Saul Alvarez is one of the more promising young prospects in boxing. At only 20-years old, he has amassed a 35-0-1 record and dispatched former world champions like Carlos Baldomir and Lovemore N’Dou. Oscar De La Hoya says, this is the fighter who will beat Manny Pacquiao.
There’s just one problem. Matthew Hatton believes Alvarez won’t make it past their WBC light middleweight title bout this Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET on HBO).
“You hear he wants to share the ring with Mayweather, Pacquiao and all these big plans are laid out for him,” Hatton said, “and my plan is to go in there and rip all them up and put myself in position for those big fights. He gets a lot of praise and you know, he’s done everything right so far, but it does motivate me even more in the gym to put myself in position to get those big opportunities.”
That extra motivation is just what the 29-year-old Hatton needed to get himself in the best shape of his entire career.
“I’ve prepared so well for this fight. I’ve pushed myself like never before,” he said. “Sparring has been good. I’m in great shape. I feel fitter than ever and when your preparation has gone well for a fight, I think that instills confidence in you. The preparation has genuinely gone better than ever. “
Hatton (38-4-2, 15 KO’s) says training was not any different. He did not employ any special tactics or new training regiments. He just stuck to his normal routine, simply doing it to a level he had never achieved before. He did that knowing the challenge that awaits him. For while he expects to come out the victor, he has nothing but respect for the man he will face.
“I’ve been very impressed with Saul,” Hatton said. “I’ve been studying his last few fights and being a boxing fan, there’s been a lot of hype and praise surrounding him and rightly so, he’s a fantastic young fighter. You look at what he’s achieved and he’s only 20 years of age. Fair play to him and well done. He’s a good all-around fighter. He can box. He can fight.”
The Manchester native cautions though, if anyone is taking him lightly, that could be a costly mistake.
“I think he’s definitely the best fighter I would have faced in my career, but likewise, I think I’ll be the best man he’s faced even though N’Dou and Bladomir are two former world champions, good fighters, but they’re 39 and 38 respectively. They certainly don’t have the desire to condition and drive that I will bring to the table, so I think it’s a tough fight for both of us.”
The boxing world is abuzz about Saul Alvarez. Many are expecting him to emerge as the next great Mexican fighter. Matthew Hatton believes Alvarez has the talent to make it happen. He just believes his coming-out party will have to wait a little longer.
“Saul’s a fantastic prospect, but this fight’s come at a good time for me,” Hatton said. “I’m on a roll at the minute. I’m well-prepared. I think it’s going to be a close fight and a hard fight while it lasts, but I think my extra drive, my conditioning and my determination will tilt the balance in my favor. I really do.”