Ricky Hatton has revealed he tried to commit suicide "several times" and was like a "runaway train" as he struggled with depression after his glittering boxing career.
The 38-year-old, a former world champion at two weights, said he spiralled out of control after ending his boxing career and has called for fighters to be given more support at the end of a year in which heavyweight Tyson Fury gave up his belts as he battles mental health issues.
"I tried to kill myself several times," Englishman Hatton told BBC Radio 4's Today show.
"I used to go to the pub, come back, take the knife out and sit there in the dark crying hysterically.
"There were times when I hadn't had a drink for days and I'd still come home and if something went through my mind I'd start pondering something. It was the same outcome whether I was having a drink or wasn't having a drink.
"But in the end I thought I'll end up drinking myself to death because I was so miserable. I was coming off the rails with my drinking and that led to drugs. It was like a runaway train."
He added: "Footballers have an agent who looks out for them and a football club that gets behind them. The Football Association and the Professional Footballers' Association can also be there,
"Whereas boxers, it's like once your time has gone it's 'on your way' and move on to the next champion coming through.
"The thing is with boxers, we don't come from Cambridge and places like that, we come from council estates. So in boxing it's very, very hard. If boxing had a professional boxing association or something like that, I think it would be a better place.
"It seems to be happening more with boxers. It's an individual sport so you get in the ring on your own and then when you retire you tend to spend the rest of your life on your own."