Former two-weight world champion and fan’s favourite Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton has paid tribute to Scarborough’s Paul Ingle.
Ingle is set to be honoured at a benefit dinner in Hull on Friday May 10, and former light welterweight king Hatton has paid a glowing tribute to the man dubbed ‘The Yorkshire Hunter’ during his glittering career.
Speaking to The Scarborough News, Hatton said: “Paul was right up my street - all action, on the front foot and never in a dull fight.
“Paul was an exceptional talent. It is tragic in more ways than one what happened with him.
“There were some great boxers at his weight that he could have gone on to fight Marco Antonio Barrera for instance.
“I’m sure that we would have seen Paul’s name up there in lights on the Las Vegas strip.”
Like Ingle, Hatton was known to be very comfortable at dropping significant amounts of weight at the last minute in a camp - a trait that came back to haunt Ingle in the end.
Hatton now uses Ingle’s tragedy as an example to his stable of young fighters.
Hatton added: “I do think it caught up with Paul.
“I train boxers now and I tell them all that they can’t balloon up between fights like I did.
“It’s not good for you and it will catch up with you in the end unfortunately.”
When asked what his favourite Ingle fight was, Hatton added: “That’s a tough one as Paul was in some great fights.
“I think I would go for the Prince Naseem Hamed fight.
“He gave Naz a good run for his money when Naz was at his peak, but it’s a measure of Paul as a fighter that following the Naz fight he went on to win the world title against Manuel Medina.”
Hatton was in Scarborough in 2007 to attend Ingle’s benefit dinner at The Spa, and although he admits he didn’t know Ingle too well before that night, he says they have been in touch with each other since.
Hatton added: “Before the event I didn’t really know Paul that well.
“I knew that he was respected for his boxing achievements and in some way put Scarborough on the map.
“Nobody has a bad word to say about him.
“I have kept in touch since the event and Paul has been over to see me at my gym.
“He came over before the Pacquiao fight to offer his support.”
Hatton returned in 2001 to play in a charity football match at the Athletic Ground on Seamer Road (pictured right)
The Hitman is hoping this benefit dinner can help Ingle get back into the sport in some shape or form.
He added: “It would be great if we could see Paul back in boxing in some capacity, boxing is in his blood.”
Hatton added that unlike other sports, the boxing fraternity is fairly close-knit and that he is delighted they are coming together to support Ingle.”
“Boxing is like one big family and we tend to look after our own, so its no surprise that the boxing community are once again rallying round to support Paul.”