The much anticipated match-up is finally on...but after Saturday night, has it retained its flavor?

21.01.07 - By Alden "The Kid" Chodash: Jose Luis Castillo and Ricky Hatton have been on a collision course ever since Castillo's termination of his rubber-match with Diego Corrales by failing to make weight on June 2nd of 2006. The point of their January 20th collision course was not only to give Hatton a chance to reclaim his former title, but to view how effective Castillo would look at a weight that most experts believed to be his natural fighting weight. And to be frank, I didn't believe it would be a difficult task to prove what many already thought, that he was a threat at 140 pounds. Consider the opposition. Herman Ngoudjo boxed 15 times and was nearly stopped against Emanuel Augustus and looked lackluster against the shell of former title challenger, the tiny John Brown..

It didn't take long to know that Ngoudjo was in there to win. In the third round Ngoudjo even managed to back up Castillo who hadn't been in that position since his first bout with Corrales. Castillo did show he can battle well while backpedaling. He scored effectively with uppercuts and followed up with left hooks that never managed to hurt the Cameroonian until the closing rounds. It was in those final rounds in which Castillo secured the victory and the right to fight for the recognized junior-welterweight crown. Not according to Judge Chuck Giampa, however, as he stunningly gave the verdict to Ngoudjo. Luckily for Hatton, Castillo, and the public, Mike Ross and Glenn Trowbridge overruled him by scoring the bout for the Mexican warrior.

Ricky Hatton, on the other hand, had no trouble in out-pointing Juan Urango, who did provide somewhat a threat to Hatton for a portion of the fight. The majority of the bout displayed Hatton's hand-speed and somewhat unexpected foot-speed in which he adopted especially for his title challenge and never allowed the big punching champion to get set. Hatton was only in jeopardy at one point in the bout, the fifth. Urango, one of a handful of "southpaws" who depends religiously on their right hook, finally connected accurately on the Brit's jaw and stunned the challenger. Urango followed up with a barrage of right-hooks to both the body and head. At one point in Urango's onslaught, he had Hatton unquestionably hurt by a body shot. Nevertheless, Hatton held on and even managed to throw back sparingly to punctuate possibly his only lost round of the fight. Hatton started the next round fresh and never really let Urango score with the kind of efficiency he did in the fifth. Needless to say, Hatton went on to capture a unanimous decision, the IBF junior-welterweight title, and a bout with Jose Luis Castillo.

On the positive side, there have been similar situations like this one that have resulted well. Most notably, Erik Morales was clearly beaten by Zahir Raheem on a collision course that would supposedly heat up a return match between Morales and Pacquiao. However, Morales returned, undeterred by the unimpressive showing and fought a tremendous battle with Pacquiao. Hopefully for the Hatton-Castillo event, which is scheduled for June on Pay-Per-View, Castillo returns to top form. We'll see.

Alden "The Kid" Chodash is operator of as well as a member of the Boxing Writers Association Of America.

Article posted on 21.01.2007

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