Ricky Hatton Boxing Media Conference Call Transcript

15.06.07 - FRED STERNBURG: We are nine days away from a fight that every boxing fan around the world has been looking forward to and no one can agree on who will win. Itís that close. Their styles are so similar. The only thing people agree on is itís going to be action packed. We have the privilege today to have undefeated two division world champion Ricky Hit Man Hatton from Manchester, England. Heís been in Las Vegas for a week now. Ricky, in his second reign as junior welterweight champion will be defending his titles against two time WBC lightweight champion, Jose Luis Castillo. And weíre also privileged to have Rickyís trainer, Billy Graham on the line.

So while we get questions in the queue, Ricky, Iím just going to ask you this quick question right now, I know it is a little warmer here than it is in Manchester, how are you dealing with 107 degree heat and all of this training?

RICKY HATTON: Yes, it is a little bit different to Manchester. Itís an absolute sauna. The first couple of days it was a shock to the system, not only from the heat point of view, from a training point of view, but, you know, you get off the plan, youíve got the 10 hour flight. Youíve got the eight hour time difference, and then the heat to contend with. So the first couple of days were a bit of a shock to the system. But now, weíre right in the thick of things. Iíve done a couple of strong sparing sessions, and really Iím top, top form. Really Iím top form at the minute.

FRED STERNBURG: What are you expecting out of Castillo when you fight him? I know youíve seen different styles since youíve come here to America and fighting the last two fights in Boston and Las Vegas, is this someone thatís a little more style wise to Kostya Tszyu? Are you preparing any differently for Castillo than you have for past fights?

RICKY HATTON: No, itís not very different. I think my last year opponent so I was up at welterweight, and then I moved down to light welter weight. And I had a couple of southpaw opponents, you know, Collazo is a big southpaw. And, you know, Urango, southpaw again (INAUDIBLE). Collazo threw so many punches, he didnít give you much room Ė he didnít give you much opening spoon shot really. So, you know, probably tricky awkward styles. This is more my kind of fight, I think, with Castillo.

Castillo, I think it will be a similar fight to the Tszyu fight, Castillo holds his ground a little bit more, Tszyu did give ground to try and walk me on to that big right hand. But I think Castillo will hold his ground a bit more, trying to work with everybody. So it really is my type of fight. And I feel that the achievements have been a little better than the performances in my last two fights. I know Iíve got a lot better performances in me.

But the only thing I will say in my defense, I was up at welterweight, when I didnít want to move, or then I moved back down to my normal weight. So thatís difficult against a couple of southpaws, but this is really my time. Iím going to shine in. And Iím going to go straight to work on Saturday.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Ricky, a lot of people have been circling this fight on their calendar for a long time, looking forward to it, expecting a big action fight. And I think thereís been a lot of good feeling about that coming off of what happened last week, and I donít if you were able to see the Miguel Cotto Ė Zab Judah fight, do you think that we can see a fight as good as that, given the type of styles that both of you guys bring to the ring, you and Castillo?

RICKY HATTON: Well I would say thatís a fight. I mean that was a great fight. I did watch it on the TV over there. I really enjoyed it. But to be perfectly honest with you, I mean if you look at styles that make the best fights is people that donít take a backward step, body punches, people who have sharp upper cuts, doing a lot of in-close fights. And to be honest, Castilloís fight against Diego Corrales was one of the fights of the century.

And if anyoneís styles could even beat that one, youíd have to say my style, and Jose Luis Castilloís style would Ė is the one really. Iím going to go straight on the front porch stage for action. Those are the types of fights -- Castillo-Corrales is a fight that people will be watching in years time, and I want to be able to be in one of them fights. I want people talking about fights like that about Ricky Hatton in a few years time. So Saturday night, Iím going to make sure that that becomes a big possibility.

