CAMPBELL HATTON’S breakthrough in the ring is helping iconic dad Ricky heal some of his deepest wounds.
Despite being a two-weight world champion who stayed true to his working-class roots, Hatton felt he let down his legions of fans in KO defeats to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
After overcoming depression and addiction problems he returned for one final 2012 fight, losing to Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Hatton Sr sobbed through his final post-fight interview: “I’m not a failure, I’m not a failure.”
Nobody ever thought he was. But 20-year-old son Campbell’s immense popularity, after just three pro fights, is reminding Ricky how much he is loved.
Ahead of Campbell’s clash with Sonni Martinez on the AJ vs Usyk undercard, Ricky remembered: “I didn’t handle my defeats well and they led to depression, addiction problems and suicide attempts.
“No matter how many people told me they loved me, I felt worthless. I felt I had let people down — but I had no idea how unwell I was.
“When I managed to come through all that and have a comeback fight, even though I lost, I felt I’d redeemed myself.
“Now I go to Manchester City games, the same spit ’n sawdust pubs I’ve always used, and I get young kids who never saw me live telling me they follow Campbell because they love me.
“At the last game I went to, there were lads in the pub with ‘Campbell’ on the back of their City shirts for me and him.
“Feeling the backing of the city of Manchester around him means so much to me but that’s what these people give back to you when you try your best and you stay true to your roots.
"I tear up when teenage lads tell me they missed my career but they still watch the old fights on Sky or YouTube and it makes them want to support my Campbell.
“It makes me so proud — and he deserves it, too.”
Campbell has shown brief glimpses of his immense promise on some high- pressure showings. They have included in Gibraltar, at Manchester Arena and in promoter Eddie Hearn’s Essex garden.
But the most encouraging signs are outside the ring where he is hyper-critical of his performances and steadfastly refusing to get carried away with the hype around him.
Ricky, 42, said: “We know his potential and how much more he has to show.
“It took me a long while to transfer all the good stuff I was doing in the gym into my fights but I didn’t have thousands of people watching me.
“All we want from him is steady progress. Me and his uncle and trainer Matthew will always find areas to improve on, because we would be letting him down if we weren’t.”
Campbell is following in the footsteps of second-generation fighters like Chris Eubank Jr and Nigel Benn’s son Conor.
Both have offered Campbell words of encouragement on his rocky road and Ricky is comforted that they have walked the path already.
He said: “Those two lads came through first and took some horrible abuse on social media.
“Comparisons with their dads and faceless criticism, so we knew what to expect — we knew what we would come up against.
“Thankfully most of the public feedback for Campbell is 90 per cent positive but you always get the odd d*******.
“But just look at where Chris and Conor are now, fighting for big titles and signing massive TV deals.
“So we know the path we’re on and we’re going to take our time making sure we do it the right way.”
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