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Sunday, May 3, 2009


HE has been one of Britain’s most successful sportsmen for years.

But for Ricky Hatton’s fiancee Jennifer Dooley, the pain of seeing her man defeated and lying unconscious in a boxing ring was too much.

The glamorous blonde – known as Ricky’s Rock – let out an ear-piercing scream just seconds earlier as she watched Hatton fall for the third and final time in his short fight against Filipino Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night.

For three agonising minutes, the former college lecturer slumped forward weeping as the Mancunian lay sprawled on the canvas before medics revived him.

The 30-year-old was comforted by Jenna Coyne, girlfriend of Hatton’s younger brother Matthew – who had earlier won his fight at the same venue – after seeing the British world champion knocked out in the second round.

Beside them, Hatton’s mother Carol turned away unable to look on as the medical team worked away.

Pacquiao, known as Pac Man, felled “The Hitman” with a brutally quick left hook to the chin 15 seconds before the end of the second round of their IBO world light-welterweight title fight.

Seeing holder Hatton fall unconscious even before he hit the canvas, left referee Kenny Bayless no option but to stop the fight instantly. He was twice felled in the previous round.

Hatton, 30, was helped back to his corner before being taken to hospital for a precautionary check. He landed just 18 punches against Pacquiao’s 73.

It was a star-studded affair at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the fight dubbed “The Battle of East and West”.

Many celebrities, including Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington and British boxer Amir Khan, were ringside. Comedian Russell Brand sat next to rap mogul P. Diddy and they were later joined by superstar rapper Jay Z.

Singer Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary last week, saw Hatton’s defeat, as well as Welsh crooner Tom Jones who sang the national anthem. Chelsea footballer Joe Cole and girlfriend Carly Zucker were also spotted.

The knockout, only the second in his 47-fight professional career, left many in the sport, including his trainer, urging him to hang up his gloves.

His father Ray, also ringside, said his son was “perfectly all right” after hospital checks. But he admitted his long-term future was now in doubt.

“Obviously we will support him in whatever he does,” he said. “And we’ll leave that with him. At this moment he’s probably got a few mixed feelings.

“He’ll make that decision whichever way he wants to and the family will support him. I don’t think he would let anybody make that decision for him.”


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