DAN RAFAEL: So Ricky, you are looking forward Ė I remember actually before the Castillo-Corrales first fight, you know, Diego Corrales, rest in peace, talked about wanting to be in a war to show fans that he could do it and to prove it to himself and to be remembered for that type of competitive action packed fight. Obviously he and Castillo delivered it. Do you have that similar kind of feeling that you Ė we all know that youíre a top fighter -- youíve won a lot of titles and been involved in some excellent fights. But do you want that one fight thatís a two-way fight that no one will ever forget?

RICKY HATTON: Absolutely. Yes. I mean I donít want to be remembered as the greatest of all time, but I want in years to come when people look at Ricky Hatton, I want them to say by god he could fight. You know, he was in some right ones, and, you know, the Kostya Tszyu fight was a wonderful fight. I think this one could even be better than that, because of the way we fight, really.

And yes, I mean I won Ė when fight fans have video collections of the greatest fighters of all time, and the greatest fights of all time on the shelves back, I want one of Ricky Hattonís to be on those shelves. And I think this could be it because (INAUDIBLE) this is all the makings to.

KIERAN MULVANEY, REUTERS: Hey, when we chatted with you over lunch I think it was at the Mandalay Bay just before the Barrara-Marquez fight, you were talking about wanting to try to get into Vegas quite a few weeks early to try and acclimate to the climate, and youíve been, you know, a bit put off with the air conditioning and all of that the last time around. But you didnít do that in the end, is there any reason why you didnít do then?

RICKY HATTON: No. We came in a little bit earlier. We came about five days earlier than last time. And last time we flew on a Sunday, we got off the flight, and I went straight to the gym and did 12 rounds sparring. It was my first fight ever in Vegas, so, you know, you (INAUDIBLE) the first time weíve ever done it. You live and learn by your mistakes type thing. And I think the best thing weíve done this time, weíve come out a few days earlier, so the minute we got off the plane, weíve done next to nothing. We let ourselves come back down to earth and rested before we went into the hard training -- as far as the jetlag and the time difference and stuff like that.

When we landed, on the Thursday, last week - all I did it really was have light road work because I wanted my body to recover from the journey and the time difference first, and Iíve done that, and I feel a lot, lot better for it, to be honest. You know, last time, we felt the whole time of the time we were here, we spent it in the hotel. And although itís fantastic being in the hotel, Caesarís Palace, you know, they really look after everything. They did a great job. I think just spending too much time, you know, cooped up indoors inside the casino with the air conditioning the way it is in the casinos, the week of the fight, it brought out a head cold in me. And it just made me feel very, very bound (ph) up, and nose block type feeling. And I think it certainly worked against me in the fight, certainly in the last four to five rounds.

So this time, weíve come out a few days earlier. We rented a house just off the strip, so we could get a lot more fresh air, and get away from the casino and the air conditioning, and I feel 10-fold better for it. But, you know, that January was the first time weíve ever boxed in Vegas. And until youíve done it before, you donít know, but weíve made a lot of good alterations from the last time.

KIERAN MULVANEY: So you are keeping your training relatively light over the final couple of weeks. Are you still sparring?

RICKY HATTON: No, not at all. This week has been absolutely horrendous as far as training. We arrived in Vegas last Thursday. And we had Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday away from the gym, you know, in order to get over the time difference, the jetlag, you know, and stuff like that. But this week has probably been the hardest week of my training camp, and Iíve still got one more massive humongous day in the gym tomorrow to go. And then weíll wind down the training in the last week. But, you know, itís hard enough doing the workouts that I do back in Manchester, when you are only five minutes down the (INAUDIBLE), but I just thought it was the sensible thing to do rather than get of a plane when youíve had an 10 hour flight, with an eight hour time difference and go straight into hard sparring. And I think that set me back a bit last time, and Iíve learned my lesson this time.

KIERAN MULVANEY: Obviously, you know, we talked quite a bit all ready about how you feel, your achievements have been better than your performances lately. Obviously, itís difficult for anyone to see how this might not be a very good fight indeed, but without obviously being able to predict what happens, can you see a scenario in which you feel like you might be winning the fight, but youíre not winning it as well Ė as impressively as you might like, and you might be prepared to open up and take some risks in the fight, or would you be Ė or is a win the most important thing?

