Former European welterweight champion Matthew Hatton is looking forward to his March 17 date against Kell Brook in Sheffield, and tells Terence Dooley of BoxingScene.com that he's not worried about being the underdog, a role he's been in before.
“I’m looking forward to it. ... People are making me out as a big underdog, a big betting underdog as well, but to be honest that doesn’t worry me. ... I enjoy being the underdog sometimes because you go in there with nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Hatton (42-5-2, 16 KO) is gunning for what would be by far a career-best win against Brook (26-0, 18 KO). It continues what has been an odd duck sort of career for the 30-year-old Hatton, who has gone in a way from club fighter with a famous last name to a top domestic fighter in the last few years.
Still, when you're talking Hatton's best wins, the cupboard is fairly bare. He did win the European title, but let's be perfectly honest, and this is not a shot at Matthew Hatton: He won the European title because his last name is Hatton, and Hatton Promotions got him a favorable route to winning that championship.
When Hatton defeated Gianluca Branco in March 2010 for the vacant European belt, he defeated a 39-year-old junior welterweight, all of 5'6", who had never seriously fought as a welterweight before. When he defeated Yuriy Nuzhnenko a few months later, he got some favorable scoring in his favor -- not that he didn't deserve a win or that it was a robbery or anything of the sort, simply that it was a tough fight to call and scores were wide in favor of Hatton. Let's not even get into his lousy mismatch win over Roberto Belge.
Really, I think where Hatton has proven his improvements in the ring best are in two fights he didn't win: His draw with Lovemore N'dou in November 2009, and his loss last year to Canelo Alvarez. He wasn't particularly competitive in the Alvarez fight, in that he didn't come close to winning, but he was a tough, gritty challenge for the young standout, and against N'dou, he went even with a guy who fought quite well and has never been an easy out.
Can Hatton seriously challenge Brook? It's a tall order. Brook has been through similar level foes -- N'dou, Michael Jennings, Rafal Jackiewicz, etc., without much trouble. Hatton will have to fight the fight of his life in this one.