Everything went according to plan for the WBC on March 5 when undefeated Saul Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KOs) of Mexico dismantled Matthew Hatton of England for the organization’s world junior middleweight title in Anaheim, California, even though neither of them are really junior middleweights.
It’s hard to criticize Alvarez since he’s only 20 years old and has taken care of everybody he’s ever faced. Most boxers would jump at a chance at a world title and that’s exactly what he did. He showed he was a good fighter against Hatton, but it’s still too early to tell just how good he’s going to be.
Hatton didn’t have the power to give Alvarez a true test and a harder hitter might have made the Mexican pay a little more for his mistakes. All in all it was a pretty good showing by Alvarez, but many experts might have been a bit surprised that Hatton went the distance and earned some respect along the way.
The Englishman’s record of 41-5-2, with 16 KOS) and his list of opponents don’t really make him a title contender at all. However, he fought well enough to make people realize he’s not really that bad after all even though he didn’t win a round on the scorecards. All three judges scored the bout 119-108, with Alvarez being deducted a point for hitting on the break in the seventh round.
The 29-year-old Hatton showed tremendous heart and a lot of desire. It’s just that he doesn’t possess the skill and the power to go along with those fine attributes. What it did make for though, was a pretty entertaining fight. Adding to the equation was the fact that just about everybody in attendance was cheering for Alvarez. This made Hatton’s performance even more respectable to the boxing world.
Hatton deserves to be known as more than just Ricky’s little brother from now on and this bout may go a long way into securing a few more bouts against world-class opposition. However, he’s still not at the point where he should be fighting for a world title. If he can knock off a few top contenders we may see him getting another shot down the road as he’s still got age on his side.
And speaking of age, Alvarez became the youngest ever to win a junior middleweight world crown. Fernando Vargas previously held the distinction as he was five days past his 21st birthday when he won the belt in 1998. Alvarez isn’t even old enough to drink yet in many places. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see anybody break Wilfredo Benitez’s record of winning a world championship at the age of 17 though.
While Alvarez has a belt around his waist, it’s still a bit dubious. This was just going to be a regularly scheduled fight until the WBC turned it into a title bout. There was also some controversy over the fighter’s weights as this fight was contracted at 150 lbs. and Alvarez had to give up some of his purse for coming in almost 1.5 lbs. overweight. It was definitely an unprofessional move by Alvarez since the contract was for 150. But what type of ridiculous organization is the WBC when you aren’t allowed to weigh in at 154 lbs. for a fight in the 154 lb. limit?