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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 10:02 GMT
Hatton camp backs referee choice
Cortez refereed Hatton's win over Jose Luis Castillo
Cortez refereed Hatton's win over Jose Luis Castillo

Hatton v Mayweather
Date: Sunday, 9 December
Starts from: 0100 GMT
Location: Las Vegas
Watch: Sky pay-per-view
Listen: BBC Radio 5 Live
Updates: BBC Sport website and mobile

Ricky Hatton's team have given their approval to the appointment of Joe Cortez as referee for Saturday's showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

Cortez oversaw Hatton's win over Jose Luis Castillo in the summer with no complaints from the Briton's camp.

Trainer Billy Graham had voiced concerns that a weaker official might attempt to rein in the fighter's trademark rugged style.

"All we want is a fair shake and hopefully we'll get one," said Graham.

The veteran Puerto Rican is deemed more likely to allow Hatton to draw Mayweather into a close up confrontation, which many feel is his best chance of victory.

Graham also hopes the referee is not tempted to bring the fight to a premature end because of cuts.

"I'm a realist", he said. "I always worry about facial injuries and cuts but we've got a great cuts man in Mick Williamson and I hope we've got a referee who is not squeamish."


Mayweather has already drawn attention to what he sees as Hatton's aggressive approach, insisting the Briton should have been penalised for excessive use of his elbows during his win over Kostya Tszyu.

But Hatton is taking encouragement from the fact that the closest Mayweather has come to defeat was in his first fight with Castillo, another come-forward opponent, in 2002.

Hatton said: "In his first fight, was Castillo's footwork as good as Ricky Hatton's? Was his body punching as good? Is he as big a hitter? Does he have as much boxing ability?

"I would have to say no to all of them. I think even in his prime I am better in every department."

Castillo himself believes Hatton can cause an upset in Las Vegas on Saturday.

He said: "Mayweather is very quick and sharp but Hatton throws a lot of heavy punches, moves better and is faster than people believe.

"Hatton is a very proud, strong fighter and he can win. I have no doubt about that."

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