Saturday, June 23, 2007

:boxing: War or Bore?:: Hatton vs. Castillo

Junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton has not had the most storied of journeys in the United States. Once a feared, vicious, unrelenting fighter, "The Hitman" has engaged in a number of battles that thrilled few and seemingly wiped away the venier that has accumulated over his 40+ fight career. Though victorious in every single one, an unexciting and slow beating of Carlos Maussa, and back-to-back struggles with Luis Collazo and Juan Urango have many questioning whether the 28 year old has past his apex. One can point to a good degree of issues that have supported this, such as his growing reliance on grabbing and "wrestling" tactics, his greater susceptibility to getting hit, the taxing brawler/heavy volume punching style that is his bread-and-butter, and his own publicized thoughts of retirement. On the other side of the ring is another big name fighter that has become known more for sleep-inducing waltzes than all-out, all-heart wars, Jose Luis Castillo. The veteran Mexican appears to be beyond the days of giving Floyd Mayweather, Jr. a run for his money and the late Diego Corrales the fight of the century. Rather, he has been listless in his most recent fights (Rolando Reyes, Herman Ngoudjo) and nearly sullied the aura of the first fight with his controversial victory in his rematch with Corrales and the infamous cancellation of the third, where a twice-overweight Castillo was fined and suspended for his transgression.

All things considering, one questions what the nature of this bout will be. If it were based on the past, it could potentially be capable of meeting that aforementioned "fight of the century" caliber. If it were based on the present, we could be on hand for a lower weight-class rendition of Byrd-Williamson. I'd gather that it will be in the middle, but more in terms of what we have been seeing from both fighters of recent. Hatton's costly style and Castillo's long fighting career (sixteen years and counting) are finally catching up to them, so while they may not fight with the fervor that made them beloved figures in the world of boxing any longer, we just might be able to see at least a few spurts from the past, tonight.

However, history dictates that the brawler does not fare well when being brawled against. Castillo is one who tends to fight the style of fight that his opponent employs and Hatton has not faired completely well against others willing to brawl with him.

Prediction: Castillo by late-round KO (10th-12th), or unanimous decision (in okay action).

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