No matter what your sport of choice is, we can all agree on one thing: We, whether young or old, get very excited with rising young prospects. There’s just something about a young up-and-comer that makes even the oldest of sports fans feel excited like a kid again. Maybe it’s that feeling of nostalgia? A flash back to when we were kids who would run up to the local store and buy a pack of Topps baseball cards, hoping there would be that prized “rookie card” we all searched for. And that added bonus of a surprisingly delicious piece of bubblegum that somehow made it all worthwhile if there wasn’t.
In boxing, one of those young men is Saul Alvarez!
The undefeated 20-year-old, redheaded, freckled, Howdy Doody looking Mexican seems to have boxing fans unanimously rooting him on. Even though Alvarez doesn’t look like the prototypical Mexican, he fights with the same familiar Mexican fortitude as his famous contemporaries and predecessors. Already, the young fighter has accumulated 36 professional fights. And other than a 4-round-draw in his fifth pro fight, his record remains unblemished.
While most fighters achieve their breakout recognition by beating a ranked fighter or champion, Alvarez actually first got his name out there when he was listed as a potential opponent for Floyd Mayweather last January, before Shane Mosley became available when Andre Berto was forced to cancel their fight because of deaths his family suffered in the great earthquake in Haiti. At the time, Alvarez was relatively an unknown, and even though he didn’t end up fighting Mayweather, people took notice to the then 19-year-old’s record and unique look. Since then however, Alvarez has legitimately became one of boxing’s most promising rising stars, with wins over Jose Miguel Cotto, Carlos Baldomir and Lovemore N’Dou, and has compiled quite the “peanut gallery” in the process.
Next up for Alvarez is the brother of former Junior-Welterweight king Ricky Hatton, Matthew Hatton, this Saturday. Matthew isn’t quite as good as his older brother, but he isn’t exactly a pushover either. Hatton 41-4-2 (16) hasn’t lost in his last nine fights, and is coming off a third round KO over the previously unbeaten Roberto Belge. Alvarez has mentioned that he plans on fighting for a title sometime this year, and he and Julio Cesar Chavez jr. seem to be on an inevitable collision-course, which would be great for the sport of boxing. But let’s not rush it, he’s still only 20-years-old, and although he’s very impressive, he’s still not a finished product, there’s still some work that needs to be done before he’s ready for those elite opponents.
Either way, taking it one step at a time, I’m expecting a good performance on Saturday night from Saul Alvarez. I think Hatton will make it competitive for a couple rounds, but Alvarez’s power will be the difference in the fight, and I’m thinking a knockout will come in or around the 7th round.
So say kids, what time is it? It’s Howdy Doody time!