Scorecard: Hatton, Castillo stay on course to meet

Dan Rafael recaps last week's notable boxing results from around the world.

Originally Published: January 22, 2007
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of last week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Sunday at Melbourne, Australia
Light heavyweight
Danny Green TKO2 Paul Murdoch
Records:Green, 23-3, 21 KOs; Murdoch, 26-7-1
Rafael's remark: Green won his second fight in a row at light heavyweight since moving up in weight following his emotional decision loss in May to rival Anthony Mundine in one of the biggest fights in Australian history.

Green took out Murdoch, also of Australia, in easy fashion. He dropped Murdoch near the end of the first round and continued the assault in the second, knocking him down with a left hook and forcing the referee to stop it at 1:05.

Green hopes the victory will pave the way for him to challenge the winner of the Feb. 24 bout between light heavyweight titlist Silvio Branco and Stipe Drews. Green would also like a rematch with Mundine, who would first have to clear the hurdle of Sam Soliman when they meet March 7 for a vacant super middleweight belt.

Saturday at Las Vegas
Junior welterweight
Ricky Hatton W12 Juan Urango
Retains Ring magazine title. Wins an alphabet title.
Scores: 119-109 (three times)
Records: Hatton, 42-0; Urango, 17-1-1
Rafael's remark: After a difficult debut in the welterweight division last May -- a disputed decision win against Luis Collazo to claim an alphabet belt -- Hatton gave up that belt and quickly retreated to the junior welterweight division he had previously dominated. This was his return, where he defeated the rugged Urango of Colombia, who had claimed one of the alphabet belts Hatton vacated when he moved up in weight.

The victory, as ugly as it was, came in front of 6,379 fans who filled the giant ballroom at Paris Las Vegas. Thousands of them were Hatton's passionate British fans who made the long trip to cheer for their hero. They'll follow him anywhere, and expect them back in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center on June 2 or June 23, when Hatton will defend his title against former two-time lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo, who won the cofeatured fight on the card to set up the super showdown.

We like Hatton in that fight, but Castillo, with his excellent body work, could give Hatton a lot of problems. Whatever happens, boxing fans will be treated to one of the best matches that can be made in boxing. And the best part is that it will be on HBO, not on HBO PPV.

Urango's first title defense did not go well as Hatton dominated him in a lopsided, but sometimes sloppy, fight. Urango's lone success came in the fifth round when he rattled Hatton with some hard body blows. Beyond that, Urango was completely ineffective. Although he marched forward all night, he could not land anything hard while Hatton peppered him with shots and tied him up when necessary.

Hatton's clutching and grabbing, however, got to be a little much for us to tolerate in the late rounds. There were times when we swear we were watching a John Ruiz fight. Maybe Hatton was running a little low on gas late in the fight, which wouldn't be a surprise considering that he took off some 40 pounds during training camp in order to make weight.

Junior welterweight
Jose Luis Castillo W12 Herman Ngoudjo
Title eliminator.
Scores: 115-113 (twice) Castillo; 115-113 Ngoudjo
Records: Castillo, 55-7-1; Ngoudjo, 15-1
Rafael's remark: Castillo, a former two-time lightweight champion, was very lucky to escape with a split decision, a victory that made him the eventual mandatory challenger for titlist Junior Witter. However, Castillo has no intention of going for that belt because his victory and Ricky Hatton's victory in the main event set up their showdown for Hatton's belt on June 2 or June 23 in Las Vegas.

Castillo was officially fighting in the junior welterweight division for the first time, although he did it in his last fight 11 months ago, when he blew weight for a lightweight championship fight against Diego Corrales and knocked him out in an over-the-weight nontitle fight. They were supposed to meet for a rubber match last June, but again, Castillo came in too heavy and the fight was canceled. Castillo spent the final six months of 2006 under suspension and had to pay Nevada officials a $250,000 fine.

Although he made weight without an issue, Castillo was rusty in his return against Ngoudjo, a 2000 Olympian from Cameroon now living in Canada. Castillo struggled through the first half of the fight before turning up his intensity just enough to overtake Ngoudjo, who we would like to see more of against some of the better young fighters in the division. Although relatively unknown and inexperienced, Ngoudjo gave Castillo a very tough fight, but fell just short of the upset.

Saturday at London
junior welterweight
Junior Witter TKO9 Arturo Morua
Retains a junior welterweight title.
Records: Witter, 35-1-2, 20 KOs; Morua, 24-8-1
Rafael's remark: Most new titleholders like an easy payday in their first defense, and that's just what Witter got -- an opponent with virtually no chance to win.

The slick Brit was making the first defense of the vacant belt he won via decision against former titlist DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in September. Witter started slowly, but gained steam as the fight went on. He rocked Morua, 28, of Mexico, in the ninth with a combination and referee Tim Adams gave him a standing eight count. Witter then pinned Morua in the corner and threw punches until Adams had to call it off.

Witter, 32, next must face the winner of the Feb. 10 eliminator between Vivian Harris and Juan Lazcano. Witter, however, desperately wants to face rival Ricky Hatton, which is not under consideration by the Hatton camp. Witter and his camp also have mentioned their desire to fight former lightweight and junior lightweight champ Diego "Chico" Corrales, but according to Corrales promoter Gary Shaw, the Corrales camp has zero interest in the match.

Because of Witter's defensive style and his lack of economic muscle, he will have a hard time finding a significant money fight, especially with virtually no interest in him at the American TV networks.

Saturday at Basel, Switzerland
Heavyweight
Nikolai Valuev TKO3 Jameel McCline
Retains a heavyweight title.
Records: Valuev, 46-0, 34 KOs; McCline, 38-7-3
Rafael's remark: The biggest title fight in boxing history was also a big bust.

