photo courtesy Paul Gallegos
ANAHEIM-Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez plowed through England’s Matthew Hatton to win the vacant WBC junior middleweight world title by unanimous decision by pounding the body on Saturday.
Hatton (41-5-2, 16 KOs) showed he could take a punch but he couldn’t hurt Alvarez who simply walked right through the British boxer’s arsenal before 11,674 fans of mostly Mexican fans at the Honda Center.
“I knew he would give me trouble,” said Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KOs). “He’s an experienced fighter.”
Hatton may have lost but what a chin.
From the start Alvarez proved the naturally stronger fighter. The Mexican’s first punch sent Hatton across the ring from the mere force.
Alvarez was always moving forward against the gliding style of Hatton who never stayed in front of the heavy-hitting Mexican if he could help it. An exchange of punches resulted in a bloody nose for the British fighter in the second round.
In the fourth round a body attack via left hooks to the liver forced Hatton to retreat and seek a moment. Alvarez jumped across the ring sending more blows to the body that nearly buckled the younger brother of Ricky Hatton. Hatton returned to the corner with a cut over his left eye.
Hatton stepped on the gas in the fifth round with some good combinations right after another. But Alvarez walked through them and delivered his usual amount of left hooks in a close round.
After not much luck fighting outside Hatton moved into clinches. On one occasion he hit during a clinch and when the referee stepped in to break it up Alvarez fired a right. He was deducted a point. When the fight resumed an angry Alvarez went for a knockout. Hatton’s chin withstood the test.
The 10th round saw Hatton hit Alvarez with a severely low blow. Alvarez returned the favor by hitting on the break again but was not penalized.
Alvarez continued the bludgeoning but never could drop the sturdy British boxer despite a rifling right hand that stunned him near the end of the fight. Hatton survived. All three judges scored it for Alvarez 119-108.
“I want to fight the biggest and the best,” said Alvarez. “I want the biggest names.”
Hatton said he’s returning to welterweight and gave credit to Alvarez.
“He’s an intelligent fighter,” said Hatton.
Undefeated prospect Adrien Broner (19-1, 16 KOs) beat former junior featherweight titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon (41-3, 34 KOs) of Mexico by unanimous decision after 10 rounds of a junior lightweight match. The crowd was vocal in its disappointment after the decision was rendered. One judge scored it 99-91 for Broner.
“He was a great fighter so I had to respect him. I stayed true to my plan and listened to my coach,” said Broner. “He had power but everyone can punch with 8 oz gloves on. I’ll fight anyone next.”
The fight was actually a very tight struggle with Ponce De Leon doing most of the early scoring to the body. Apparently the body shots didn’t score according to the judges. There were no knockdowns.
“There was a big difference in weight I could feel it but I didn’t feel his power,” said Ponce De Leon. “I’m going back down to featherweight.”
Rising American heavyweight Seth Mitchell (21-0-1, 15 KOs) dropped Charles Davis (19-22-3) four times in two rounds before the fight was ended by referee Wayne Hedgepeth at 1:02 of the second round. Mitchell fired a right-left hook combination for the first knockdown in the opening round. A right to the body scored the second drop, a looping right to the stooping Davis floored him a third time. Finally, a left uppercut ended the fight in Mitchell’s favor.
Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs (22-1, 19 KOs) dropped Minnesota’s Robert “Sweet Dreams” Kliewes (11-13-2) twice with counter right hands in the first round. Referee Ray Corona stopped the fight at 1:44 as Kliewes was nearly comatose. It was Jacob’s first fight under new trainer Freddie Roach.
James Kirkland (26-0, 23 KOs) looked as if he was looking to make up for lost time and destroyed Ashandi Gibbs (10-3, 4 KOs) in 34 seconds in a fight held at middleweight. Kirkland jumped on Gibbs with vicious combinations including a left uppercut that started the end for Gibbs. Soon a left hand ended the night for the New York City boxer. It was Kirkland’s first pro fight in two years since serving a two-year prison sentence in Texas.
Super middleweight prospects Cleven Ishe (2-0, 2 KOs) and Northern California’s Jason Montgomery (2-1-1) entered undefeated, but it was Long Beach, California’s Ishe who left with zeros on his record. A counter right hand scored a knockdown for Ishe who went on to win a unanimous decision after four rounds 39-36.
In a middleweight bout Venezuela’s Alfonso Blanco (3-0, 2 KOs) floored Puerto Rico’s Pablo Ruiz (0-3) three times in the first round for the win. A right to the body and left hook to the head dropped Ruiz for the first knockdown. A right hand to the body sent Ruiz down a second and third time. Referee Pat Russell stopped the fight at 2:55 of the first round.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV