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Saul Alvarez to face Matthew Hatton over agreed weight

Saul Alvarez and Matthew Hatton
Hatton (right) had the option of pulling out but is relishing his world title tilt

Matthew Hatton's fight against Saul Alvarez for the WBC light-middleweight title will go ahead despite the Mexican weighing in nearly 2lb over the limit.

Both camps had agreed a 150lb catch weight for the contest, but Alvarez tipped the scales at 151.8lb.

However, the 0200 GMT Sunday bout was rescued after Alvarez agreed to pay a penalty of 30% of his purse.

Hatton, 29, weighed in at less than the 150lb mark at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Alvarez, 20, was given two hours to shed his excess but only managed to drop less than half a pound.

European welterweight champion Hatton brings a record of 41-4-2 with 16 knockouts to the ring but is viewed as the underdog despite his youthful opponent's relative lack of experience.

"He's never fought anyone as good as me, anyone as fit or determined as me," Hatton said. "I was highly motivated for the fight in the first place, but to get to fight for the world title motivates me even more.

"I'll leave nothing in the locker room," pledged the younger brother of two-weight world champion Ricky.

The match-up had already caused controversy because neither man has fought at light-middleweight before, while Sheffield's Ryan Rhodes, ranked number four by the WBC, claims he was not offered the fight.

However, Hatton pointed out earlier in the week that the fight was agreed before the WBC sanctioned it as a world title contest.

Philippine legend Manny Pacquiao relinquished the belt last month after agreeing a bout with Shane Mosley at welterweight and Alvarez is the WBC's number one contender.

Alvarez is strong, he can box, he can take a punch. He's done everything right so far as a professional. But I'm very tough and very durable and I've only been stopped once in my career

Matthew Hatton

"I was fully deserving of a world title fight because of the way I've performed over the last 18 months, although it did come unexpectedly and it has come in an unexpected weight division," Hatton told BBC Sport's Ben Dirs.

"But while this opportunity was unexpected, in boxing, as in life, you've always got to be ready. I'm certainly not worried about my fitness or conditioning, I'm the sort of fighter who's always in the gym. I feel better than ever."

The odds are stacked against Hatton as he comes up against a man Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions hopes will be a future superstar of boxing.

Alvarez, who will be fighting in front of a vociferous pro-Mexican crowd, may only be 20 but he has already had 36 professional fights, winning 35 (with 26 KOs) and drawing one.

Ahead of the weigh-in, the speculation was that he would not even be close to the agreed limit, but Hatton remained unfazed.

"I'm quite old-school really and I wouldn't want to see a few pounds get in the way of a great fight and a brilliant opportunity," he said.

"Alvarez is strong, he can box, he can take a punch," he stated. "He's done everything right so far as a professional. But I'm very tough and very durable and I've only been stopped once in my career.

"He's had good victories in his last two fights over former world champions [Carlos Baldomir and Lovemore N'dou], but although they're very good fighters, they don't bring the determination I bring to the ring.

"Strength is something I never worry about going into a fight, I'm physically a very strong fighter, but I do think the advantage I will have in this fight is speed - that could be a factor."

The main question mark over Hatton is his power - he has only 16 knockouts from his 41 wins, largely at 147lb - but he believes it is a part of his game that is underrated.

"I've improved it a lot since I moved trainer to Bob Shannon (he parted company with Lee Beard in February, having spent most of his career with Billy Graham, who also trained Ricky Hatton) - I've got the power to hurt him, no doubt about that," he added.

If Hatton is to upset the odds, he will join an illustrious list of fighters to have held the WBC light-middleweight belt, including Pacquiao, Mosley, De la Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Terry Norris, Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benitez and Britain's Maurice Hope.



see also
Hatton handed world title chance
16 Feb 11 |  Boxing
Hatton fells Belge to keep title
26 Nov 10 |  Boxing
Hatton defends his European title
17 Jul 10 |  Boxing
Matthew Hatton wins European belt
27 Mar 10 |  Boxing
Hatton held by N'dou in IBO bid
13 Nov 09 |  Boxing


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