ON THIS DAY IN 2003: RICKY HATTON BEATS ALDO RIOS IN MANCHESTER
On the face of it, Ricky Hatton’s successful 10th defence of his WBU light-welterweight title against Aldo Rios in Manchester was a relatively routine affair.
Rios hung around longer than expected against the home favourite, but scarcely provided any problems before he retired on his stool at the end of the ninth round.
“I thought he was going to be there for the full duration,” admitted Hatton. “He was unbelievably tough. A lot of people were not giving him the respect he deserves.”
Hatton’s 33rd straight professional win proved an important staging post as he looked to cement his status among the world’s best fighters in his weight division.
Just three months later he returned to the ring to beat the tough Ghanaian Ben Tackie on points in a contest intended to hammer out a statement of intent.
Tackie had stretched unified champion Kostya Tszyu to points the previous year, and the message was clear that the 24-year-old Hatton was now ready to step up to the top level.
After four more wins, Hatton finally got his wish in June 2005 when he dethroned Tszyu in the early hours of an unforgettable night in Manchester.