A brief sabbatical denied me opportunity to opine on the Ricky Hatton v Jose Luis Castillo bout, but those with whom I debate the boxing issues of the day on the various boxing forums will know I fancied Hatton to demolish Castillo early from the day the bout was signed. I’m aware this whiffs of convenient revisionism but the evidence is there in black and white (or whatever background colour the site in question defaults to).
Castillo was an ideal opponent; ageing, ring-weary and coming up in weight. He may speak publicly of the frustration he felt during the degeneration of his relationship with Sports Network, but it is clear Hatton learned a great deal about match-making.
Since the bout, one I’ve now watched five times, a myriad of potential opponents emerged. From Floyd Mayweather, via Paulie Maglinaggi to Junior Witter, Soulemanye M’Baye and Gavin Rees – the list is long and varied in profile and competitiveness. Mayweather is obviously the holy grail. He brings the kudos of his status as the pound for pound greatest fighter on earth and by association, weight in any PPV handshake following his victory over Oscar DeLaHoya.
Arguably the most staggering news in the aftermath of Hatton’s excellent performance was the news he is once again willing to sit and talk about future fights with Frank Warren’s Sports Network. The fact they’re in the same room is surprise enough. News they may be considering some kind of partnership – Hatton is now a free agent following the conclusion of his 3 fight agreement with Fight Academy – caused a collective drawing of breath.
On reflection, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Warren has the venue, Hatton’s MEN, tied up and he remains arguably more qualified to negotiate with the major American power-brokers than any of his domestic contemporaries. Golden Boy Promotions may yet re-enter the race to sign Hatton, who guarantees bums on seats and excitement for those bums too. Well mostly. He’s a rare commodity within a sport facing up to an apocalyptic post Tyson, Jones, DLH, Hamed, Holyfield, Morales and Gatti future.
His amiable boy next door routine, genuine or otherwise, proved popular in America and though I never doubted his ability to crush the veteran Mexican, his performance still represented a significant return to form and this writer hopes that form is utilised before year end in meaningful combat. Hatton’s peak will be fleeting. Lost months simpy cannot be tolerated.