Hatton showing Hyde Pride in Vegas

ricky hatton22.01.07 - By Vanessa McConnell: Photos by Chris McGee - Ricky Hatton (42-0, 30 KOs) from Hyde, England fought the fights of his life last weekend at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas against Juan “Iron Twin” Urango (17-1-1, 13 KOs) from Monteria, Colombia. Hatton made his point loud and clear, that he wants to be “the first British fighter to be successful in America.” His point was well taken in the twelve round judge’s decision over Urango. Hands down, Hatton won by favor as all three judges scored the fight 109-119, for Hatton. 6,379 fans packed into the Grand Ballroom at the Paris Hotel to witness the British sensation take back his title as the IBF/IBO Jr. Welterweight Champion.

Referee Tony Weeks got a workout in the ring, after giving the fighters their rules in English and Spanish he had to constantly step in and break up the dance numbers. Hatton entered the ring to the tune of “Blue Moon,” as the nearly 3,000 or more European fans went wild, stomping on the bleachers and singing in sync around the ballroom.

Hatton was bouncing on his toes all night in the dressing room, down the halls and in the ring making him one of the most excited and anxious fighters I’ve ever seen.

Throughout the first round, Hatton landed a few “stop that Mac Truck” body shots and uppercuts. The last ten seconds of the round both fighters gave a nice exchange of jabs, while Urango tried to maintain a distance from Hatton. It didn’t last too long before he found himself hanging on for dear life trying to make it to the 12th round. Hatton came out strong in the second round and as he unloaded some fast jab combinations, the crowd went wild stomping and chanting.

ricky hattonIn the third round, Hatton landed some hard rights that had to weaken Urango. Hatton showed so much energy and speed in the ring, but Urango woke up in this round and gave him a little better run for the $2 million purse. Hatton seemed to predict Urango’s every move and dip and dodge around his shots. Hatton took a few shots in and blew them right out, taking the last shot of the round.

By the fourth round, it was like we were at a soccer game in Manchester as the crowd began to sing and chant and stomp on the bleachers. Hatton was still taking in shots Urango was able to land and returnrd some quick left right combos and upper cuts. It was almost like Urango was fighting with the air at this point. Urango woke up in the fifth round and caught Hatton with a crumbling body shot and left to the ear. Weeks even warned Hatton a few times making Urango look even more favorable.

ricky hattonIn the sixth round, Hatton came out strong with body shots and upper cuts galore. At some point Urango asked the referee for some help. Urango took a bad beating in this round as Hatton unleashed blows to the body that sent chilling oh’s around the ballroom. At the end of the round Urango walked away shaking his head as if he agreed to the beat down. By the seventh round both fighters were winding down, giving very little action, waiting until the last ten seconds to give it all they had.

By the tenth round the referee did more fighting than the boxers, trying to break them up. Both fighters had a chance to exchange fair shots as they took about a four round break of action. Urango began acting like a bully by the end of the tenth round, walking away with his hands in the air like he won the fight but according to the judges score card he didn’t even win the round.

jose luis castilloBoth fighters wanted to fight in the eleventh round, but when Urango’s head connected under Hatton’s chin the fight went from exciting to scary. Hatton was obviously dazed and Weeks took him to the corner to check him out. Hatton was not ending the fight like that, so he shook it off and continued the fight. The rest of the round was scarce for Hatton as he was obviously tired, dazed and began to stumble a little. Urango walked away from the round with his hands in the air as the crowd booed at him.

They both woke up in the twelfth round but Hatton still was a little sloppy and Urango began to fight like a champ. It appeared that Urango was breaking him down but it was a little too late. Urango lost the fight long before the last round. Out of 570 total punches thrown throughout the fight, Urango only landed 153 at 27%, while Hatton threw 755 and landed 258 at 34%. Out of 131 jabs thrown, Hatton landed 22 at 17% compared to Urango throwing 98, landing 13 at 13%. Out of 624 power punches thrown, Hatton landed 236 at 38%, while Urango threw 472, only landing 140 at 30%.

jose luis castillo“He was very, very tough. Those first four or five rounds I looked like Willie Pep,” Hatton said after the fight. “I’d like to think I made the top ten, pound for pound. You know the way I fight; I’ve shown over and over again. I think I showed another side. I can box. The first six rounds felt too comfortable; maybe I took my foot off the gas. I don’t think it was boring by any stretch.” Although he wasn’t too confident in saying but he says that he “don’t think (the upcoming match against Castillo) will be a dancing competition.” We will see.

