Ricky Hatton reveals how he overcame his fight with depression

Ricky Hatton's fight with depression: 'It's hard for a man to come out and say I'm crying all day' (2:24)

Ricky Hatton tells ESPN how his defeat with Floyd Mayweather started his battle with depression. (2:24)

British sporting hero Ricky Hatton may have made a career from fighting within a boxing ring but the biggest bout of his life appeared outside the ropes due to his struggles with depression.

Hatton, who is a former two-weight world champion, last boxed against Vyacheslav Senchenko in 2012 and while his final fight ended in defeat, he believes it signalled he had successfully beaten his personal demons outside the ring.

Upon his perfonal reflection on his illustrious career -- which saw him end with 45 wins and 3 losses -- the Manchester boxer stated that his Dec. 2007 defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. started his spiral downwards into depression.

"I think that was the start of it," Hatton exclusively told ESPN. "I think I always had it in my make-up because even as an amateur people were always talking about me having the potential to become a world champion and then when I first turned pro people would say 'oh this could be the next star!'

"I used to get paranoid on a regular basis when people started talking about me. Do they think I'm a little big head? Do they think I'm too big for my boots? Do they think I'm arrogant?

"If I walked down the street I thought people were looking at me thinking 'there's that little cocky so-and-so' which I never have been but in my mind that's how I felt.

"I think I always had it but then when the defeat came against Mayweather that's when it kicked off properly.

"I didn't go in there thinking I was lucky to get the biggest payday of my life and fight Floyd Mayweather. I went in there genuinely believing I was going to beat him

"I cancelled all my engagements and all my appearances [after the fight], I was so embarrassed."

Hatton soon returned to the ring after his Mayweather fight with an unanimous decision win over Juan Lazcano in May 2008 before beating Paulie Malignaggi in November. Things looked on the up.

However, another much-anticipated Las Vegas bout with Manny Pacquiao arrived in May 2009 which resulted in another knock out defeat which also had an effect on his mental well-being.

It took for his second child Millie to arrive for Hatton to finally take the steps needed to overcome his struggles outside the ring.

"My ex Jennifer at the time was dragging me through it. Things happen for a reason and we weren't planning for another baby me and Jennifer but Millie came along my first daughter.

"I held her in my arms and I just said 'listen, Rick, you've got to get yourself together not just for your own health but listen you've got another little baby here now, you've got to get yourself together'.

"I came to the conclusion I can't do it myself. I've got my little baby and I can't have this baby and think I can carry on and be able to sort this problem out by myself.

"Jennifer helped me. If Jennifer hadn't been there I would have been in a really bad place. I would have been on my own to be honest if I hadn't had Jennifer.

"I think when Millie came along though, I think somebody up there said you need something to focus on sunshine and that's what it did."

Hatton isn't the only professional boxer to have suffered from depression with Frank Bruno and more recently Tyson Fury also opening up publicly about their struggles.

And the Manchester fighter hopes that the trio's honesty can go a long way in helping other people with similar issues.

"I think me, Tyson [Fury] and Frank [Bruno] and a few other boxers coming out and saying it," Hatton said. "It's hard for a man to come out and say 'I'm crying all day me, please help me out here, I need help.'

"I think because a few of us have swallowed our prides. That's going to help not just boxers but people in general.

"I ended up going to speak to someone and getting it off my chest was the way forward for me. Then I started looking at myself and getting myself fit. I wasn't even thinking comeback, I was just thinking getting myself right for my family now and that was the start really.

"I had my comeback fight [against Senchenko], felt really proud of my career, fought my demons, got through them all, [but] you still have to find things to do to fill time."

And by managing a string of talented young boxers in his own gym, Hatton has no troubles filling his time these days...