Fight News

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Ricky Hatton delivered a performance of vicious efficiency to hammer Jose Luis Castillo to fourth-round defeat in Las Vegas and secure his place in the pantheon of his generation's pay-per-view superstars.

Hatton swung a crushing body shot into the ribs of former lightweight champion Castillo, who crumpled to one knee on the canvas where he was counted out by referee Joe Cortez.

It was the emphatic victory Hatton needed to underline his status as the world's best 140lbs fighter and open the door to a possible future fight against Floyd Mayweather.

Mayweather had twice struggled to outpoint Castillo but it was a different story for the Manchester 'Hitman', who had looked intent on securing a headline-grabbing win from the opening bell.

Hatton had been desperate to deliver such a thrilling performance after admitting he struggled in his two previous Stateside fights against Luis Collazo and Juan Urango.

In contrast to that pair of slippery southpaws, Castillo brought both the winning record and the attacking force which Hatton required to enable him to shine.

Castillo's awesome first fight against Diego Corrales two years ago was hailed as one of the most ferocious of all time and he came out with his own pay-per-view potential boosted despite defeat.

And despite also failing to impress when he narrowly outpointed Herman Ngoudjo in January, there seemed little chance of a significantly better Castillo not turning up in this fight.

Castillo had had plenty at stake. He entered the fight under a financial cloud after being hit with a big fine for failing to make the weight for a projected third fight against Corrales.

And his own promoter Bob Arum had preceded the contest by warning that this fight could realistically represent Castillo's last chance at forcing his way back to the top.

Hatton's win caused uproar amongst his thousands of travelling fans who had roared him into the Thomas & Mack Center ring with Wayne Rooney and Marco Antonio Barrera in hot pursuit.

Within seconds of the opening bell it became apparent there would be few backward steps as both men roared from their respective corners and clinched in the centre of the ring.

Castillo briefly touched down during the opening exchanges but referee Cortez ruled a slip and the frantic action resumed with Hatton digging two right uppercuts to Castillo's chin.

Finding better range with his punches, Hatton had chiselled an early advantage and a clean left hand in the final seconds of the round cemented his lead.

Hatton had described his intended tactic as "educated pressure", and it was certainly paying off as he continued to beat Castillo to the punch and land the significant blows in round two.

Castillo landed his first heavy shots of note early in the third and cranked up the pace towards the end of the round with a left which seemed to stun Hatton and sparked a furious exchange before the bell.

It was living up to every column inch of its pre-fight billing but Castillo's increasing reliance on his left hooks to the body got him into trouble with Cortez for hitting low.

When the action resumed Hatton swung his own left hook to the body which caused a delayed reaction in Castillo, who grimaced and sunk slowly to the canvas where Cortez's count reached 10.

As he left the ring Castillo admitted: "He got me good, it was the perfect shot. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't get up."

Hatton felt he had come into the fight better prepared than he had for any previous encounter.

He told Setanta Sports 1: "I trained for 12 rounds of pain tonight. I told everybody that I've never had a training camp like it before and I think it showed.

"I think I tried a bit too hard and Billy (Graham, trainer) told me to slow it down and take it easy.

"I went into that ring tonight a very frustrated man. I've been up against two world champions in two weight divisions (in previous fights). Sometimes I have tried too hard to put on a show and that has got me in trouble in the past."

Hatton added: "I expected Castillo to do those low blows to be honest, he has always thrown a lot of low blows. He does it all the way through the fight and I wanted the referee to cut it out."

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home