Hatton's debut fight was on 10 September 1997 against Colin McAuley in Widnes at Kingsway Leisure Centre (he won by a KO in 1), while in his second fight Hatton boxed at Madison Square Garden in New York.
On 5 June 2005 Hatton beat Kostya Tszyu, then widely regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world by a technical knockout after the Australian failed to answer the bell for the 12th round. Hatton was a heavy underdog for this fight, and the victory announced his entry to the upper echelons of the world boxing scene. Prior to the fight the majority of boxing critics had given Hatton little or no chance and this victory was regarded as one of the best victories by an English boxer in the last 20 years. On 26 November 2005 Hatton won the WBA title when he defeated Carlos Maussa in the ninth round of a unification bout. In December, Hatton was named the 2005 Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year.
Hatton relinquished his IBF belt on 29 March, 2006 after refusing to fulfil a mandatory defence against number one contender Naoufel Ben Rabah, because he intended to move up to the welterweight class. Hatton signed a three fight contract with Dennis Hobson's fight academy after splitting from long time promoter Frank Warren. The three fights would take place in the United States.
Moving to Welterweight
Hatton moved up a division to meet American Luis Collazo for the WBA Welterweight crown which took place on 13 May 2006. Hatton won the WBA crown from Collazo but struggled with Collazo's slick south-paw style and the extra weight. Hatton started well, knocking Collazo down in the very first few seconds of the first round, but it turned out to be one of the toughest fights of his career, with some boxing analysts believing Collazo won the fight, although many also thought Hatton had done enough early on in the fight to secure victory, with the knock down a pivotal point in the fight.
Back to Light Welterweight
Hatton's first fight back at Light Welterweight was against the current IBF Light Welterweight Champion Juan Urango on January 20, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hatton's promoter Dennis Hobson stated that the impetus for moving back down was to set up a fight with Jose Luis Castillo, a fighter who nearly beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. at Lightweight in 2002.
Hatton ended up winning a 12 round unanimous decision against Urango, to re-capture the unified IBF and IBO Light Welterweight titles. He won all but one round on all three judges' scorecards. Castillo, who was on the undercard, also won (via split decision), setting up their long-awaited fight.
Hatton was forced to relinquish his IBF title again on 10 February, to be able to fight Castillo. The fight was held on Saturday, June 23, 2007, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In round four, Hatton landed a "perfect" left hook to the liver, which put Castillo to the canvas. Ricky later claimed that 4 of Castillo's ribs were broken with this one punch. Unable to stand up, Castillo was counted out for the first time in his career.
Return to Welterweight
Hatton vs. Mayweather Jr.
Press Conference in NYCHatton agreed to terms on Friday July 27, for a December 8, 2007 welterweight fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr which was considered to be the biggest welterweight fight since the 1999 clash between Oscar de la Hoya and Puerto Rican legend Felix 'Tito' Trinidad. The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was announced as the venue on August 17, 2007. The fight was agreed to less than three months after Mayweather had said he planned to retire following a victory over Oscar De La Hoya.
Hatton was able to bring the fight to Mayweather in the early rounds. In the 1st round Hatton caught Mayweather with a left jab which knocked Mayweather off balance. His constant pressure appeared to make Mayweather uncomfortable at first. In the third round, Mayweather landed a right that cut Hatton above the right eye. In round six, referee Joe Cortez took a point away from Hatton after he appeared to hit Mayweather on the back of the head while Mayweather was rested between the ropes. However, the punch was revealed to have hit the rope rather than Mayweather's head but Hatton was warned for punching behind the head on numerous occasions before the deduction. Hatton became angry at the referee's decision to deduct a point from him and turned his back on him in frustration. Hatton would later claim that he had become angry by the referee and that had caused him to lose his calm and contributed to his downfall. Hatton was able to hold his own, until round eight, when Mayweather began to adapt to Hatton and started counterattacking. Mayweather knocked Hatton to the mat in Round 10. Hatton got up, but Mayweather quickly resumed his attack, resulting in Joe Cortez putting a stop to the fight, and Hatton's corner threw in the towel. Mayweather commented post-match that "Ricky Hatton is one tough fighter. He is still a champion in my eyes and I'd love to see him fight again. "Ricky Hatton is probably one of toughest competitors I've faced. I hit him with some big ones but he kept coming and I can see why they call him the 'Hitman'." The fight received large amounts of publicity, with both fighters promoting the fight heavily.
Hatton vs. Mayweather Jr took place in Las Vegas in 2007 Floyd was
reported as saying "Ricky Hatton is one tough fighter"
Back at Light Welterweight
Hatton vs. Lazcano
On 24 May 2008, Hatton beat Mexican Juan Lazcano by unanimous decision with scores of 120-110, 120-108 and 118-110, in front of his home crowd of 55,000 (a post-World War II record for a boxing match in Britain), at City of Manchester Stadium to retain The Ring Magazine and IBO light welterweight titles. Hatton did well when he boxed and controlled the range, utilizing his jab and dominating a lot of the early exchanges. In round eight, Hatton absorbed a left hook to the chin that wobbled him, and in round ten, Hatton was hurt again by a left hook. Despite that, Hatton outworked Lazcano to win at least ten of the rounds.
Hatton vs. Malignaggi
Ricky Hatton fought Paulie Malignaggi of the United States at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on 22 November for Hatton's IBO Light Welterweight title and Ring Magazine Light welterweight title. He was trained for the fight by Floyd Mayweather, Sr.. Hatton dominated for all of the fight and defeated Malignaggi by 11th-round TKO when Malignaggi's trainer, Buddy McGirt, threw in the towel 48 seconds into the round.