Valuev (7 foot, 322 pounds) and McCline (6-foot-6, 268), at a combined 13 feet, 6 inches and 590 pounds, combined for the tallest and heaviest title fight ever. However, it was over before it really got going. It ended in freak fashion when, right at the bell to end the third round, McCline swung and then fell to the canvas with torn ligaments in his left knee, which caused his kneecap to pop out of place. He was unable to continue and was taken out of the ring on a stretcher, ending his third title opportunity in abrupt and disappointing fashion.

It had been a competitive fight to that point and McCline, 36, had a good third round. Valuev, 33, however, successfully defended his belt for the third time against his third second-tier opponent in a row. He moved within three defenses of matching the hallowed 49-0 mark of Rocky Marciano, but next up is a dangerous mandatory defense against southpaw Ruslan Chagaev, who defeated John Ruiz in far easier fashion than Valuev did.

Friday at Phoenix
Junior featherweight
Juan Manuel Lopez TKO6 Cuauhtemoc Vargas
Records: Lopez, 15-0, 13 KOs; Vargas, 15-2-1
Rafael's remark: Lopez, 23, is one of the brightest prospects in boxing and by end of the year, the southpaw could be a significant factor in his division.

The 2004 Puerto Rican Olympian is the island's best rising star since Miguel Cotto emerged from the 2000 Olympics. Lopez's performance in the "ShoBox" main event against Vargas, 22, of Mexico, was impressive. He was ahead 60-54 on all three scorecards and giving Vargas -- not a bad prospect in his own right -- a beating when he retired on his stool. Lopez, who like Cotto is promoted by Top Rank, outboxed Vargas, outslugged him and made a big impression on those watching.

Junior welterweight
Victor Ortiz Tech. Draw 1 (accidental foul) Marvin Cordova
Records: Ortiz, 16-1-1; Cordova, 12-0-1
Rafael's remark: What a shame this one ended like it did. Ortiz, one of our favorite prospects, had easily won the exciting first round, and it appeared as though it was only a matter of time until he knocked Cordova out.

However, just before the bell ended the first round, Cordova, 22, smashed Ortiz on the forehead with an inadvertent elbow. It opened a gaping cut and Ortiz's blood spewed out in one of the nastiest scenes we've ever seen. The fight was stopped in the corner after the round because there was no way the bleeding could be stopped; the cut was down to Ortiz's bone.

Ortiz, 19, will be out of action until at least April, according to manager Cameron Dunkin. Hopefully, when he returns, we'll see a rematch so Ortiz and Cordova -- who was interested in slugging it out with Ortiz -- can finish their business.

Friday at Key West, Fla.
Junior welterweight
Randall Bailey TKO2 Harrison Cuello
Records: Bailey, 35-5, 32 KOs; Cuello, 13-5-2
Rafael's remark: First, Bailey was supposed to face Adrian Mora, who pulled out for unspecified reasons. Then he was supposed to fight Michael Warrick, but he failed an eye exam. That left Cuello, of the Dominican Republic, to take the fight on two days' notice, no easy assignment when you are facing Bailey, 32, a former titleholder and a massive puncher. So it should come as no surprise that Bailey scored two knockdowns in the second round en route to a knockout of Cuello in the "Friday Night Fights" main event.

It was the Bailey's seventh consecutive win since he was overwhelmed and stopped in the sixth round by Miguel Cotto in a December 2004 title bout. All seven wins have come against very weak opposition, but another title opportunity isn't out of the question for Bailey, who could win another belt because of his superb power.

Friday at San Juan
Junior welterweight
Henry Bruseles W12 Wilfredo Negron
Scores: 119-109, 118-110, 117-111
Records: Bruseles, 25-3-1; Negron, 25-11
Rafael's remark: Almost three years to the day after Bruseles knocked out Negron out in the seventh round of their all-action first fight, they met again in the Telefutura main event. Bruseles didn't get the knockout this time, but he thoroughly dominated his Puerto Rican countryman to hand Negron his third consecutive defeat.

Bruseles won his fourth in a row since January 2005, when Floyd Mayweather slaughtered him in eight one-sided rounds. The victory for Bruseles could pave the way to a title bout with Ricardo Torres.

Friday at Edmonton
Cruiserweight
Darnell "Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson TKO2 Dale Brown
Records: Wilson, 20-5-3, 17 KOs; Brown, 35-6-1
Rafael's remark: Wilson had lost four fights in a row before rebounding to knock out Daniel Judah (Zab Judah's brother) in September. Now, Wilson, 32, has his second win in a row and the most significant victory of his career as he upset Brown, the perennial contender looking for another title opportunity.

Wilson, fighting on Brown's turf, knocked Brown down in the first round with a flurry of punches and knocked him down again in the second before the referee called it off. Brown, 35, was coming off a technical decision loss to Shane Swartz, but that was an aborted fight that ended in the fifth round because of a head butt. In May 2005, Brown lost one of the most controversial decisions of the year when he was outpointed by O'Neil Bell for a vacant title. It was Brown's third crack at a title, and with this loss to Wilson, probably his last.

Thursday at Houston
Heavyweight
Lou Savarese TKO3 Travis Fulton
Records: Savarese, 45-6, 37 KOs; Fulton, 16-15
Rafael's remark: Remember Big Lou? He fought George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Michael Grant and Kirk Johnson. Of course, he lost all of those fights, but Savarese was a second-tier contender for several years in the late '90s. After consecutive losses to Johnson and Leo Nolan and an arm injury, Savarese, 41, left the scene in May 2004. He returned to clobber journeyman Marcus Rhode in March 2006.

Now, Savarese's back again. He dropped Fulton three times in the second round and twice more in the third before the drubbing was called off.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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