Hatton-Urango, and British leg of the undercard preview

20.01.07 - By Andy Olsen: I doubt it’s his taste in music, but I suggest Ricky Hatton bare in mind the title of the British group M people, in their 90’s hit “don’t look any further”. He is in action in what is considered by most to be a routine outing against little-known Columbian Juan Urango. Talk on the Las Vegas strip, and indeed back home has been on potential future clashes with Jose Louis Castillo and Floyd Mayweather. Hopefully, the Hitman isn’t listening..

Some over in the States believe Hatton’s’ stock has diminished somewhat. This is thanks to his last outing, against Louis Collazo in the Welterweight division. I’ve always considered such talk unfair on Collazo, who boxed superbly at times. It also convinced Hatton’s team he is best suited to the 140 lbs division (not that his trainer Billy Graham needed convincing, he was adamant it was a mistake from the onset). As a result he now finds himself challenging for the title he first became acquainted with a win over Kostya Tsyzu on an unforgettable night in Manchester in June 2005.

However, there has been a lot of criticism of the way the Hitmans career has gone since that night. The inactivity has been a major one; several ex pros’ in this country have voiced their concern that he hasn’t been busy enough. Another one concerns Ricky’s weight. He has made no secret of the fact he puts on the pounds in between fights. He even wore an “only one Ricky Fatton” T-Shirt in the aftermath of the Kostya win. In his defence, the shape he gets into for contests should perhaps offset this concern, at least in the short time.

Ricky first saw footage of the Columbian, whilst acting as a studio guest on the Matthew Macklin- Jamie Moore British title fight in a domestic classic in September. Hopefully they have been able to ascertain more footage of Urango since, as it was the background knowledge his team had on Tsyzu that contributed greatly to his biggest win to date. It is also hoped he could have learnt from the awkward questions the Southpaw Collazo asked of him, as Urango is a fellow leftie.
Urango certainly looks like he could be a decent operator, with some impressive looking KOs of admittedly lesser opponents. He won the title with a somewhat debatable win over Naoufel Ben Rabah, himself an opponent which Hatton’s people did not see as a viable opponent and subsequently relinquished the title. 13 KO’s in 17 wins certainly suggest he has the power to cause trouble, and his other credentials include the victory he holds over Miguel Cotto when they were both in the Amateur ranks.

Throughout this week, writers in Britain have discussed that perhaps using a repeat of the tactics Hatton employed against Ben Tackie at the MEN arena in December 2003 would serve him well tonight. Hatton showed he is more then a pressure fighter that night, he outboxed Tackie throughout and left the tough Ghanaian unable to stand and trade, which was clearly his strategy going into the contest.

He will of course be buoyed by the 3000 or so Britain’s who have made their way over there. Ricky enjoys such huge support due to his down to earth nature and the way he has continued to conduct himself as “one of the lads”, despite all the fame, success, money etc his career has brought him. It is quite hard to dislike such an amiable individual (though Junior Witter has managed to, I’ll cover this in more detail later), who has recently been given an MBE by the queen for his services to boxing.

Returning to my initial concern, HBO have billed this as a “test”, for both Hatton and Castillo to pass. Rumour has it Hatton and Castillo’s people are already in preliminary talks, should both prevail. Castillo is in action versus Herman Ngoudjo, who holds a so far undefeated 15 fight record. An individual with a renowned knowledge of boxing history, Hatton would do very well to consider the vast number of fighters who have started off as overwhelming betting favourites, yet faltered due to not been fully focused on the individual standing in front of them.

It is an old adage in boxing, but styles certainly do make fights. Urango and Hatton may well have the power punching styles that will give us a great contest. Along the way the Hitmans fans may well be given a couple of scares, just as they were in the 12th round of the Collazo fight. I believe Ricky will prevail, despite some perhaps turbulent moments, with either a points win or late stoppage of a game opponent.

The Pay Per view presentation in Britain begins with action from the Alexandra palace in London. Headlining events this side of the Pond is WBC world light welterweight champion Junior Witter. He puts the title on the line against Mexican Arturo Mora. Witter may be known best to the Americans for his win over Demarcus Corley, where he beat his dangerous opponent in a clever if not spectacular display. However he may also be known over there for his failed challenge to Zab Judah, which is his only loss in 37 contests. Witter avoided the counter puncher in a terrible affair, in the June 2000 contest.

Witter first called Ricky Hatton out in 2003. He has claimed that the Hitman has avoided him, and that he feels he has the beating of him. Witter is indeed a risk, due to his intelligent switch hitting style. However Witter has yet to be seen as a major draw in his own country, let alone in the States. As a result, it is hard to imagine Hatton’s American connections been overly keen on their man fighting a tricky and financially unrewarding opponent. Perhaps a stunning display against an unheralded yet tough Mexican would contribute towards changing their minds, maybe just a little. Moura brings a 24-7 record (13 KOs). Devoid of recognisable names, this may give Witter the confidence to break from his cautious style. We shall see.

In a less significant, but potentially more exciting fight, Lenny Daws takes on Barry Morrison in a defence of British Light Welterweight title. This fight is in some ways a throwback, with the fighters seeing the British title as a step up the ladder, as opposed to all the worthless titles that fighters are competing for today. Daws and Morrison have both provided excitement in their recent contests. Lenny won the title, beating the former champion Nigel Wright, who was the favourite going into the contest.

Morrison has yet to mix it with the same level of opposition, but the Motherwell native has looked in his fights like he is certainly capable of competing at this level. The domestic scrap has been vaunted by many on the British scene as one worth watching, and it is not with a great deal of certainty that I pick Daws to edge it.

The event begins on Sky Box office at 10PM GMT.

Article posted on 21.01.2007

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