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The other Hatton has something to prove in Matthew Hatton-Saul Alvarez fight

Overshadowed by older brother Ricky Hatton, English fighter Matthew Hatton is also a 14-to-1 underdog against phenom Saul Alvarez. Lighter and older than his Mexican opponent, Matthew Hatton is counting on experience.

March 04, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Matthew Hatton poses during the official weigh-in for his fight Saturday against Saul Alvarez at Honda Center.
Matthew Hatton poses during the official weigh-in for his fight Saturday… (Hae C. Hong / Associated…)

It's not easy being a pedestrian boxer whose older brother is a world champion, and it's even more painful being a 14-to-1 underdog to a 20-year-old kid projected as the sport's next big thing.

But Matthew Hatton has the same blood lines that his big brother Ricky Hatton used to rally from the beer-and-darts pub crawl in Manchester, England, to claim world titles in two divisions.

So when a promoter asked if Matthew Hatton, 29, would move up a weight class to fight Mexican phenom Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (35-0-1, 26 knockouts) for the vacant World Boxing Council junior-middleweight belt Saturday at Anaheim's Honda Center, the Brit accepted.

Alvarez weighed in twice Friday, both times over the contractually agreed-upon catchweight limit of 150 pounds. In the later weigh-in, Alvarez weighed 151.4 pounds.

But Matthew Hatton did not back out of the fight after agreeing to additional financial payments and Saturday weight-limit stipulations on Alvarez. "My brother bent over backwards to make this fight happen, even after 'Canelo' Alvarez put it in jeopardy," Ricky Hatton said Friday.

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya said Alvarez will have to pay Matthew Hatton a penalty beyond the $70,000 that Alvarez owes his opponent and the California State Athletic Commission for weighing in over the 150-pound limit.

"To me, the fight was never threatened by cancellation, but [the weight] was a concern to Ricky, and he's looking out for his brother, which you have to respect," De La Hoya said.

Even when the bout was made months ago, Ricky Hatton briefly bemoaned his brother's decision to the fighters' father.

"I know a lot of people see me as underdog," Matthew Hatton said. "But I'm sure I'm going to win that fight."

Matthew Hatton (41-4-2, 16 KOs) is touting newfound career momentum, his experience and his punching speed as the factors for an upset. Alvarez "is a fantastic prospect, but he's only 20, and I believe at this point in my career, I'm the better fighter," Matthew Hatton said. "People are writing me off too, so there's no pressure on me."

Matthew Hatton has long been written off as the other Hatton.

He had a 22-fight amateur career after trying kick-boxing as a youth and was often relegated to solo shadow boxing during the public workouts Ricky Hatton conducted for his super-fights in the U.S. against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007 and his swan-song knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.

"I had a slow-burning career," Matthew Hatton says now.

After losing a May 2008 decision to journeyman Craig Watson in Manchester, Matthew Hatton found a new trainer and took a more professional, cerebral approach to the sport.

"He dug deep, worked hard and showed a little sacrifice. I'm certainly proud of him," Ricky Hatton said.

Matthew Hatton is 8-0-1 in his past nine fights.

Ricky Hatton, at age 32, insists he's retired for good, that "there's no fire in my belly, I have no ambition to train again." He still loves the anticipation before a big fight, especially with his kid brother involved.

"People have left him as Ricky Hatton's brother, but something's telling me Alvarez isn't ready yet, that it might be the right fight at the right time for my brother," Ricky Hatton said. "That's what we're hoping."

The HBO-televised portion of the card opens with a super-featherweight bout between unbeaten Adrien Broner (19-0, 16 KOs) and hard-hitting southpaw Daniel Ponce De Leon (41-2, 34 KOs).

The card features the first fight for middleweight James Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) since he was imprisoned in Texas on a gun charge. Kirkland faces New York's Ashandi Gibbs (10-2). Saturday is also the first fight under famed trainer Freddie Roach by super-middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs (21-1, 18 KOs), who faces Robert Kliewer (11-12-2).


Where: Honda Center.

When: Undercard starts at 3 p.m.; televised portion at 7:30.


Tickets: $25-$200.

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