|Matthew Hatton, right, with his brother the day after Ricky lost to Pacquiao in Las Vegas [GALLO/GETTY]
The WBC super welterweight crown vacated by Manny Pacquiao could find its way into the hands of the brother of one of the Filipino boxing legend's victims.
World Boxing Council officials said on Wednesday that the winner of the March 5 fight between Matthew Hatton and Mexico's undefeated Saul Alvarez will receive the title that Pacquiao decided not to defend.
Hatton is the younger brother of Manchester boxer Ricky 'The Hitman', who had a stellar career before being stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr and then Pacquiao in May 2009.
Instead of defending the WBC belt, Pacquiao has instead booked a May welterweight title fight with US veteran Shane Mosley, prompting the WBC to reward the winner of the 12-round Hatton-Alvarez showdown.
For Matthew Hatton, it means his long-awaited chance to fight for a world title has finally arrived.
Bring it back
"I have been waiting my entire career to fight for a world title and I can't put into words how excited I am," the Englishman said.
|Pacquiao opted not to defend his WBC super welterweight title [EPA]
"I was already really motivated for this fight and this just adds to it. I am ready to bring the belt back with me to Manchester."
Alvarez, 35-0 with one draw and 26 knockouts, said: "This is a great opportunity and an honour.
"I said that I wanted to fight for a world title in 2011 and now the opportunity has arrived."
Alvarez suffered the only stain on his record with a draw against countryman Jorge Juarez in a four-round bout in 2006 but he has won 31 fights since, the most recent a unanimous decision over Australia's Lovemore N'dou last December.
Hatton, 41-4 with two drawn and 16 knockouts, has not lost in nine fights since September of 2008, his lone blemish in the run a draw against N'dou in 2009.
In his most recent fight, Hatton knocked out Roberto Belge of Switzerland in the third round at Bolton last November to retain his European super welterweight title.
Pacquiao is still hoping to line up a fight against Mayweather which could settle the claims of both to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, although negotiations have been further held up by pending court dates for the American.
Ricky Hatton has not fought since losing to Pacquiao, and rumours of a comeback may be stymied by the boxer's habit of putting on large amounts of body fat when not in training.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies