Chris Chatman to be showcased on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights

Before leaving the City Boxing Gym in San Diego, Chris Chatman raises his index finger to signal he’s ready for Friday night’s contest in Texas. Photo: Jim Wyatt

If you’ve ever attended a sports banquet, I’m sure you’re familiar with the opening line of the master of ceremonies which begins, I want to thank you for joining us on this auspicious occasion. Friday evening, February 4, was such an occasion. That’s when TV land gets their second glimpse of the talented Chris Chatman (9-1-0, 4 KOs), the former Navy crewman who grew up in Chicago’s southside, and now resides in San Diego. In an eight rounder Chatman will be taking on the highly touted Charles Hatley of Dallas, Texas.

Hatley is a 24 year-old righty with impressive credentials, a pro record of 14-0-0 with 11 KOs plus he’s just


four years removed from being the 2007 U.S. Amateur Welterweight Champion. When entering the ring on Friday evening, you can be sure he’ll be the favorite, the unbeaten hometown favorite.

Charles Hatley the pride of Dallas, Texas

And why should Mr. Hatley be cautious? Chatman has built himself a reputation for handing boxers their first career loss. In his last two wins Chatman’s opponents, Alberto Herrera and Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez, entered the ring with a combined record of 18-0-2, 11 KOs and Chatman won a TKO stoppage of Herrerra in Herrerra’s hometown and then dominated Gonzalez a Cuban champion a unanimous decision loss.

In Chatman’s only loss, he made the mistake of rushing off to the East coast on a moment’s notice to fight the unbeaten 2008 U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade. Even though Andrade found himself in trouble multiple times, Andrade managed to secure the decision victory in his hometown.

Chatman, a southpaw, will once again have an opportunity to pull off a major upset. He’s young, talented and has amazing stamina. He prefers that we call it “athleticism”. When we spoke about Hatley’s chances of defeating him, Chatman said, “He might have had a chance of defeating the guy who upset Herrera and then beat Gonzalez, but in the mean time, what do you think I’ve been up to lately?”

“Getting better everyday” was the answer to his riddle.

Boxing writers on the West Coast have called Chatman a showboat who clowns around too much; while others have called him a “tricky stylist,” a “spoiler,” and this reporter leans more towards the more descriptive “a Showman.” From my ringside perch I’ve witnessed the crazy antics, the fancy footwork, the salutes to the crowd and the punch he threw from behind his back. Everything he’s done, was done for a purpose. He feels boxers are entertainers and they’re in the ring for just one reason, to put on a good show.

At the outset of Friday evening’s match, you can be certain the spotlight will be on Hatley, afterall he’s the ESPN2 darling, the guy under the huge contract. Just as the Showtime announcing crew (Show Box: the Next Generation) made fools of themselves with their undeniable show of support for Chris Avalos when he lost to a virtual unknown from the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, Chris Martin who is now 21-0-2, don’t be surprised if the ESPN2 commentators don’t switch their allegiance during Friday’s telecast and begin paying homage to Chatman.

Standing 5’10” tall, Hatley is two inches taller than Chatman. He fought six times in 2010, including a unanimous decision victory over Marcos Primera (in his first and only 10-round bout) and an eight-round points victory over the 36 year-old Emanuel Augustus in which he traded knockdowns with the journeyman boxer.

After checking the fighters’ strength of schedule we see Chatman faced the stiffer competition. Of the 10 fighters he has faced, six had a winning record. Of the 14 opponents Hatley faced, only four had a winning record. Like Chatman, Hatley has quick hands, a busy jab, solid footwork, good power, and good technique. His negatives include a suspect chin, occasional lapses in concentration, plus you’ll see him covering up far too often when opponents get in close.

Prediction: Once again, Chatman will make SanDiego proud.

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