Paris Hotel, Las Vegas
Manchester's Ricky Hatton reclaims his old IBF light welterweight crown from Juan Urango on his Las Vegas debut.
Hatton takes the decision and is the new IBF light welterweight champion of the world. All three judges scored the fight 119-109, but that is not a true reflection of a very tough fight for Hatton. The big question that will be asked after tonight is: is Ricky Hatton a fighter past his peak?
Hatton running on fumes in the final round but he gets through and should have this fight quite comfortably on the cards. I've got it 118-112 to Hatton, let's hope the judges see it the same way. Not pretty, in fact extremely ragged, but it's very much job done for Hatton, or so I believe.
One thing's for sure, the Yanks won't be overly-impressed with this display, as Hatton had hoped. But he's sucking it up and ploughing on. Big clash of heads and Urango looks to have come off worse. However, after the restart, Hatton walks on to a big right hand. Urango lifts his arm at the end of the round, but I'd call that even. I have Hatton 108-102 ahead going into the final round.
Hatton's trainer Billy Graham is concerned as he tells Hatton to simply last it out for the final nine minutes. "Suck it up" he tells Hatton, and we could be in for a very ragged final few rounds. More spoiling from Hatton, punching on the way in before tangling Urango up and preventing him from firing back. Hatton busier again and that should win him the round.
Hatton looking a little ragged as Urango lands with a couple of good, clean right hands. A lot of spoiling from Hatton but very little clean hitting. Urango's round for sure and it has to be hoped that Hatton is simply taking a breather.
Hatton's corner implore their man to grab a rest before the eighth and he continues to get his punches off before grabbing Urango. Hatton's round on work-rate, despite Urango raising his arms at the end of the stanza. It's not pretty, but Hatton is building a handy lead.
Urango lands with a left hand as Hatton leaves his chin out to dry but Hatton is fighting smart, spoiling on the inside and landing on the break. Another round for Hatton, but is he going to pay for this high work-rate in the final stretch? Urango looks in better nick than Hatton, but is well behind on the cards.
Low blow from Hatton and Urango takes a time out. The referee's not convinced and that could be a good sign for Hatton. A big clash of heads does not, mercifully, lead to a cut for Hatton. The round follows the same pattern as the last one, Hatton starting brightly before being worn down by the brute strength of Urango. Hatton took the round though, but is not making too much impression on Urango.
Hatton starts sharp, floating into range, letting flurries go and then darting out again. But Urango lands with a couple of hurtful body shots as Hatton fades in the final minute of the round. I'll give that round to Urango and there are signs that Hatton could have problems with Urango's strength in the final third.
Good right hook from Hatton and the Brit continues to circle his opponent and pick him off from distance. Hatton, as always, is shipping a punch or two but he looks to have too much ring-craft for Urango at the moment. Hatton, perhaps relaxing a bit, attempts a bolo punch, a la Sugar Ray Leonard. Nice touch.
Urango lands with a couple of big right hooks and Hatton needs to tighten up a bit and protect that chin. Hatton lands with some decent combinations of his own and probably stole the round in the final minute. One thing seems certain, Hatton's not going to take Urango out early.
Decent upper-cut from Hatton as he begins to find his range. Hatton has let tactics go out the window in his last couple of fights, but he has been more controlled so far, bouncing out of range and trying not to get caught up inside by the muscular Urango. Another round to Hatton who lands with a couple of good, crisp combinations.
Plenty of movement from Hatton and the signs are he's not going to meet Urango head on. Urango landing with a few as well, but it looks like first blood to Hatton.
BIG FIGHT BUILD-UP
0409 GMT: Michael Buffer doing the honours on the mic - and the Brits go wild for his "Let's get ready to rumble". Marvellous stuff. The roar as Hatton is introduced is something to behold. Urango not afforded the same respect - roars of "who are ya, who are ya?" as he is introduced. Let battle commence....
0404 GMT: Urango makes his way to the ring and looks confident and relaxed. Lots of shrewd money on Urango in Vegas, but the Brit fans don't care about that as he is assailed by a cacophony of boos. It's like the MEN Arena out there.
0402 GMT: Hatton makes his way to the ring to the strains of Blue Moon. He looks intense, as usual. The Paris Hotel has not seen the likes - 3,000 Brits going berserk. That's not really the done thing in American boxing arenas.
0352 GMT: Mexico's Jose Luis Castillo remains on course for a clash with Hatton after he gets a split-decision win over Cameroon's Herman Ngoudjo on the undercard at the Paris Hotel. The former two-time lightweight world champion is scheduled to meet Hatton in June - if the 'Hitman' can keep his side of the bargain. Castillo looked a little lacklustre, but has not fought in almost a year.
0345 GMT: Just seen Urango loosening up in his dressing room and, without wishing to scare any Hatton fans, he looks more like a middleweight than a light welter - very broad of back with huge shoulders. Hatton, while less muscled, looks lean and mean as ever as he goes through his paces with trainer Billy Graham next door.