RICKY HATTON: if you look up my fight against Collazo, you look at my fight against Carlos Maussa when it was caught (ph) twice, look at my fight against Kostya Tszyu, I think I am the epitome of the risk taker. I think the way I fight, I think thatís a bit of a strange question to ask me.

But no, I mean fight sometimes, you know, donít go the way you plan. Sometimes you hit top form and everything goes, you know, sweet sailing. But then sometimes you canít always hit the top note. And I feel like there are a couple of performances, even though the achievements have been great, and the performances could have been a little bit better, but there have been reasons about that, a couple of southpaws, you know, fighting in a weight division against Collazo, that I never wanted to be in the first place.

But, you know, yes, I think this is more up my street, you know, this type of fight, someone that is going to stand in front of me. Castillo, I think is a great, great, body puncher and I think heís going to try to work my body, so I am prepared for that. And I think this a fight that I should shine in. Obviously every fighter knows that, when the fight goes, sometimes things donít go the way you planned. Sometimes you donít feel (INAUDIBLE) as good as you do. Sometimes you have a good night. Sometimes you have a bad night. So itís a bit of a strange question to ask. You always know that youíre quite not at top form.

NIALL HICKMAN, DAILY EXPRESS: Weíve heard a lot of stuff about Castillo over here. His performance against, I wonít try and pronounce his surname, Herman Ngoudjo, I think it was, was fairly flat. Weíve heard thatís heís training Ė heís been training like a maniac and everything. And all of the reports are that heís regarding this as a sort of last ditch fight as it were, in the big time, as it were. Are you aware of that, first of all Ricky? And what do you make of it? I suppose itís flattering, really, more than anything else? But are you aware of Ė have you been getting reports about Castillo?

RICKY HATTON: No, I havenít. Not really. I donít doubt for one minute heís not been going through the motions in his training. I mean, Iíve got a (INAUDIBLE) when you are fighting people like myself, and world champions and different weight world champions, you know, the last thing you do is go through the motions with your training. But I expect him to be training harder than heís ever trained before in this life, really. He knows that a win against me, leads to so many big money match ups. So he knows that should he lose, his stock goes down, really donít it? It could be his last chance.

I mean the fact that people have told me that heís training like an absolute Trojan has not come to a shock to me by any stretch. I wouldnít have expected him to be doing anything differently because I certainly have.

NIALL HICKMAN: Ricky, if I might. I mean back to Castillo again, youíve obviously watched videos of him. Youíve seen him in person. What do you think he brings to the table, what are the main, we obviously saw the Corrales fight as well, so thatís pretty obvious what he brings to the table. But what do think are his plus points and what about his negative ones? Where do you think you can take advantage?

RICKY HATTON: Well, heís a good body puncher. Heís very good on the front foot. Heís got a nice rhythm within him. Itís a lot of left hand work, left up to the body, sudden left hook to the head. You know he likes to go on the front foot. I think heís got the majority of his power on the front foot. So yes, heís as tough as they come. He brings a good chin to them. So he brings a lot to the table. I mean everyone says about the Ngoudjo fight. Youíre looking at a two-time world champion whoís been in one of the greatest fights of the century. And, you know, heís fought Floyd Mayweather, Diego Corrales, big names like that. Obviously, someone like Castillo, they can be on the flat when they are given a 15-bout fighter and no disrespect to Ngoudjo, thatís what he was really. I mean you have someone like Castillo whoís been in so many big fights who gets handed a 15-bout fighter in Ngoudjo. Then obviously heís probably in the back of his mind, heís probably going to check in a little bit lightly and probably think, you know, (INAUDIBLE) show up. And this was his first fight at junior welterweight, itís his first fight making the weight. I think maybe Castillo probably thought to himself well Iíve never heard of this fellow. Heís only had 15 fights. You know, all Iíve got to do is make the weight, and I think thatís the way he performed a bit. But I donít doubt for a minute thatís not the way he would have prepared and perform in this fight.

