The current EBU welter champ, Magic Matthew Hatton, will be travelling to the Honda Center, Anaheim, California on Saturday, March 5th, for a fateful encounter against widely acclaimed Mexican wunderkind, Saul Canelo Alvarez.
This is a bit of a novelty bout in that normally we don’t see EBU champs abandon lucrative title defenses to fly over the pond to challenge a red hot Mexican contender, but truth is that Magic Hatton has won all 6 of his fights in the US and should in theory feel relatively comfortable fighting a fighter looking like just another Irish fighter in Alvarez.
The comfort level won’t last long after the first bell chimes in since the 20 yr old Alvarez is in reality already near legendary in Mexico and hopefully wrangling his promoter, Golden Boy, to make this his breakout year. Hatton has also pressured his promoter into making this his biggest year, and his promoter is none other than acclaimed older brother, Ricky Hitman Hatton, who has strong Golden Boy ties which is the impetus for this classic confrontation.
The breaking news going in is that Golden Boy petitioned the WBC to make this a vacant WBC junior middleweight title fight since Alvarez is the #1 mandatory and “Silverbelt” holder.
The previous title holder was Manny Pacquiao who relinquished the belt shortly after winning it in his last fight against Antonio Margarito.
Magic Hatton is at a traditional athletic peak at age 29, and has a bit more ring experience, 299 ring rounds at 41-4-2, 17 KO to Canelo’s 213 rounds at 35-0-1, 26 KO, but experience seem to be his only advantage going into this bout. They are otherwise about the same size and strength with Canelo having a speed and power advantage and harder overall competition coming up the rankings compared to Hatton who has stepped up his competition recently to get to this point.
A significant common denominator is Lovemore N’dou whom Hatton struggled to a draw against whereas Alvarez laid a technical thrashing on him.
I’m thinking Alvarez is the big betting favorite here. Hatton is a strangely awkward fighter for being so technically oriented, but the few times I’ve seen him he always looks off balance and off his timing to start a bout. While his chin has proven solid at the Euro level, Alvarez is a grade above and could take him out early before Hatton warms and adjusts to the fight.
Many regard this as a mismatch with Magic Hatton being long derided as a joke because he never lived up to Ricky’s achievements, but few fighters ever do. Persistence pays dividends though since Magic Hatton has proven to be a solid fighter in his own right and seems to have finally won over the respect of the British boxing public. It helps that brother Ricky is no longer in fighting trim these days, preferring the role of promoter and thus relieving Matthew of the immediate comparisons.
Bottom line is that many in boxing see so much more untapped potential in Alvarez than they do Hatton, and doubtless that should be the case come fight night. More importantly, win, lose, or draw, both fighters will have increased their international exposure which is a win/win scenario for Golden Boy in what could be an entertaining bout if it manages to go more than a few rounds.
Young Canelo has a mean and hungry old school look about him this time out, so what say you tune in for the first hand results?