Is Matthew Hatton a Sacrificial Lamb for Saul Alvarez?

| by Ian Palmer

I realize that anything can happen in a boxing match once the bell rings to start the fight, but some fights just have mismatch written all over them. I don’t mind guys getting title shots if they’ve earned them. However, I don’t really see how 29-year-old Matthew Hatton might go home to England with the WBC Junior Middleweight around his waist if he beats 20-year-old Saul Alvarez in Anaheim, California on March 5.

Hatton’s brother Ricky was a fine fighter and earned everything he got. This isn’t the case with Matthew though (41-4-2, 16 KOS), and it looks like this is going to be a mismatch of major proportions. It’s not that Hatton’s a bad boxer, but he’s just not a world-class fighter at the moment and it’s pretty doubtful he ever will be.

This fight’s been a bit of a farce from the get-go with a catch weight of 150 lbs. being agreed to, which is four pounds under the junior middleweight limit. But neither Hatton nor the Mexican Alvarez are really junior middleweights and it’s hard to figure out how these two are fighting for all the marbles. That’s the WBC for you though. They’re basically welterweights and it seems their connections have gotten them this fight. Oscar De La Hoya promotes Alvarez and Ricky Hatton has made all the arrangements with him to get a title shot for his brother.

The unbeaten Alvarez (35-01, 26 KOs) looks to be the real deal so far with impressive power and wins over Carlos Baldomir, Jose Cotto, and Lovemore N’dou. However, he’s not really worthy of a title shot either. He also has his flaws, but it’s doubtful that Hatton’s good enough to take advantage of them. His foot movement isn’t the best and he drops his jab low after throwing it. If Hatton’s quick enough he could land a few shots, but he doesn’t really have the power to inflict much damage.

Hatton has improved over the years, but there aren’t any world-class fighters on his resume. He won the vacant European welterweight championship over Gianluca Branco last March and has defended it twice. It’s possible Hatton might surprise everybody against Alvarez and walk away with the title. But I still have a hard time understanding why he’s been given the shot in the first place. It looks like he’s being fed to Alvarez as some sort of sacrificial lamb and hopefully he doesn’t get hurt in the process.  

This looks like a case of the WBC trying to give Alvarez a title and making a star out of him. It could backfire and blow up in their faces though, because if he loses to Hatton it could seriously damage his career. and bet365 will be taking action on the fight.