by Tom Donelson
A full house bought tickets to see Saul Alvarez fight Matthew Hatton, who was hoping to get out of former champion Ricky Hatton’s shadow, his brother. Hatton began jabbing over the first minute of the fight but Alvarez didn’t seem faze as he hit Hatton with some solid shots of his own. As the round progressed, it became obvious that Alvarez had the heavier hands and this was going to be a long night for Hatton.
Alvarez punches had thud quality and his boxing skills combined with his power gave Hatton trouble, whose punches had little impact on Alvarez whereas Alvarez punches busted up Hatton nose in those early rounds.
In the fourth round, Hatton kept flicking his punches but halfway throughout the round, a body shot almost split Hatton in half and from there, Alvarez simply let loose with combinations as Hatton retreated. Hatton walked back to his corner slowly and a cut over the left eye, a cut produced by the vicious shots delivered by Alvarez.
The fifth and sixth round repeated the pattern of the other rounds as Alvarez simply beat Hatton around the ring and Hatton lack of power punches did little to ward off the young Mexican fighter. In the seventh round, Alvarez lost a point deduction for hitting on the break but this simply made Alvarez even madder as he attacked with four or five punch combinations. Hatton managed to connect on a left hook but all this did was to interrupt another combination. (As for the point deduction, Alvarez felt that Hatton hit off the break first and retaliated.)
In the ninth round, Hatton actually challenged Alvarez to “fight him” and for the first time, Alvarez looked tired as Hatton landed the more blows, even though when Alvarez struck back, he forced Hatton to retreat. In a round that Hatton was winning over the first half of the round, Alvarez turned the round around with nasty shots to dominate the last half of the round. In what started out as Hatton best round, ended the way other rounds ended with Alvarez simply pounding Hatton.
In the tenth round, Alvarez showed that he was not about take too much s**t when Hatton nailed him with a low blow, Alvarez countered with a nasty left hook when they were both tied up. Alvarez showed that at an early age, he would not be intimidated.
As the championship rounds approached, Hatton fought hard to win but he lacked Alvarez power or skills. He did not fight a fight of survival but fought to win and showed a tough chin with the many of hard shots he got nailed with. In the final round, Alvarez simply clubbed Hatton who covered up most of the round but Hatton occasionally struck back with combinations of his own.
With time running out, Alvarez nailed Hatton with solid left hook to the body followed by a clubbing right on Hatton ear and nearly stopped Hatton. Hatton fought back with intensity over the last fifteen seconds but like most of the fight, Hatton punches had no effect on Alvarez.
Alvarez won an easy decision with all judges had the fight 119-108 in a fight easy to score. The twenty year old Alvarez showed skills and potential to be a superstar. As for Hatton, he was overwhelmed by a better fighter but he showed heart as he simply didn’t have the skills or power as his brother. On this night, heart could not overcome skills.
In the opening bout, former champion Daniel Ponce de Leon came up in weight to challenge prospect Adrian Broner and in the first round, there was not much to say other than both fighters were feeling each other. Broner gave De Leon little to truly judge as Broner showed reluctance to engage. Halfway through the second round, the fans started to boo and hiss as both fighters moved around the ring. De Leon went to the body over the last minute of the second round for the only true blows of the round.
In the third round, De Leon picked up the pace as he consistently got off first as he started to nail his younger opponent, first to the body then to the head as Broner fought defensively while throwing just one punch at a time.
Broner landed a few more shots in the fourth round including a nice counter right over a De Leon right hand jab and for the first time in the fight, he started to put two punches together an and continued this into the fifth round as he started to maneuver De Leon in position for his quick combination.
In the sixth and seventh round, Broner started to pursue De Leon, who appeared comfortable retreating most of those rounds; allowing Broner to pot shot him. At the end of the seventh round, De Leon connected on some solid lefts over the last minute before Broner nailed De Leon with four straight rights but De Leon nailed Broner with one solid left as the bell rang to end the round.
De Leon started to pressure his younger opponent in the eighth round to regain the momentum as he nailed Broner with some solid shots to the body and then to the head. This continued in the ninth round as De Leon was more active and at the end of the round, both fighter unleashed combinations.
Going into the final round, it was one of those final do or die rounds with the fight being close. HBO Harold Lederman had De Leon up by one point and there was little to disagree. (Two of the judges had the fight as close but with Broner having the slight edge.)
De Leon began the round by throwing punches and nailing Broner with solid shots but Broner proved economical with his punches and he was able to nail De Leon with some solid rights over the second half of the round; making the round hard to judge.
The judges had the fight 96-94, 96-94 and 99-91 in favor of Broner. The 96-94 score was a realistic view of the fight since many rounds were close. Broner was more accurate with his punches but De Leon was the busier fighter. I had the fight a draw but Harold Lederman had the fight 96-94 in De Leon favor. (The judge who had the bout 99-91 must have missed the first three rounds, in which De Leon won and his views did not reflect what occurred in the ring.) Adrian Broner won a close decision but a decision that could have gone the other way. He showed a wiliness to allow De Leon to set the pace in good portion of the fight. When he was the aggressive fighter, his hand speed allowed him to dominate but when he allowed De Leon attack, he played defense. It nearly cost him the fight. De Leon was a good test for the young fighter and he passed the test, barely.