The implosion of a wounded soul: a review of Hatton on Sky Documentaries

The implosion of a wounded soul: a review of Hatton on Sky Documentaries

From London to Las Vegas, thousands of fans followed him wherever he competed, and he soon established himself as boxing’s man of the people. With rumors of wild parties held in between battles and training sessions as well as his ballooning weight, they warmed even more to him.

It earned him the nickname “Ricky Fatton” from his adversaries, but he seemed to relish it—at least on the outside. Hatton was never the same in the ring again following his first defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr., albeit his life was already starting to fall apart at that point.
His life went out of control after that. I recall listening intently as he described holding a knife to his wrists and getting ready to commit suicide when we were seated in a gym in Manchester. He was never quite able to follow through.

Despite the fact that part of that is well known, Sky’s new documentary Hatton explores the specifics of the boxer’s personal implosion and the ensuing conflicts with family and friends.

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What filmmaker Dan Deswbury excels at is using both Hatton’s account of what happened and the accounts of those most impacted by it to revisit the terrible circumstance in which he found himself involved. The second father and previous trainer of Hatton, Billy Graham, whose connection with the boxer ended so bitterly that it went to court, is the focus of the movie.

Graham, who is in a remote area, gave Dewsbury the sternest warning to leave when he initially knocked on his door. Unfazed, he kept going back until he ultimately secured Graham’s consent to participate.

/ Sky Billy Graham at Riverside

The documentary reveals that Hatton is not the only one with a torturous soul. Graham explains with a gravelly voice and in between puffs of a cigarette that the breakup following that first professional defeat clearly still has an affect on his own life.

Jennifer Dooley, the former boxer’s ex-fiancée, is almost as fascinating, recalling the worst times of their relationship and the dawning realization that she would not be able to save Hatton from the grip of his inner demons or save him from the verge of excessive drinking and drug use. According to her, “I was leaving when he needed me, but it was a choice between peace or chaos, and I couldn’t choose chaos anymore.”
The key characters in the movie, including Hatton’s parents Ray and Carol—from whom he was alienated for eight years following a dispute over their son’s financial affairs—at times seem to be in counseling sessions. It doesn’t totally address the issue, but that is not the fault of the program’s creators: although there are still unresolved difficulties, Hatton seems to have chosen that family comes first over any previous disagreements.

This must be unpleasant to watch for all of the major participants. As you watch it, you can’t help but wish that they’ve all found peace or will be able to in the future. Hatton, who always believed that as a man, he had to deal with his emotions alone, speaks to a group of supporters in Manchester and encourages them to get treatment if they experience any mental health problems.

You’re left with the hope that Dewsbury’s movie would somehow mend Hatton and Graham’s friendship after it was so quickly and tragically destroyed.

Beginning on August 31, Hatton will air on Sky Documentaries.

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