By Clive Bernath: Despite having fought above the 154lb limit just once in his 47 fight career European welterweight champion Matthew Hatton somehow finds himself challenging for the vacant WBC junior-middleweight title against undefeated Mexican Saul Alvarez at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Saturday night.
It is indeed a mystery as to how the WBC can justify matching Hatton against No.1 contender Alvarez without even being rated at 154lbs in their own rankings but thinking about it, since when has the WBC ever cared about what anyone thinks?
To be fair to Hatton it is not his fault that the WBC sanctioned his first genuine world title challenge without having proved himself at junior middleweight. And it has to be said that the unbeaten 20 year-old Mexican, who boasts an unbeaten record of 35-0-(26), starts a firm favourite against the British boxer. And yet despite all of the above, Matthew, is still oozing with confidence.
Speaking earlier this week at the final press conference a highly confident and motivated Matthew Hatton said: “Opportunities mean nothing if you don’t take them. I’ve prepared well, trained harder than ever and I’m well capable of winning.
“As the fight approaches, I am more and more confident every day. I’m going to beat him. I have no doubt in my mind. It’s going to be a great fight and 100% I am going to be the winner.”
Older brother Ricky may not be in the ring fighting with his younger brother but he too is extremely confident Matthew can become the second family member to become a world boxing champion. “Matthew is a fighter on a good roll,” insisted Ricky. “This is his first fight in the super welterweight division but seeing how he’s prepared, he is ready. I have 100% belief in my brother. He is the underdog but he’s made from the same fiber that I am. We’re not here for the payday. We’re here for the belt.”
Regardless of whether or not Hatton deserves to be facing No.1 contender Alvarez for the title vacated by pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao, credit where it is due. In an era when many over hyped undeserving contenders are manoeuvred into title shots by protective promoters it is refreshing to know there are still some boxers willing to travel to their opponent’s back yard and lay it all on the line against the odds.
March 4, 2011