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Hatton relinquishes title to face Castillo

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

As expected, Ricky Hatton has chosen to vacate the IBF light welterweight title, avoiding a mandatory defense against Lovemore N'dou, and setting up a bigger payday against Jose Luis Castillo later this year.

It is the second time in as many years that Hatton has given up his belt.

The Hatton/Castillo fight is currently scheduled for June. The Hatton camp has stated that they were willing to negotiate with N'dou's management, and possibly even take the fight with him, but that the N'dou team wasn't forward in talking about the bout. Thus, they made the decision to vacate the belt and go forward with the big matchup against Castillo.

Even without the IBF title, Hatton will be defending the IBO belt, and Hatton/Castillo -- title belts or not -- is the biggest possible matchup at 140. It's an easy sell to HBO and to fight fans, and the majority of the audience will consider the two of them the best fighters in the division. Hatton/N'dou would have been much, much harder to sell in America, another complication as that is where Hatton is determined to fight now.

It's going to be a big late spring and early summer for boxing, with Oscar/Floyd, Hatton/Castillo, Cotto/Margarito, and perhaps another Mosley fight.

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