Matthew Hatton vs. Chris van Heerden on Saturday, March 2nd in Johannesburg
By Scott Gilfoid: This Saturday night, Matthew Hatton (43-6-2, 17 KO’s) will be challenging IBO welterweight champion Chris van Heerden (18-1-1, 10 KO’s) at the Sandton Convention Center, in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
Both of these guys are what you would call classic fringe level welterweights. Van Heerden, 25, is the younger guy with a better resume compared to the 31-year-old Hatton. Van Heerden, #11 IBF, will have the home advantage in this fight, as well as the advantage in speed, power and overall talent.
Hatton, #14 IBF, will have to fight a lot better than he did last year against Kell Brook. Hatton was easily beaten by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision, and was never competitive even for an instant. Hatton came back from that loss to beat an over-matched Michael Lomax by a 1st round knockout last October.
Van Heerden has impressive wins over Kaizer Mabuza and Sebastian Andres Lujan. Van Heerden has excellent skills, if not power. Van Heerden was beaten by Nikola Stevanovic three years ago by a 12 round split decision. It was a close fight and it could have gone either way. Van Heerden’s lack of power hurt him in that fight because he wasn’t landing the cleaner, harder shots.
Hatton has been hanging around for a while. He was badly beaten by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by a 12 round unanimous decision in a fight for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title. Why Hatton was fighting for the WBC junior middleweight title is anyone’s guess because it just seemed odd that Hatton, a non-junior middleweight, getting a shot at the WBC 154 pound title without ever having fought at that weight.
I expect Hatton to be out of his element against Van Heerden tomorrow night. Hatton will give it a good try but Van Heerden is just too fast and too skilled for him. I doubt that the fight will end in a knockout because Van Heerden has little power to speak of, but he’s more than good enough to dominate Hatton and make him look his age.