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Boxing: Matthew Hatton takes on Mexican hot-shot Saul Alvarez

by Michael Penkman. Published Tue 01 Mar 2011 16:44

Matthew Hatton faces the fight of his life when he steps into the ring against Mexico’s next top boxing prospect Saul Alvarez.

He starts as massive underdog in the bout for the vacant WBC light-middleweight title on Saturday night.

Normally classed as a 147lbs welterweight, the Manchester man could be giving away some weight to the young gun when the bell rings at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California.

The clash was originally billed as a 150lbs catchweight contest, but could now be fought at the full 154lbs light-middleweight limit at the WBC’s behest.

They sanctioned the fight when Manny Pacquiao decided to vacate the title and drop back down to welterweight and defend his WBO strap against ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley.

The Filipino beat Antonio Margarito at a 150lbs catchweight in the Cowboys Stadium, Dallas to confirm his place as pound-for-pound king last November.

Some criticised the WBC’s decision to put the belt on the line in another catchweight fight, including Dave Coldwell - trainer of the WBC’s fourth ranked fighter Ryan Rhodes.

He described the decision as boxing politics at its worst.

“Last time the 154lb WBC title was fought for, one boxer weighed 150lb (Margarito) and the other 144lb (Pacquiao),” said Coldwell, who is also head of Hayemaker Boxing.

“Now two boxers are fighting that have never weighed more than 150lb and are really welterweights.”

However, harbouring no ill-feeling towards Hatton, he added: “I wish Matthew all the best in his fight for the world title.

“Any fighter would have to take up such a chance – it’s a dream come true for him.

The ‘Magic Man’ enters the contest unbeaten in his last nine fights.

He is current EBU welterweight champion and believes his bravery in taking on the fight is now being rewarded.

He said: “I took the fight before it was a world title fight because it’s a great opportunity.

“I was prepared to take on Alvarez at a catchweight of 150lb, so I think my bravery in taking a fight like this at a weight up has been rewarded.

"The weight has got to suit both fighters and if it's a fight that people want to see - and people do want to see this fight - I don't see a problem in fights taking place at catchweight.”

Unbeaten Alvarez, from Jalisco, Mexico takes a 35-0-1 record into the fight despite the fact he’s still only 20 years of age.

His record already reads like that of a seasoned champion, and he has won many admirers stateside.

Hatton, who drew with Lovemore N’dou for the IBO strap in 2009, travels to America desperate to follow in the footsteps of older brother Ricky by lifting a world title.

Should the 29-year-old emerge victorious, it would rank as up there even with greatest of ‘The Hitman’s’ victories.

Alvarez himself beat N’dou on points last December to claim the WBC Silver light-middleweight title in Veracruz, Mexico.

And it will take everything in Hatton’s arsenal to stop the man nicknamed ‘Canelo’ because of his striking red hair.

"From what I've seen of him he's an excellent young fighter,” Hatton said.

"He's a good all-rounder - he can fight, he can box, he's obviously got a lot of power - but like any other fighter he's got weaknesses.

"I'm a seasoned fighter and I feel as if physically and mentally I'm coming into my peak and producing the best form of my career.

“At this moment in our careers I feel I'll be more than a match for him."

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