GARETH DAVIES, DAILY TELEGRAPH of LONDON: Going back to what Niall was just saying about Castillo, thereís been some articles this week about him questioning your records and obviously in terms of who you have fought and heís fought, he kind of believes he has the right to say that. Iíd like to know what your reaction is to him questioning your record that you havenít fought the caliber of the fighters that he has.

RICKY HATTON: Yes, when I look down at, you know, Castilloís ledger, I mean heís lost twice to Mayweather, which I think thatís what heís trying to get at, that he fought the best pound for pound fighter in the world, so therefore he must have fought the best opponents. I think, thatís what he might be getting at. But when you look at my record, like Collazo, Castilloís been fighting at lightweight the majority of his career, and Iíve won a world title at welterweight. So, you know, I think our opponents are comparable. I beat Kostya Tszyu. He was arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world at the time.

I mean I look down at his record, the Stevie Johnsons and people like that. I think itís clear to see both our records, weíre both mixed in at top level really. I fought one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world in Kostya Tszyu and I beat him, where he got beat by his pound for pound counterpart. So no, I donít get bothered in the slightest (INAUDIBLE). But (INAUDIBLE) Saturday night, heís going to realize Iím the real deal.

GARETH DAVIES: And do you have any concerns about him not making the weight?

RICKY HATTON: Heís always concerned, because obviously when he didnít make the weight last time itís very, very unprofessional. I mean at the end of the day, he knows heís got to make the weight because otherwise promoters, TV companies, casinos wonít want to know him if he doesnít make the weight for this fight. So I mean for all of the great fights heís been in, and the reputation heís built all for being such a great fighter, if he doesnít make the weight for this fight, he wonít be remembered for what heís done in the ring, heíll be remembered for what heís done on the scales, which he knows he canít afford to do that.

I expect him to still to go more in January in making the weight because that was his first fight in making the new weight division. And donít forget, January wasnít that long ago. In fact, he should make the weight a damn sight easier this time. I certainly know I have made it a damn sight easier. But no, I mean his track record is struggling not making the weight, so obviously that is at the back of your mind. But Iíll be shell shocked if he didnít make the weight.

GARETH DAVIES: Obviously, weíve had some great stories at some of the Man United players coming to the fight, Wayne Rooney (ph) carrying your belt with Marc Antonio Barrera is that still confirmed? And are there any other British celebrities that we- who are now signing up to come and see the fight?

RICKY HATTON: The only ones I know of is Wayne (ph) is coming in with the belt, and he has been from day one. And Marco Antonio Barrera is coming over with the belt. Theyíve always been the only two that have been carrying the belt in. But after the weeks got by, you know, more and more people are buying the tickets to come and watch me fight. You know, (INAUDIBLE) weíve got like a full football team, coming. We could make a full football team with the people that are coming over to watch me now. And it makes me feel very, very proud. But as far as carrying the belt, itís always been Wayne and Marco.

But more and more I believe Vinnie Jones, Jason Stratham, I believe Robbie Williams has been mentioned this week, is coming to the fight. So this is all fantastic. It just shows how far Iíve come. It makes me feel very, very proud. But yes, Wayne (ph) and Marco (ph) will be carrying the belts in.

KEVIN MITCHELL, THE OBSERVER OF LONDON: No hiccups in training? Youíre fully fit, and the weight is OK?

RICKY HATTON: Yes, the weight is alright. The weight is absolutely fantastic. No injuries. My sparring, my brother Matthew, and everyone in the training camp, Billy Graham have turned around said this is the best training camp. Iíve had the best that Iíve ever (INAUDIBLE) in spar. And in fact, even yesterday, they said itís the best days theyíve ever seen me spar in my whole career. So, you know, Iím really bang on. Iíve got the bit between the teeth for this fight. You know, Iíve got the same excitement and motivation as when I was in training camp for Kostya Tszyu really, because I know what the man in the fight is such a huge name. And Iíve really Iíve gotten the horn (ph) for this fight.

