While it’s often true that the higher the climb, the harder the fall, it is also true that the true sign of a warrior is ultimately getting up and back on track. For some fighters, there is no turning back after a loss. Be it the physical or mental implications of the loss, once a fighter is faced with that critical moment and its aftermath, they are unable to deal with their newly discovered sense of mortality and never recapture that form again.
These are four fighters who couldn’t recover from such losses.
As much as it pains me to say this, there actually was a time where people said Cris Arreola had the potential to be a Heavyweight champion and kept a straight face the whole time. Though Arreola had already begun to show the charateristics that would turn the above statement into a joke, mainly his lack of dedication and focus, things really fell apart when Arreola was rushed far too quick into title contention against Vitali Klitschko.
After Klitschko beat the brakes off of him, Arreola somehow managed to remain near the top of the division for close to a decade though he consistently lost to the best fighters he fought along the way like Tomasz Adamek, Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder. After Wilder stopped him last year, it seemed to be the end of the line for a fighter who had been on the decline since the night Klitschko battered him.
The original Al Haymon experiment, Andre Berto won his first world title by rapidly climbing up the WBC rankings at Welterweight beating nobody of interest right up until he won his first world title. Though many already saw Berto as the weak link in a historically stacked Welterweight division at the time, nobody would have thought how far he was going to fall after taking his first loss against Victor Ortiz.
After the Ortiz loss, Berto was suspended for traces of a banned substance which cost him his rematch against Ortiz and went on to get brutally beaten in wars against Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass that left him a shell of his former self. Berto has gone 4-4 since the Ortiz fight taking more beatings along the way in victory and defeat, and is in a do or die match against a fighter with similar circumstances in Devon Alexander next month.
There was no mountain high enough to climb for Jeff Lacy, or at least that is what we were lead to believe. The American showed all kinds of signs that pointed to greatness in his talent and execution, but all he needed to do to wrap it up was win his first world title at the expense of a long-reigning, but lightly regarded Super Middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe and the rest was history.
Calzaghe put on a historic beating to the young American and changed the course of his career for as long as it lasted. Lacy could not get back in winning form again, often looking unimpressive in victory and hopelessly outclassed in defeat. Lacy was 21-0 before Calzaghe and went 6-6 after him, retiring in 2015 after a fourth round TKO loss to Sullivan Barrera.
Though Ricky Hatton became a beloved and popular figure during his heyday over a decade ago, Hatton’s peak and his drastic fall were separated by only a period of roughly 18 months. The British bruiser had won titles in two weight classes and had doggedly pursued Floyd Mayweather for a megafight that eventually materialized in 2007 for Mayweather’s Welterweight title. When Mayweather dominated and knocked Hatton out in their clash, Hatton was never able to recover.
A comeback fight against the freshly unretired Juan Lazcano would have ended in calamity if not for a referee gaffe allowing Hatton more time to recover from a knockdown that he would have been counted out in any other circumstance. Though he regained a Junior Welterweight title against Paulie Malignaggi in 2008, he’d be crushed inside two rounds against Manny Pacquiao before ultimately calling it quits. Hatton’s struggles outside the ring were highlighted by massive weight gain and drug abuse, which were both factors in his failed 2012 comeback where he was stopped by Vyacheslav Senchenko.