Ricky Hatton was today said to be “devastated and distraught” after being secretly filmed allegedly snorting cocaine.
The former two-weight world champion is alleged to have used “industrial quantities” of the drug by the News of the World.
Hatton, 31, who has still to officially retire from the sport following a succession of multi-million pound title fights, is captured in video footage appearing to use a credit card to cut lines of cocaine before snorting them through a rolled-up bank note.
Today Max Clifford, his spokesman, said: “I have spoken to Ricky just half an hour ago, he is very upset and very subdued, very flat.
“He feels he’s let everybody that matters down badly, his friends, his family, his fans and of course most of all himself, that he is, in his own words, he’s been in a bad place for some time, probably before even his last fight and obviously he’s really upset about what has happened but he totally takes responsibility, takes the blame, ’It’s all down to me’.
“He just wants to let everybody know how he feels, he’s got to sort himself out.
“I think it is fair to say, friends and family have been trying to warn him in recent times, for the last few months and now they are all hoping this situation will bring him to his senses.
“I think obviously everybody is hoping some good will come out of this.
“He feels devastated and we all hope this will be the wake-up call.”
Clifford said he was called by a representative of Hatton last night and asked to speak on behalf of the boxer, who he has known for a number of years.
He added: “We have spoken a couple of times today, clearly he’s distraught about it, very upset and very subdued.”
The News of the World states the video footage was captured over several hours at a Manchester hotel two weeks ago while Hatton was on a night out with friend Emma Bowe, 29, the Irish national senior women’s boxing champion.
She told the paper Hatton also binged on drink by sinking 11 pints of Guinness, vodka, wine and sambuca during the night out.
“I’m only talking about this because Ricky is a danger to himself. If he carries on like this he’ll kill himself,” she is quoted saying.
“I’m really, really worried for him, especially if he tries to make a comeback in the ring as he’s hinted – he could have a heart attack.”
Bowe added: “I was dumbstruck and felt bitterly disappointed. Ricky was my hero and to see him abusing drugs was such a letdown. He was a real role model, I didn’t expect that of him.”
Hatton, who still lives close to his hometown of Hyde, outside Manchester, with his fiancee Jennifer Dooley, became a household name and huge favourite of boxing fans for his no-holds-barred fighting style.
Hatton, who has a nine-year-old son and was awarded an MBE in 1997, is now heavily involved in promoting other boxers, having not fought himself for more than a year.
The former world champion at both light-welterweight and welterweight, was knocked out in the second round at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last May.
Despite the comprehensive defeat, Hatton has yet to confirm his retirement from the game and even hinted at a return to the ring by recently renewing his boxer’s licence with the British Boxing Board of Control.
A potential ’super-fight’ against fellow Briton Amir Khan, the current WBA light-welterweight champion, has been mooted.
Any return to the ring may now be in jeopardy following today’s accusations.