The co-main event between Jose Luis Castillo (55-7-1, 47 KOs) from Mexicali, Mexico and Herman Ngoudjo (15-1, 9 KOs) from Montreal, Quebec was more like a close and tough call for the judges. Castillo won the fight by split decision and the crowd was obviously not happy with the decision. They booed Castillo all the way to his dressing room which was strange because they chanted his name as he came into the ballroom and early on in the fight. Castillo was tired early in the fight but he was landing some mean upper cuts every chance he got.

Ngoudjo had prepared for his match against Castillo and wore a belt that was so high the referee had to pull his pants up over it a few times. He was obviously worried about Castillo and body shots. It was an ordeal after a while as his wardrobe malfunction became annoying and Byrd had to keep pulling his shorts up. By the fourth round Castillo was working in the body shots and breaking Ngoudjo down. Ngoudjo was returning some tough shots and Castillo took them all. Ngoudjo landed left right combos with his back on the ropes, backing Castillo into the middle of the ring. Castillo returned the favors with uppercuts.

By the sixth round, Ngoudjo’s belt was just under his chest making it nearly impossible for Castillo to land anything above the waist considering there was nothing but chest and belt in his way. Ngoudjo fixed his shorts and came out strong in the seventh round but Castillo was still fighting stronger. They both exchanged a fair share of blows during the last ten seconds of the round. By the eight round the Colombian flag Ngoudjo had painted on the back of his head was fading out. By this time the referee took over and had to keep stepping in to break up the dance session.

Ngoudjo came out strong in the tenth round, but Castillo returned the blows with some fire behind it. Sweat was flying high now and the crowd was chanting “Mexico” as Castillo took the last shot of the round with his back in the corner. In the eleventh round Castillo took off with some good upper cuts and jabs while Ngoudjo returned with a few nice combos. Castillo was still working him over with body shots and Ngoudjo tried to end the round with some action and nearly head but Castillo. The last round was a dud. The referee spent more time talking and breaking the fighters up and the last ten seconds of the round was the worse of the entire fight. Both fighters spent a fair amount of time on the ropes and exchanged a few nice blows, but overall they were tired.

It was clear how upset Ngoudjo’s corner was, they were confident he won the fight. Bob Arum even showed some form of dismay after the decision was made and shook his hand as if he were still a champion. The crowd was in obvious disagreement with the outcome of the fight, booing at Castillo and cheering for Ngoudjo. Even as Ngoudjo was picked up the crowd cheered and ranted as if he were the winner, even after he left the ring. “I would like another chance to fight Castillo,” Ngoudjo said after the fight even pointing stating, “I want another chance to fight with you!”

Castillo out landed Ngoudjo in each of the last five rounds throwing 682 total punches, landing 245 at 36% while Ngoudjo threw 783, landing 280 at 27%. Castillo threw 153 jabs, landing 50 at 16% while Ngoudjo threw 309 only landing 50 at 16%. Out of power punches, Castillo threw 529, connecting 212 at 40% while Ngoudjo threw 474, landing 158 at 33%. It was a close and good fight, between both fighters they did their best and the strongest fighter ‘of this fight’ won.

“Of coarse I will give him the opportunity to fight again,” said Castillo. “I went a year without fighting,” so Castillo felt he was not up to par this fight. He looks forward now to fighting Hatton in June. Castillo feels very strong in the 140 weight category but he is thinking of going into the 147 category. But if he retires at 140, he will be okay with it. Right now he is “happy with the results” of his fight against Ngoudjo, but he is “not happy” with his “performance.”

As Hatton regains his IBF/IBO Jr. Welterweight title back and Castillo takes home the WBC Eliminator & NABF Jr. Welterweight titles, we have a good idea what the bout will be like when England and Mexico collide in June. Hatton plans to prepare for Castillo in June, but he has his eyes set on Floyd Mayweather Sr. He’s hoping Mayweather will move back down a division after he fights De La Hoya in May so he can get his shot at fighting the current world’s greatest fighter of the division before he turns 30. Hatton is 28 years old, so he’s looking for his shot soon.

Matthew Hatton (30-3-1, 11 KOs) from Manchester, England and Frank Houghtaling (19-13-5, 4 KOs) from Albany, New York fought for the vacant IBF International Welterweight title. Hatton won by TKO at the end of the seventh round when Frank’s corner stopped the fight between rounds. Frank suffered a cut under his left eye and it seemed to be worse than ever expected because he could not continue the fight. In the preliminary light heavyweight fight between Jon Ibbotson and Shannon Anderson, the fight was over before you could get warm in your seat. Ibbotson knocked Anderson out in 1:35 of the first round.

Article posted on 22.01.2007

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