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Matthew Hatton vs Saul Alvarez - a preview


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Matthew Hatton vs Saul Alvarez - a preview


On March 5th “Magic” Matthew Hatton faces his date with destiny. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (left) offers a chance to emerge into the limelight, in a potentially career defining fight, which will see Hatton move on to bigger fights at welterweight and a world title shot if he wins.


With all the hype surrounding Alvarez, his unbeaten record and his extreme youth, it seems that the pressure lies with Hatton to make a statement, rather than the other way around. If Alvarez wins, he will have simply won another high class learning fight against a tough opponent and will continue his apparently inexorable march. If Hatton wins, it will probably be viewed as an upset, and no doubt increase his marketability and add a touch of notoriety.


On paper, the two men appear rather similar at first. Both are a similar height, both have over 200 rounds of experience in the professional ring and both men had limited amateur careers, with around 20 contents each in the unpaid ranks.


However, that is where the similarities end.


Alvarez is a young sensation, with the charisma and good looks that are so coveted in a potential superstar in the making. He has already established an ardent following in his native Mexico and has been building a US fanbase in three of his last four fights. He has looked impressive in his last two fights, adding the scalps of ageing veterans Lovemore Ndou and Carlos Baldomir to his list of victories. Under Golden Boy Promotions, he is effectively being presented as the next De La Hoya as he marches towards his first full world title.


Enter Hatton. Coming off a nine fight unbeaten streak and currently the reigning European champion, things have certainly changed for Hatton, especially now under the tutelage of trainer, Bob Shannon. Hatton’s previous problems with trainers in the past are well documented and have no doubt had a negative effect on the public’s perception of his career. But now the focus appears to be firmly on him and he is reaping the dividends, in the shape of his European honours.


The only hiccup has been his dubious draw with Ndou last year (I thought Hatton shaded it enough for the majority decision against Ndou’s negative tactics). Having fought regularly in 2010 against decent opposition, he is now in a proper position to challenge Alvarez. In Hatton, Alvarez meets a tough and seasoned boxer. Hatton has perfected his high guard defence and his long arms make it difficult to tag him cleanly with any regularity. True enough, Nuzhnenko put Hatton down when the two of them met for the European title last year, but Hatton appeared completely unfazed by shot.


His only actual stoppage was way back in 2003 against journeyman David Keir, who cut him in a fight that Hatton was winning. So he has a solid chin.


As Hatton demonstrated against Belge in his latest fight, he can dig when he needs to, especially to the body, imitating his brother’s masterful ability to attack the body. However, Hatton’s strength lies in his conditioning and his ability to box smoothly and effectively.


In Alvarez, Hatton meets a highly confident top prospect, who is being guided well by his team. He has youth, speed, and a tidy boxing style in which he comes forward with a high guard. Additionally he has a clear motivation – his native fame and fanbase.


Alvarez has proven his boxing credentials by handling the tricky Ndou in a near shut-out decision and he has demonstrated his power by knocking out the previously indestructible Baldomir. Whilst the knockout was certainly a good result for Alvarez, Baldomir is 39, a slow boxer who relied on his stamina and toughness to get through to the later rounds. When he met Alvarez he had been out of the ring for nearly a year. Moreover, Alvarez kayoed Baldomir with a culmination of shots, most of which punished Baldomir accurately before that final fateful left hand. It was as if Baldomir’s 60-plus fights had finally caught up with him. That said, Baldomir stated after the fight that Alvarez has impressive power, which coming from “Tata”, can be taken as gospel, given his breadth of experience.


Alvarez is reaching the first peak of his career and it will not be derailed easily. He certainly presents himself as a polished product already. At this point it is hard to judge the outcome of the fight. Hatton will have to box out of his skin in order to control the fight and edge out Alvarez. His work rate will have to be high, whilst maintaining an impeccable defence. He cannot afford to let Alvarez’s shots slip past his guard as he did in the Nuzhnenko fight.


If he can maintain consistent lateral movement and adapt when necessary, then I think Hatton can pull off an upset, and win over 12 rounds.


But against Alvarez he must have an answer for everything, especially since he is fighting in neutral territory and will be forced to demonstrate any superiority fully to the judges. For Alvarez his youth, recent activity and ultimately his shere determination (given that his unbeaten status and evident national pride is at stake) may just carry the day.


My heart says Hatton, but my head says Alvarez.



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Such a shame that Ricky decided to choose this opportunity over a potential world title one. It's baffling, really.


To his credit Matthew Hatton doesnt wanna be know for ducking Alveraz and taking on worse opponent Senchenko who happens to be WBA champ.


Can't really understand how having a title fight can be seen as ducking a prospect. The only reasons he's fighting Saul are money and recognition, esp if he wins

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