KEVIN MITCHELL: Do you think thatís partly, Ricky (ph), because as you said earlier, you didnít look your best in the last couple of fights, that that was a motivation for you?

RICKY HATTON : Yes, I mean Iím not saying I took Collazo lightly or I took Juan Urango lightly but before Ė no disrespect to them intended, before the fights were mentioned, I didnít really Ė although they were brilliant fighters, I didnít really know them and the names didnít sound too familiar to me. And I was a massive favorite to beat them both. So maybe without realizing, you know, you never take anyone lightly, but in the back of your mind, youíre thinking Iíve got them beaten these two guys. And maybe you fall complacent that little bit without realizing it.

But because Iím fighting the person Iím fighting the big name years (ph), the fighter years (ph), and that, you know, I think without realizing you just find that little bit extra. And, you know, Iíve been walking around snarling for the last three weeks. Iíve not that for the last couple of fights. But everyone keeps saying about, you know, every sport start goes through a bit of a lean patch, you know, football players. You know, strike is go through goal routes (ph). And Iím thinking, you know, Iíve won two world titles in two weight divisions. I fought a couple of tricky southpaws. So if you are going to have a little bit of a say enough (ph) night, you know, youíre going to do it against (INAUDIBLE) opponents. But Iíve been improving, Iíve been improving in the gym. Even for those fights, I was still showing improvement in the gym. But I didnít quite hit top form, I feel. But I think if the training and the sparring is anything to go byÖ

T.K. STEWART: Hey look, you know, when I used to watch you earlier in your career, you know, when we first started seeing you over here on American television, one of the big things I noticed with you is you were very light on your feet. You were very active with your footwork. You would move in and out very quickly.

And then these last few fights, Iíve noticed that that wasnít there, is that back again? And is that kind of what you mean when you say that you are looking sharp in training and that the sparring is going very well.

RICKY HATTON: A little bit. I mean, you know, I think I lost my speed in the Collazo fight, and the reason for that being is that seven weeks before the fight, I was due to fight a junior welterweight against Juan Lazcano. And Juan Lazcano pulled out injured, and we were looking for a replacement opponent. And at seven weeks notice, then I got Luis Collazo. So I had seven weeks to grow into the new weight division. So obviously I tried filling out, and bulking out, and because I didnít have a long (INAUDIBLE) time in order to do I felt I went a little bit too heavy. I didnít carry the weight quite as well as I wanted if I had had more time to do so. And I lost a little bit of speed. Apart from the fact of fighting good fighters, you know, I think thatís what the problem was.

I think in the Juan Urango fight, as I said earlier, spending a fortnight, two weeks in the hotel in the air conditioning, and I mentioned that it brought out a head cold in me the week of the fight. I think, you know, that affected me in the last four or five rounds. I think when you have a cold, even though the cold had gone on fight night, the after effects of the cold sometimes linger on. I think thatís when your legs start to feel heavy in the last part of the round.

I think, as far as footwork goes, I think the first six rounds against Juan Urango I think of it like Ė I think of Lord of the Dance, I think a lot about Michael Flatley to be honest with you, and my footwork was fantastic. I think itís the best footwork Iíve ever shown to be honest with you. So it was only due to getting a cold the week of the fight where the last four or five rounds, and I think run out of steam a bit, but there were reasons beyond that.

So, you know, I think Iíve always been. I think my footwork has been the one thing in my boxing career that has always been underrated. I know I am very quick on my feet, moving off, stepping to the side. I think there were reasons for it, why it didnít happen in the Collazo fight. And I think there were reasons for it why it didnít happen in the last four rounds against Urango. But I think the first six rounds, I think, my feet seemed to look like they were on speed or something, you know, I thought the footwork was the best itís ever been against Urango in the first few rounds.

