Hatton speaks about Urango, Mayweather and more

By Rea Frey


Hatton speaks about Urango, Mayweather and more

Undefeated world junior welterweight champion Ricky “Hitman” Hatton will take on undefeated Juan “Iron Twin” Urango Saturday, January 20, 2007 at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Manchester, England native Hatton is making his Las Vegas debut in hopes of reclaiming the IBF title he once owned but which is now held by Colombian southpaw Urango. Both fighters discussed the upcoming HBO bout, which will co-feature Jose Luis Castillo and Herman Ngoudjo. “It’s a pinnacle for a fighter’s career to fight in Las Vegas,” Hatton began. “It’s the place to be. A lot of my fans have been waiting for this for a number of years. I’m very happy to be here. Training is going great.”

Urango agreed. “We’ve been training hard for the last three months now. We’re looking forward to fighting Ricky Hatton.”

Hatton was first questioned about his welterweight win against Luis Collazo. Hatton won a close decision to capture the WBA welterweight title, but is moving back down to 140 with this fight.  “I never really felt comfortable at welterweight,” he began. “We went searching around for a suitable opponent. Luis Collazo was it. I went more for the challenge than anything. I really never had any intention of moving up to welterweight. Really, I would have liked to fight at junior welterweight. I had only seven or eight weeks to get up to the welterweight division. I think the preparation was on the rough side. You usually need two or three fights, and I wasn’t given that luxury, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I would like to be eased into the weight division. Even Floyd Mayweather didn’t fight a world champion his first fight. I think if I had more time to grow into the welterweight, I’d perform better. I think naturally that junior welterweight is my division.”

Hatton then discussed Urango. “He’s a very good fighter. He has a good amateur pedigree. He’s in your face all the time. He’s my kind of fighter. He goes for the knockout. Styles make fights and this will be an exciting fight. He doesn’t step backwards and neither do I. He’s a handful. He’s a very dangerous fighter. He’s a good puncher.”

When Urango was asked if fighting Hatton was a career breakthrough, he said it was. “Most definitely. This is an opportunity that’s come upon me. God’s put me where I’m at today. You become the best by beating the best.”

Hatton admitted that he would love to fight Castillo if he comes out victorious. But he insists it is not effecting his concentration on his current fight against Urango. “I’ve only got one person on my mind at the minute,” he said. “I do look forward to the fight with Jose Castillo, but that’s a super fight, that’s a dream fight. Knowing that’s in the distance gives me an incentive to accomplish this one. Urango is very, very strong. He’s got good boxing skills. If you’re not on your game, you’ll get beat. I’m 100% focused on my opponent. I have a decent boxing brain as well. I feel like after watching Urango’s tapes, I feel like I’ve figured him out pretty good.”

Hatton was then asked about Mayweather and the possibility of a future fight. “Floyd is considered by most as the best pound-for-pounder in the world. Obviously, he’s got a big fight coming up with Oscar. There are rumors that this may be Floyd’s last fight. I have no problem with fighting up at welterweight again. But the only fights I would look at in moving up to welterweight are Floyd or maybe Miguel Cotto. I want to win my title back, which I know I can do. If Floyd is still fighting, then I would get my dream fight. It’s a fight I’ve always wanted. There are some good fighters in the junior welterweight division, but I’m more into fighting the big names. This is my tenth year as a pro. I’m looking at two to three years when I’d like to retire. I’m looking for the most meaningful fights out there.”

Urango then explained why he thought he could win this fight. “I’m recognized as a good boxer, a good power puncher, a good athlete,” he said. “I’m natural. And everything I have is not mine – it’s up above. It’s God. I’m very disciplined. I’m doing this to dedicate to Columbia and to the whole world.”

Hatton and his trainer Billy Graham then spoke about Hatton’s arm, saying it was perfectly fine (Hatton’s own camp had issued a press release about the injury), before segueing into how his weight transition went for this fight. “I am very big for a junior welterweight. It has never been easy for me to make 140. I have a great team around me, a fabulous nutritionist. I’ve had a very long training camp, because, unfortunately, I had only one fight last year. I’ve done a 13-14 week training camp to bring my weight down gradually. I don’t fight like a typical British fighter,” he continued. “My style is more like a Mexican fighter. That’s why my reputation is big as it is. I don’t think anyone will be falling asleep on January 20, 2007. The fans are on for a winner.” Amidst those fans will be about 3,000 British fans, all coming over to support their boxing favorite, Ricky Hatton.

One reporter asked about Urango’s life and the differences he’s found in the United States. “I come from the country. It’s very hardworking. You’re out there and you’re working hard every day. I’ve been in the [United] States for about four years now. I come from Colombia, the country with rivers, farms, cattle, horses. America is a different place. Everything’s advanced. I thank God for the opportunity to come to the U.S. to give my family a future. God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but of power, dominance and love.”

The conversation then turned a bit more personal when Hatton was asked about missing not only the holidays with his family, but his son’s sixth birthday. “Campbell’s sixth birthday is today. Every birthday is special, but when your kids are five and six, it’s very special. They go from being babies to little people. I love my sons to bits. It’s one of many sacrifices I have had to make for this fight. It makes you more determined to get the job done. I’m doing all this for him, to give him a better life. It’s hard, but it’s what makes the success all the sweeter.”

And seeing his name in lights on the strip? “From where I come from, fighting at men’s clubs to this – it’s unbelievable. When my family comes over, they’re going to see my name in lights. It’s quite emotional, to be perfectly honest. It makes me determined to put on a good show.”

A final reporter asked about Hatton becoming a household name in America, and why he thinks fighters like Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya have kept audiences captivated for years. “That’s my next goal, really. I want to be one of the few fighters from Great Britain who becomes as successful over here as I have back home. Mike Tyson just has that aura about him. You’d probably pay money to watch Mike Tyson just step in the ring. Oscar De La Hoya is a complete puncher. You’ve got this soft-spoken person who’s not disrespectful to anyone. They like to see a good family man. The reputation he has in the U.S., I’ve got in England. Tyson, you never know what he’s going to do next. He can be rough at times and then completely gentle.”

And if his son, Campbell, wanted to box? “If he wanted to go into boxing, I’d support him. It’s character building, to say the least. It’s the greatest sport in the world. It’s given me a fantastic life. No father wants to see their son get punched, of course. It baffles me sometimes as to how my mom and dad are at ringside every fight and how they’ve put up with it. Watching Campbell would be quite a frightening experience. I’d much rather see him play football for Manchester City. But if he wanted to box, he’d have 100% backing. It’s made me the person I am today.”

“I respect Mr. Hatton greatly,” Urango concluded. “I have observed that Hatton likes to jump around a lot in the ring. I will attack all aspects of Mr. Hatton’s body and launch my attack in that fashion. But it’s not just about beating Ricky Hatton. It’s about giving God the glory. It’s about people knowing who I am and that I’m here to stay and win. I’m ready. I’m 100%. I’m coming to fight. I’m coming to win.”

Two fighters, one goal. Tune in to HBO on January 20, 2007 to see these two undefeated champions battle in out in Las Vegas at the Paris Hotel.