Britain’s Matthew Hatton and Mexico’s Saul Alvarez both vowed on Thursday to walk away from today’s showdown with the super welterweight belt once owned by Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao.
“Opportunities mean nothing if you don’t take them,” said Hatton, who was accompanied by his brother Ricky, a former two-weight world champion now turned promoter. “I’ve prepared well, trained harder than ever and I’m well capable of winning.”
“I’m going to beat him,” added the 29-year-old Hatton, who brings a record of 41-4-2 with 16 knockouts to his long-awaited fight for a world title.
After Pacquiao opted not to defend the belt, WBC officials quickly vacated their super welterweight throne and moved to reward the winner of the Hatton-Alvarez bout.
“I have no doubt in my mind. It’s going to be a great fight and 100 percent I am going to be the winner,” Hatton said.
If the Briton does triumph, he’ll be the first to get the better of Mexican sensation Alvarez, who is 35-0 with one draw and 26 knockouts.
“I come prepared, always,” Alvarez said on Thursday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, the town just south of Los Angeles that is also home to Disneyland.
“It’s going to be a tough fight but I’m going to demonstrate my abilities in the ring. Hatton’s a great warrior but the title is going home with me to Mexico,” he said.
Alvarez suffered the only stain on his record with a draw against countryman Jorge Juarez in a four-round bout in 2006, but he has won 31 fights since, the most recent a unanimous decision over Australia’s Lovemore N’dou last December.
Hatton, 41-4 with two drawn and 16 knockouts, has not lost in nine fights since September of 2008, his lone blemish in the run a draw against N’dou in 2009.
In his most recent fight, Hatton knocked out Roberto Belge of Switzerland in the third round at Bolton last November to retain his European welterweight title.
“Matthew is a fighter on a good roll,” Ricky Hatton said, voicing confidence that his brother could step up in weight and challenge successfully.
“This is his first fight in the super welterweight division, but seeing how he’s prepared, he is ready. He is the underdog, but he’s made from the same fiber that I am. We’re not here for the payday. We’re here for the belt,” he said.
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