T.K. STEWART: OK. And then, also, too, is there a feeling that you have, you know, when you think about this fight, obviously you think about it every day, but is there a way that you see that itís going to go? I mean are you feeling like youíre going to knock them out? Are you feeling like youíre going to maybe outbox him, win a decision? Can you kind of give us an idea of how you think itís going to go?

RICKY HATTON: Jose will probably tell you, like I will tell you, I mean nobody goes there expecting to knock their opponent out. They always hope that they can do. And the way I punch and the way Jose Luis Castillo punches, you know, the fight could be over very, very quickly because you want your big punches, your accurate punches, especially to the body, like we both on, thereís a chance that the fight could be over before itís begun. But to be honest, Iíve got a good chin. Jose has got a good chin. So if anything, the smart money would be on a 12-round war. I mean Iím only looking at it from the perspective of how I am feeling in the gym and how my sparring has gone, and how strong and fast and explosive I feel at the minute. I would be a liar if I didnít think I couldnít knock him out. And thatís the way I feel, really.

You know, I always go for the knock out, although Iíve trained for 12 hard rounds. Iíve trained for just winning the fight the skin of my teeth. Thatís the way youíve always got to look at every fight, every time you step through the ring. Thatís the way youíve got a lock on it. But I mean, no, I mean Iíll be going out there for the knock out, and I think thereís a great chance that I can force that. But, you know, Iíve trained for 12 rounds of pain, really.

SCOTT FYFE, SUNDAY POST SCOTLAND: Billy, I wanted to ask you, RickY referred to the fact that you said his sparring the other day was the best youíve seen in his entire career. What in particular did you like?

BILLY GRAHAM: It was this (INAUDIBLE) like about him, what makes me (INAUDIBLE) to my favorite is his balance and his rhythm and his slipping and sliding and all of the cheeky shots, educated shots (INAUDIBLE). Thatís the way he moves. Heís moving really graceful, really quick, and just so smooth. Yes, thatís the best Iíve seen him, for sure.

SCOTT FYFE: You are an admirer of Castillo, yourself, Billy, arenít you?

BILLY GRAHAM: Yes, of course.

SCOTT FIFE: What in particular over his career has impressed you?

BILLY GRAHAM: Well he is the full package, (INAUDIBLE), left hook. Heís got all the punches -- short ones, long ones, to the body, to the head. Heís got every punch in the book. Heís got a wicked chin. You canít help but admire the guy. Heís great to watch.

GERMAN VILLASENOR: I think that youíre fighting in a bigger venue, are you looking forward to maybe filling it out? And do you expect more of your supporters there than was the case last time, which they really made it sound as if there were three times more than there. They were really loud and lively.

RICKY HATTON: Yes. I expect three times more to be there again. You know, I defy any fellow, any person in boxing to draw out a bigger crowd than me, at the minute, especially in England. You know, England, I reckon if I was to go back to England for a homecoming, you know, to get an open air stadium now, (INAUDIBLE) what Iíve achieved since I fought Kostya Tszyu, I reckon, we could get 50, 60, 70,000 as daft as it sounds. But I believe thereís 10 Ė near 10,000 Brits who have purchased tickets in England that are coming over to watch the fight, which is over half the venue, you know, all ready. So thatís absolutely fantastic.

You know, to sell that type of numbers on your hometown would be a massive achievement, but to do it half away across the world, you know, is actually (INAUDIBLE). And itís an exciting week and I wonít be letting them down.

GERMAN VILLASENOR: Following up on you looking forward, you know, looking to knock down or knock out Castillo as it were, knowing that heís been stopped four times, two times they were standing stoppages heís never actually been down in a fight. Are you looking to knocking him down?

