ANAHEIM ? Unbeaten Mexican prodigy Saul Alvarez became the youngest world champion in super welterweight history on Saturday by defeating Britain's Matthew Hatton for the vacant World Boxing Council crown.
The 29-year-old freckled redhead, whose nickname "Canelo" is Spanish for cinnamon, improved to 36-0 with one drawn by taking the 154-pound title by unanimous decision.
All three judges scored the bout 119-108 for Alvarez.
Hatton, the European welterweight champion, fell to 41-5 with two drawn and saw his nine-fight win streak snapped, but he gamely denied Alvarez a 27th career knockout, what would have been only the second such loss for Hatton.
Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao vacated the crown ahead of his May 7 bout with American Shane Mosley, prompting the Mexico-based WBC to give the crown to the winner between Alvarez and Hatton even through the British fighter had never fought in so large a division and there was a catch-weight for the bout.
Alvarez failed to make the catch-weight of 150 pounds and forfeited $70,000 but it did not affect his eligibility for the crown and Hatton agreed to fight him anyway.
Alvarez pounded Hatton in the first round and bloodied the 29-year-old Englishman's nose in the second.
Hatton, cheered on at ringside by his former world champion brother Ricky Hatton, stood toe-to-toe throughout the fight with the larger Alvarez, who was supported by the majority of the Southern California crowd.
Alvarez opened a gash over Hatton's left eye midway into the fourth round but lost a point in the seventh round for punching Hatton in the face as the fighters were being pushed apart by referee Lou Moret.
Hatton was stunned by a pair of right hands to the head late in the 10th round but the valiant Briton traded blows to the bell and battled the Mexican to the finish.