Hatton emerges from the shadows
One of my brothers speaks five languages; the other one is better looking than me. Both facts have led to feelings of inadequacy down the years. But, I suspect, not as much as if one of my brothers was among the finest boxers this country has ever produced and one of the most popular sportsmen to boot.
For the best part of a decade, Matthew Hatton watched from boxing's foothills as older brother Ricky was making his way to the summit of the sport, eventually landing world titles at two different weights and charming the British public with his determinedly down-to-earth persona along the way.
Matthew, two-and-a-half years Ricky's junior, had his successes, winning British Central Area titles in two weight divisions. But many suspected Matthew had found his level when he lost to Craig Watson in a Commonwealth welterweight title fight in 2008.
But last year, Matthew proved plenty of people wrong by outboxing veteran Italian Gianluca Branco to claim the European welterweight title. And on Saturday, he will fully emerge from Ricky's shadow
Can Matthew (right) emulate brother Ricky and land a world title? Photo: Getty Images
"Ricky had a fantastic career and was one of the best fighters this country has ever produced but there's only one Ricky Hatton," Matthew, 29, told BBC Sport.
"The support he had and what he achieved in the game was great but I've never tried to emulate him. I've always just wanted to be the best I could be. Even though I wasn't performing too well early in my career, I always believed that one day I would compete at this level and that I had so much more to give.
"Every kid will tell you, when you first lace on the gloves, that the ambition is to become a world champion. Very, very few people achieve that. It would be all the sweeter for me because I've had people write me off in my career, people who said 'he won't do this, he won't do that'."
Matthew acknowledges being Ricky's younger brother has had its upsides professionally. It meant he fought on some of the biggest shows of recent years in some of boxing's greatest arenas. He was on the bill when Ricky fought Floyd Mayweather at Las Vegas' MGM Grand in 2007 and again when he fought Manny Pacquiao in 2009. While Ricky lost both bouts, Matthew notched up a couple of wins. Not that many people noticed.
But Matthew says merely bearing the Hatton name brought extra pressure, while dad Ray believes opponents would up their game against his youngest, as if by beating Matthew they would somehow take a piece of Ricky as well.
"It must have been difficult for Matthew at times, even though he never showed it," Ray told BBC Sport. "He always supported Ricky and there was never any jealousy. The same support they always gave each other is still there, which is lovely.
"Matthew never had it easy. Fighters I'd seen before who hadn't looked that great would come out against Matthew as if it was a world title fight - because he was a Hatton.
"It was difficult at times, watching Ricky getting all the attention. But we knew how hard Matthew was trying and we kept our fingers crossed that the ability we knew he had would eventually come through and he'd get the recognition.
"You can't take anything away from Ricky because he was a very exciting boxer and I can't remember a boxer who was as popular as he was. But now Matthew has stepped out of his shadow and a lot of people appreciate how hard Matthew's worked."
Hatton's shot is not without controversy. Neither he nor Alvarez has fought at 154lb before, while Ryan Rhodes, ranked number four by the WBC, claims he was never even contacted after Pacquiao relinquished the belt last month. The Sheffield boxer's trainer, Dave Coldwell, called it "boxing politics at its worst".
Alvarez poses a big threat to Hatton. Photo: Getty Images
Meanwhile, others have registered their disgust that a belt that has been held by Pacquiao, Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Oscar de la Hoya, Terry Norris, Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benitez and Britain's Maurice Hope is being given away so easily.
Hatton is quick to point out he was scheduled to meet Alvarez, the WBC's number one contender, before Pacquiao stood down. However, it is difficult not to be cynical. Alvarez is handled by Golden Boy Promotions, who also promoted some of Ricky's biggest fights. The plan is clearly to offer Hatton up as a sacrificial lamb to Alvarez, who they hope will be a superstar of the future.
Few think Hatton stands a chance against Alvarez. The baby-faced Mexican may only be 20 but it is not only his red hair and freckles that set him apart from the crowd. Since turning pro at 15, he has racked up 35 wins and a draw from 36 fights. Twenty-six knockouts tell you he hits hard. And while not the slickest, his last two wins have come against former world champions - and gnarled old veterans at that.
In contrast, Hatton has only 16 knockouts from 41 wins, almost all of which came at welterweight. He has always been functional rather than spectacular but he will need to be spectacular in Anaheim on Saturday to force a win. A baying Mexican contingent, 'home' judges and a 'home' referee will demand it. Not that Hatton seems fazed.
"I'm going out there with everything to gain and nothing to lose," said Hatton. "I think that makes me very dangerous. A lot of Alvarez's fights, he's had things his own way, but I've had sticky moments in my career where I've had to dig deep and grind out a win.
"I'm 29 now, physically and mentally I'm coming towards my peak, so I believe this fight's coming at a good time for me. I've always believed I could be a world champion, It's a life-long dream and I'm within touching distance now."
Victory over Alvarez seems unlikely. But spring an upset and Matthew will be able to look Ricky in the eye when they are both in their dotage and say: "What I pulled off that night in California was the equal of anything you managed." And he would be right.