You weigh in, TSS 2.0 Universe. How do you rate Canelo now, and what is his upside? (Paul Gallegos)
I see "good," I don't see "great."
Not yet, anyway, and definitely not in the way he handled the weigh in, and a foe with little power coming up from welterweight. That said, Saul Alvarez showed some nice tools while winning a UD12--by scores of 119-108 times three--from Matthew Hatton in the main event from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA on Saturday night. The WBC's vacated 154 pound title was up for grabs, and Canelo was all over that from the opening bell on.
After, Canelo said Hatton was "a good rival." He told Max Kellerman that the hefty crowd that came out to see him was promised world championships, and this one, he said, was the first. When would he fight stars, Kellerman wondered. "This is the first one of many more to come, I will have more fights with big names and I will be one of the big names from Mexico," he said. He said maybe two more fights, and then he'd fight a megamatch.
Matthew Hatton after said he shared the ring "with a great fighter." He said he was never hurt, but since he didn't bother Alvarez, he'll move back down to welter. He called Alvarez strong and intelligent, but didn't gush, and label him a future Hall of Famer. Basically, he said, he was in over his weight class. Roy Jones said Canelo still "has a way to go" to become great but that he has been blessed by God. "Can he make the leap to be great? I don't know," Jones said.
Alvarez (age 20; 5-8; 151 3/4; 35-0 with 26 KOs entering; turned pro at 15; from Mexico) was 165 pounds on fightnight, while Hatton (age 29; 5-8; 149 1/2; 41-4-1 with 16 KOs entering; stopped once before, in his 16th pro bout; from England) was 157 pounds. HBO showed the fight.
Canelo, who dropped two notches when he didn't make 150 pounds and had to give up $70Gs for coming in heavy, upped himself a notch in my eyes when he came to the ring to Survivor's "Burning Heart."
In the first, Hatton came out aggressive. Canelo's power had Hatton flinching a minute in. Brother Ricky was not in Matt's corner, by the way. He sat in the front row, yelling encouragement.
In the second, blood streamed from Hatton's nose. He stayed in front of Canelo too much and needed to move more.
In the third, we noted that Alvarez best move his head more if not on this night, then moving forward. A strong neck won't keep his brain from getting bumped around as he takes on real bangers.
In the fourth, Hatton was getting hit more flush. A cut appeared on his left eyebrow. He said after the round that Canelo was not hurting him.
In the fifth, Hatton hung tough. He has a good bit of that Ricky heart, if not as much of his skills.
In the sixth, Hatton was still hanging in. He ate mucho leather but still winged shots often enough to keep Alvarez, now blasting left hooks with vicious intent, from simply eating him alive.
In the seventh, things got chippy. Hatton got extra time when Canelo hit him as the ref came in to break them. Ref Moret took a point from Canelo. Canelo went into finisher mode, but Hatton, still with some energy left, answered, and didn't fold.
In the eighth, Alvarez stayed true to form. Aggressive, focused, winning rounds. Roy Jones said Alvarez is right up there with him and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in the realm of left hooking to the body.
In the ninth, Hatton was the busier man early on. Alvarez got to work, though and took the round, for sure.
In the 10th, Hatton, as he did more as the fight went on, clinched when he needed to. The Brit landed a low blow and Alvarez blasted him as Moret stepped in between them. Hatton sat on his tush, and Moret got them right back to work. A left-right had Hatton holding on with 25 seconds left. Hatton was firing and barking at Canelo at the bell.
In the 11th, Hatton was jabbing, making Canelo earn his partial purse. Who wasn't rooting for him to go the distance?
In the 12th, Canelo looked relaxed and in possession of plenty of gas to start the round. A right cross tickled Hatton's chin at the 2:20 mark. But Hatton made it to the end, and a drama free reading of the cards.
Canelo had a 294-626 to 138-546 edge in punches thrown and landed department.
Please check back for David Avila's ringside report.
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