Muhammad Ali Visits Ricky Hatton's Gym

A big photo op moment occurred yesterday in Manchester, England, as Muhammad Ali paid a visit to Ricky Hatton’s new gym in Hyde to promote his various charities. Hatton was there along with a throng of fans to greet The Greatest in a moment that was described by more than one headline this morning as “emotional.” ↵

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↵Most of the pieces written about this today have pointed out that Ali is looking very frail at the moment, which is indeed the case. He’s rarely on his feet anymore, usually seen in a wheelchair or a golf cart, although he did manage to walk into Hatton’s gym with some help from his wife, Lonnie. He also doesn’t speak anymore, either, and yet whenever this fact is mentioned anywhere in print, it is quickly followed by a reminder that “his eyes take in everything.” One wonders how we can be so sure of such a thing when the man himself is mute, but evidently it is important for us to believe that it is true. ↵

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↵What struck me in the pictures from this event, however, wasn’t the deteriorating condition of Ali but the inflating condition of one Ricky Fatton, a.k.a. The Fat Man. It appears as if our Ricky is making quite a move at living up to his comic alter-ego. He’s famous for putting on weight between his fights, a fact usually ascribed to his customary King-of-the-Pub diet of lager and fried fish. ↵

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↵That said, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Hatton looking so bloated before. For a man who steps into the ring at 140 pounds, by the look of him right now in these photos, I’d guess he’s pushing 180 or thereabouts. ↵

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↵Just about everyone in the world who has any Q rating at junior welterweight these days seems to be craving a big fight with Hatton in England, from Juan Diaz to Timothy Bradley to Amir Khan. And one can easily see why. Hatton is damaged goods at the moment, coming off a crushing knockout at the hands of Manny Pacquiao and then a stay in the hospital for some undisclosed digestive ailment. And now he looks like he’s blown up to become a 5’6” light heavyweight who’s almost as wide as he is tall. There were rumors a few months ago that Freddie Roach might train Hatton in the future, but then Freddie went on record as saying that he wasn’t interested because he thought Hatton should retire. Allow me to wholeheartedly second that opinion. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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