with major stars for 45 years and suddenly, when you're not world champion, it can be very difficult to adjust," added Clifford.

"He's not blaming anyone else, but obviously we know how difficult it can be for people when they are not at the top any more.

"He's very upset and very down as you'd imagine. He said he feels he's let everyone down: himself, family, friends and the many fans who have been nothing but supportive.

"He is in a very bad place."

Since making his professional debut in 1997, Hatton has won 45 of 47 fights and Clifford suggested he would need those fighting qualities to see him through the current situation.

Hatton has never officially retired and has yet to definitely rule out a return to the ring.

However, on 2 September he gave his strongest indication yet that his fighting career was finished, telling BBC Manchester: "You can never say never, but if I was to put my last pound on it I would say 'no, I think that's me done'."

Hatton beat Tony Pep to win the WBU light-welterweight title in May 2001 and added the IBF crown by memorably stopping champion Kostya Tszyu in 2005.

He successfully moved up to welterweight, taking the WBA crown, but was outclassed by Floyd Mayweather in 2007 before being floored three times inside two rounds by Pacquiao.

see also
Hatton fighting career is 'done'
02 Sep 10 |  Boxing
Khan not ruling out Hatton fight
13 Aug 10 |  Boxing
Hatton rejects retirement claims
24 Mar 10 |  Boxing
Hatton dismisses health concerns
17 Jan 10 |  Boxing
Hatton to return to ring in 2010
10 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Hatton ponders Mayweather rematch
21 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Hatton undecided on boxing future
08 Jul 09 |  Boxing
Beaten Hatton to consider future
03 May 09 |  Boxing

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