Don't let the picture fool you. On Saturday night, when Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo step into the ring, things won't look so friendly. Both fighters have shown great respect for one another, but know Saturday night will be a war as they both are relentless attacking fighters. Something has to give. I'll tell you this much, both men won't back down. If they both come into the fight well conditioned, I can guarantee this will be better than Cotto vs.
The fight starts at and will be televised on HBO. No excuses to miss this one; the dreaded PPV money collection from friends won't be necessary.
Hatton enters Saturday’s fight with a record of 42-0 and 30 KO's. Castillo, on paper at least, boasts a less formidable record at 55-7-1 with 47 KO's . The fighters come into the fight at different points in their career. Hatton, 28, the up and coming star looking to prove himself on the biggest stage, has never fought a seasoned warrior like Castillo.
Jose Louis Castillo:
Castillo, 33, has battled the likes of Floyd Mayweather (2 times), Diego Corralles (2 times), and Stevie Johnston (2 times) ; constantly proving himself as one of the greatest fighters of the last 10-12 years. In fact, Castillo vs. Corralles 1 is one of the greatest fights of the last 20 years, and many argue it ranks as one of the best of all time. Castillo was TKO'd in the 10th round after scoring two knockdowns in the same round.. In their rematch, Castillo KO'd Corralles in the 4th round. It was the only time Corralles failed to get up before the count reached 10!
More impressive, was Castillo vs. Mayweather 1, which was by far Floyd's most controversial fight on his unblemished career record. Castillo was leading on all analysts scorecards, but Floyd scored a UD over Castillo. Try to find some highlights of that first fight on the internet, and I think you'll understand why the decision is so disputed. I am not a boxing expert, but it appears that Castillo did more than enough to win the fight. Castillo vs. Mayweather 2 was Floyd's closest scorecard win prior to the De La Hoya decision as all three judges gave Floyd the fight at 115-113.
Age is also a huge concern for Castillo. Many believe he is over the hill and has stopped training enough for his fights. He has a lot of mileage in the ring as he's fought the best fighters in his division the last 10 years and was Julio Cesar Chavez' main sparring partner for three years prior to 1996. Chavez was a vicious fighter and one of, if not the most, revered figures in
Castillo has also dealt with serious weight issues over the past couple years which cost him a rubber match with Diego Corralles in June of 06'.
"Serious weight problems -- rarely a good sign -- also surfaced for Castillo in his rematch with Corrales in October of 2005. For the first time in his career, Castillo failed to make weight, coming in three and a half pounds over the 135 limit. Stripped of his title, he went on the next night to knockout Corrales in the fourth round. The last scheduled fight of the trilogy was for June last year. Again Castillo couldn't make weight, coming in at whopping 139 Â½ pounds. The bout was scrapped, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission fined Castillo $250,000, suspended him for the rest of the year and banned him from fighting below 140 pounds in the state." (HBO Sports)
Hatton has already said that he will not fight Castillo if he comes in over 140 lbs., and Castillo can kiss the rest of career goodbye if he doesn't make weight.
Hatton's most impressive victory is probably his 11th round TKO of Kostya Tszyu in 2005. Tszyu had beaten Zab Zudah in 2001 and a tough fighter named Shamba Williams who I just recently became aware of. Hatton was the underdog going into the fight, but his relentless style eventually was too much for Tszyu. I think its important to mention that Tszyu was 35 when this fight took place and definitely not in the prime of his career.
More recently, Hatton fought Carlos Maussa to obtain the WBA 140 lb. belt that will be fought for this Saturday. Hatton scored a ninth round TKO in the bloody battle. Maussa was also knocked out by Cotto a few years ago, and lost to a fighter with a combined 20-7 record his last time out.
Hatton is a true grinder and "old-school" fighter. He is always moving forward, throwing tough body punches, and taking shots. He has a devastating left hook that he likes throwing to both the body and head. Hatton usually attempts to wear his opponents down with punishing body shots and then double up with a big left hook to the chin or a sweeping right. His most important attribute might be his courage under fire, but I think he's met his match in Castillo.
Hatton has dealt with some weight issues as well. Hatton has continued to put on upwards of 20 pounds between fights. He looks like a little chubby kid in the attached picture. He has consistently been in decent shape for his fights, but many opponents claim he starts to hold in the championship rounds, which only indicates he is fatigued.
Hatton has a lot to prove. He hasn't fought anyone near as tested as Castillo as I have mentioned. He thinks he is up for it saying ""I'm not saying I took Collazo or Urango lightly but with all due respect they were not big names and perhaps without realizing it I got a bit complacent. But because I am fighting the guy who I am fighting, I think without realizing it I will find a bit extra. I've been walking around snarling for two weeks and I didn't have that for my last two fights."
I have to go with Castillo in the mid to late rounds. I know I always pick the underdog, but think Castillo is going to come out fighting. Castillo has a steel jaw and will welcome Hatton's attacks. Castillo is quoted as saying, "I know this fight is going to be a bloody war. I am going to win that war." Simple and to the point.
Hatton has never faced this kind of pressure, and hasn't proven enough to me. My prediction might be different if I had seen more of his fights, but that's not the case, so I am sticking to my guns.
Get ready for a brawl.