The Saul Alvarez win not as impressive as they had hoped

March 5, 2011 No Comments

Now that he's a 20 year-old World Champion, what can we expect?

In Saturday night’s title fight at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. for the vacant WBC super welterweight crown (147-154 pounds), Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KOs) registered a one-sided unanimous decision victory over the European champion Matthew Hatton (41-5-2, 16 KOs). The 20 year-old phenom from Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico power punched his way to becoming the youngest WBC Champion ever, eclipsing a mark held by Fernando Vargas when he defeated Luis Ramon “Yory Boy” Campas.

Alvarez landed 294 out of the 626 total punches thrown, a 47% connect rate. Hatton threw and connected less, landing only 25%, 138 out of 546. Even though he completely outgunned Hatton, he could not stop the determined brother of Ricky Hatton. All three judges scored the bout 119-109 for Alvarez.


 

With the Honda Center packed from top to bottom, you had Oscar De La Hoya sitting next to Amir Khan. Local Riverside Heavyweight Chris Arreola was there. Many of the Canelo fans wore head bands (Rambo style) and some even dyed their hair red. Both guys had classic intro songs. Hatton went with the Karate Kid’s “You’re the Best” and Alvarez used the music from Rocky IV, “Burning Heart.”

As, has been the case, the people at ringside made sly remarks about the Mexican hero’s different hair and different skin. “He looks Irish, understands Spanish and fights like George Foreman,” said Roy Jones. “I believe God is with this kid they call Cinnamon,” said another gent.

At the weigh-in, Alvarez weighed two pounds heavier than the agreed upon catch-weight of 150 pounds, but remained four pounds below the light-middleweight division’s limit of 154. At first Hatton agreed to let the fight go ahead, but later claimed Alvarez’s size counted against him. Of course it did. It always matters when it comes to the power a boxer has behind each punch.

According to my understanding, you’re supposed to forfeit 20% of your purse when you come in overweight. That would mean Alvarez’s $350,000 purse would end up being docked $70,000, $35,000 going to Hatton and another $35,000 going to the California State Athletic Commission.

The Hattons, who had earlier threatened to pull the plug on the match if Alvarez pulled such a stunt, reportedly reiterated the match would be off if Alvarez could not make the check weight of 160 pounds at 3 p.m. Saturday. Some ringside observers claimed Alvarez had blown up to 165 pounds by fight time.

In regards to the actually match, it was so one sided, most observers thought it was only a matter of time before Hatton went down. The most memorable moments in the fight came when Alvarez bloodied Hatton’s nose in the second round. In the fourth round, Alvarez opened a cut over Hatton’s left eye. After the blood smeared over the left side of his face the crowd got excited.

Things got interesting again in the seventh when Alvarez hit Hatton after the break. Hatton walked a few steps, then went down on one knee. Referee Lou Moret bought the theatrics then signaled a one-point deduction which riled Alvarez who then took out his frustrations on Hatton by unleashing another barrage of powerful shots to the head. With less than a minute left in the round, the two men went toe to toe.

In round 10, Alvarez again hit Hatton after the break, this time in retaliation for a Hatton foul. Feigning the misdeed was more than it was, Hatton staggered backwards into the ropes and went down to one knee. This time Moret was not fooled and asked the thespian to get up. The crowd booed, but it didn’t matter to Hatton. He got what he wanted a break in the action.

Hatton’s remarks after the fight: “He’s a fantastic fighter, but he was just too big. He never really hurt me. It was just a size difference. I want to go back down to my natural weight at welterweight (140-147), and hopefully I’ll get another shot there. When you get an opportunity to fight for a title, you can’t turn it down.”

The comments from people at ringside:

“He has the title now. If he wants to play the I’m still young card, he shouldn’t have said, ‘I want to fight for the title’ which he now has. He simply didn’t seem eager to fight the best. If he now defends the belt against some legit contenders, then I won’t have any complaints. He could end up like Berto, who has a belt but many question whether he’s only fighting lackluster opponents.”

“I know he’s basically a kid at 20 years old, but if you want to sit at the big boy table, you don’t get to use that as an excuse. You build up to become a world champion. You don’t win a questionable (by many) belt and then work your way to being a world champion.”

“This fight was all about using (Matthew) Hatton, who’s small and light, to put a belt around Canelo’s tummy.”

“Criticism was levied at Alvarez for hitting Hatton on the break and yet Hatton was a habitual holder and also hit Alvarez on the breaks.”

“Alvarez had absolutely no respect for Hatton’s punches.”

“Funny point in the match was when the boxers met for the first time in the center of the ring. They did their normal stare down and then Alvarez gave Hatton a belittling tap on the top of his bald head.”

“Hatton had won his last four fights, two by knockout, after going with his new trainer, Bob Shannon. Did they really think the new trainer was going to make that big of a difference?”

“The issue about the catch weight of 150 pounds: Alvarez already had an advantage by getting to fight a smaller guy. Then he refused to make the weight, missing it by two pounds and then re-blemishing his body weight taking it all the way up to 165 pounds. How much of an advantage does one need?”

Bouts of interest on the Alvarez versus Hatton undercard

In Bout #1, James Kirkland wasted no time unleashing an avalanche of powerful blows on the unsuspecting Ashandi Gibbs who went to the canvas lickety-split, at just 0:34 of round one. Kirkland stood over Gibbs like he was daring him to get back up and face even more wrath. It was as if he had done pay-back for Gibbs saying something nasty about his Mom. With the win, Kirkland improved to 26-0-0, with 23 KOs while Gibbs fell to 10-3, 4 KOs.

In Bout #2, Daniel Jacobs tried to match Kirkland’s feat and immediately charged after Robert Kliewer. He soon landed a hard right hand that dropped Kliewer to the canvas. Kliewer got up but not for long. Referee Ray Corona wasted no time in waving off the bout. Since Jacobs’ stoppage took 1:44 of round one, Kirkland won their bet. Jacobs improved to 22-1-0 with 19KOs while Kliewer dropped to 11-13-2, 5 KOs.

In the co-main event, a ten-rounder for the vacant WBO intercontinental junior lightweight title, Adrien Broner won a very close unanimous decision victory over Daniel Ponce De Leon. Broner remains undefeated at 20-0-0 with 16 KOs, while De Leon drops to 41-3-0, 34 KOs.

In a scheduled 10 round heavyweight match, undefeated prospect Seth Mitchell had no problem using Charles Davis as his punching bag. Mitchell dropped Davis with a left hook in the first round and then dropped him three more times in the second round prompting the referee to wave off the bout. Mitchell improves to 21-0-1 (15 KOs) while Davis falls to 19-22-3 (4 KOs).

 

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