Hatton vs. Castillo: Keys to victory

Kevin Iole

LAS VEGAS – Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo have promised to put on an explosive fight. Here is what each man must do to win in their fight Saturday for the IBO super lightweight title at the Thomas & Mack Center:

Hatton's keys
Castillo's keys
1. Keep a quick pace. One of the questions about Castillo is whether he's over the hill. By fighting at a quick pace, Hatton can make it more difficult on the 33-year-old veteran. 1. Use the uppercut. Even though Hatton likes to fight inside, he throws wide punches. Castillo can take advantage by going up the middle with an uppercut.

2. Jab to the body, then the head. Hatton will need his jab, but he can't get lazy with it. He must move it up and down to make Castillo think. 2. Punch on the clinch. Hatton is likely to grab Castillo to clinch if they're inside, so Castillo should take advantage to impress the judges and throw.

3. Counter the body work. When Castillo throws his left hook to the body, Hatton needs to throw the straight right hand to the head. 3. Concentrate on the body. Castillo is a master at going to the body and shouldn't forget it. He'll slow Hatton in the latter half of the fight if he's consistent with it early.

4. Avoid the ropes. Nobody is better at doing damage to an opponent pinned on the ropes than Castillo. 4. End combinations with left hook. If Castillo follows his right with a left hook, he is likely to catch Hatton with something big.

Rating the fighters

Comparison of Rickey Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:

Punching power 9 9 Both are punishing punchers.
Jab 7 7 Castillo is good at using his jab to set up his other shots.
Body attack 9 10 Broken ribs are a possibility for both men.
Speed and quickness 7 6 Neither man is fleet of hand or foot.
Defense 6 6 This will be an offensively oriented fight.
Chin 9 9 You have to be able to take it when you fight the way they do.
Stamina 8 7 Hatton has tired in the past, but looks phenomenal now.
Ring smarts 8 9 A veteran of 63 fights, Castillo knows all the tricks.
Corner 9 9 Castillo is back with Romulo Quirarte Sr.
Intangibles 8 10 Castillo needs the win to keep his career alive.

Total 80 82 They match up well, but expect Castillo to prevail in an entertaining slugfest.