RICKY HATTON: (INAUDIBLE), Iím looking more forward to just getting the victory. You know, at the end of the day, you know, me, and Jose Luis Castillo have done training and worked hard, we are getting paid ultimately just to just have our hand raised, but yes, I am more concentrating on the win, on the way I am performing, at the minute, I think thereís a good chance that that would happen. But like I said earlier, to the gentlemen on earlier, Iím prepared for 12 rounds of hell. Iím prepared for 12 rounds of war, but I just Ė you know, when I watch my tapes of how Ė just how Iíve been in the gym, you know, how explosive my movements have been, how fast Iíve been, how strong Iíve been, how easy Iíve done the weight, stuff like that, I hope Castillo (ph) is in the form of his life, because I am in the form of my life, and itís just a case of putting all of the pieces together on the night. But heís got wonderful changes and hard as they come, heís never been down. So thatís why, even though we are both big punchers, you know, you would expect it to be a around a 12-round war. It could be over before it even begins with it being so accurate punches, and the way we punch so hard, but donít forget, we hit hard, and weíve also got the chins to match. So itís going to be a great fight, a great fight. And, you know, heís been through Corrales fight, I think sheís going to have to do it again, in order to beat Ricky Hatton on Saturday.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: The question I want to ask if you have been comparing the possibility that this fight is looking something like that you had with Kostya Tszyu. One difference, of course, is Kostya Tszyu has not fought since you fought him. Where Castillo is coming off the layoff with the suspension and then a rather lackluster performance against Herman Ngoudjo. Where do you think Castillo is in terms of his career, because of the layoff and then he didnít really look that good in his last fight? Do you think heís maybe peaking, whereas Kostya Tszyu was really the end of the career when you beat him?

RICKY HATTON: Well, itís hard to say, I mean but Kostya Tszyu, a lot of people say Kostya Tszyu was coming to the end of his career, which I suppose he was in terms of years, but in his previous fight before me, he knocked Sharmba Mitchell in three rounds and never looked as well. But, you know, in opposites, Castillo is coming to this fight with a bit of a lackluster performance. But I mean Iím looking (INAUDIBLE), to be honest, even though I won the fight against Urango comfortable, I donít think I was at my best as well. And I think that boils down to maybe we took our foot off the gas, so we took our opponents lightly. You know, I trained as hard for Urango as I do for anyone. But I think, mentally, when you see a big name in front of, you know, a fighter with the pedigree that Castillo has, I think sometimes you dig that little bit deeper, you find a little bit extra in training (INAUDIBLE) in the fights.

When you think all of the big fights that Castillo has been involved in, all of a sudden he gets handed, Ngoudjo who has had only 15 fights, Iím sure Castillo in his mind, probably thought ĎAll Iíve got to do is turn make the weight here.í And Ngoudjo turned out a bit better fight than we all expected.

But no, I expect Jose Luis Castillo to be the best Jose Luis Castillo on Saturday night, because yes, I mean itís important to his career. In his career at the minute, I think he knows he needs a big win. He knows he needs a big win. I mean heís got to put the weight problems behind him. You know heís Ė but I think he just needs a big win. I mean when he used to fight in big, big fights, big name fights, you know, the last fight was a significant step down. And probably he was a lot less, you know, he was de-motivated. Where, I expect him, if heís de-motivated this time, we will certainly find out but I donít expect him to be. I expect him to know that heís got to pull in a big performance and that will be the way heís training.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: We hear so often that in boxing, the mental aspect is really so key to the game. I guess, one of the things youíre saying is you are confirming that.

RICKY HATTON: Yes, absolutely. I mean I think to bring the best out of you as a fighter, is youíve got to be that little bit nervous. Youíve got to be that little bit more feared. And I mean thereís no doubt in my mind who is going to win Saturday week. But in a sense when - just, you know, I was excited about this fight, the minute it got announced. You know, the minute it got announced I had a spring in my step, you know, I just Ė because obviously I have a lot of respect for Jose because of the people heís faced. You know, heís two time world champion. Heís been in one of the greatest fights of all time. When you fight someone whoís done what heís done in boxing, you get that little horny about it, donít you? You get a little bit on the Ė more of a spring in your step. And I think that just shows in the way Iíve performed in my training camp. Itís the best Iíve ever been by a country mile, I feel, and itís because of the man Iíve got in front of me.

Article posted on 16.06.2007

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