Pressure From Hatton & The Scale Will Spell Castillo's Doom

ricky hatton02.06.07 - by Nick Mathur: On June 23rd, Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo will battle at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, in a fight that is sure to produce a lot of action between two of the sport's most rugged athletes. Hatton is coming off of a convincing unanimous decision over tough, but limited Juan Urango in January, while Castillo scored a razor thin split decision victory over prospect Herman Ngoudjo on the undercard of that fight.

The opinions of analysts and boxing enthusiasts seem to be divided as to who will emerge victorious in June. Some favor Hatton because of his aggression and ruthless body punching. However, these happen to be staples of Castillo's fight game as well, as he comes into the fight being the more seasoned professional with much more experience at the elite level..

In this fight, Castillo will apply pressure on Hatton and attempt to fight him primarily on the inside. He will try to take away Hatton's confidence by fighting with a level of tenacity that few of Ricky's opponents have previously shown against him. I expect that Castillo will be able to land a handful of hooks to the body and head early on, which will be sharp enough to have an effect on Ricky. However, Hatton will eventually slow him down with an accumulation of damage as the fight progresses.

Castillo will get hit with an alarming number of power shots if he battles Hatton with the same reckless abandon and neglect for defense that he has shown time and time again. The fight will become more one-sided the longer that it continues, as Hatton imposes his size and strength advantages and butchers Castillo at his own game. If it's not a stoppage by the referee in Hatton's favor, I can also envision a scenario where Castillo's corner has to throw in the towel if the proud warrior takes a sick beating, but refuses to leave his feet.

Jose Luis has done enough throughout his career to warrant being called a great fighter. However, his troubles making weight have been well documented in recent fights, and he is starving himself even to make the junior welterweight limit. It may be a surprise to some that moving up from lightweight has only been a minor help to him at this stage of his career. He endures a grueling training regimen, eats carefully, and still has constant worries about weighing in at the correct limit. I am an advocate of boxers competing in the correct weight division and training diligently, in order to avoid drastic weight losses right before the fight that could be detrimental to their health. Most fighters, including Ricky Hatton, employ the same strategy of drying out before the weigh in, and gaining back roughly ten pounds after coming in at the correct mark. The difference is that in Castillo's case, the process of losing an excessive amount of weight takes such a big toll on him that his body cannot fully recover by the time he has to fight.

Ideally, Castillo would move up to 147 pounds, where he could compete against non-threatening opposition until he is fully comfortable being a welterweight. But it will likely never happen. If he moves up yet again, he will probably take on too tough of a challenge soon afterwards, an assumption made based upon the fact that this man never seems to shy away from a difficult fight. I believe that if he immediately battles one of the top ten best that the welterweight division has to offer, he will probably lose.

Following his inspiring victory over former 140 pound juggernaut Kostya Tszyu, Ricky Hatton seems less popular these days after struggling against Luis Collazo, and after his recent underwhelming, clinch-filled bout with Urango. I expect this fight to be a crowd-pleasing affair in which both fighters will bravely attack each other with the best that they have to offer, with Hatton ultimately coming out ahead. A win over Castillo, especially an exciting one, would do a lot to raise his profile, particularly with fans outside his rabid fan base in Manchester who have not seen many of his fights. However, Hatton may very well fight cautiously against an opponent as dangerous as Castillo, rather than partaking in the kind of war of attrition that people are hoping for. If Ricky wins this fight by scoring a relatively dull points victory, it will be a disappointment to say the least.

Article posted on 03.06.2007

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