Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s star continues to rise and shine bright as the Mexican cross-over idol is quickly becoming a major draw in the United States after last Saturday night’s unanimous decision over Matthew Hatton in their vacant World Boxing Council super-welterweight title fight at the Honda Center.
Everything is moving ahead according to plan for the undefeated Alvarez, who has the necessary boxing skills and rugged good looks that remind some of Oscar De La Hoya, who promoted the bout.
Alvarez doesn’t speak English, so De La Hoya helped out. “He felt wonderful that the people responded to him,” he said. “He’s happy that his dream became a reality.”
Most of the 11,674 fans were pulling for Alvarez, who has one draw on his record in 37 fights along with 26 knockouts.
Hatton wasn’t expected to win, but still managed to match punches a few times with the younger Alvarez, who claimed every round on all three of the judges’ scorecards. A point was deducted from Alvarez in the seventh round.
“It was a tough fight,” said Hatton, who lives in Manchester, England, and owns a ring resume of 41-5-2 with 16 knockouts. “He’s a great fighter. I gave it my best. I was never seriously hurt.”
Hatton’s right, which may have raised some red flags with regard to Alvarez’s punching power.
At no point was the 29-year-old Hatton on the verge of hitting the canvas. When Hatton was in hot water, he would clinch and hold, but this doesn’t fully explain why Alvarez still couldn’t deck him.
“He’s a crafty veteran fighter,” said De La Hoya for Alvarez, “and he knows when to hold me when he’s in trouble. It was a very tough fight, and he respects Matthew Hatton.”
Alvarez was able to open a fairly-deep cut above Hatton’s left eye in the fourth round, and continued to aim for it throughout the fight.
Actually, Alvarez, who landed 156 more total punches than Hatton, and connected on 53 percent of his power punches compared to 26 percent for Hatton, seized control in the second round after a dull opening round, landing several clean body and head shots, while Hatton was forced to counter-punch and at times hold.
There was some booing, with the majority hoping to see a knockout which failed to happen.
Alvarez landed a clean upper cut in the third round, as Hatton tried to counter. Alvarez launched a body and head attack in the sixth round, with Hatton lacking a real response.
Alvarez dominated the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds, as Hatton was willing to trade blows, but the onslaught was simply too much.
It was more of the same for Alvarez, who hit 47 percent of his total punches to 25 percent for Hatton, over the final three rounds, with any real drama of a comeback evaporating as the minutes passed.
Hatton was asked to evaluate the 20-year-old prodigy. “I don’t think he has any massive weaknesses,” he said. “He was too big and came through them [my punches]. But a fighter can always improve.”