Peter Wells reports as Canelo Alvarez gets nod over Erislandy Lara with a split decision win, which will divide as much opinion post fight as it did pre fight.
By Peter Wells:
Beforehand the tentative pick was for Erislandy Lara to win, but I was edging towards Canelo Alvarez on the sad basis that if the fight were close then Canelo would receive the verdict. This prior knowledge is not what boxing fans want. The fact that a certain fighter must win 8 clear rounds to get a verdict, that he must virtually dominate the contest to be given a fair shake. Now while I am NOT claiming that Alvarez’s split decision victory was the wrong decision – it was a contest that could have gone either way – but the fact that the result was inevitable because of the close nature of the contest, highlights what is so wrong with judging in boxing, and why there are so many cases of robberies hindering the sport.
115-113 scorecards for each fighter were legitimate scores that no one could possibly argue with, but 117-111 for Canelo Alvarez! This is the point that I am trying to make when there is one judge that blatantly has no intention of scoring the fight for the unfavoured fighter.
My initial scorecard was 115-113, but I would like to re-watch the contest to verify my final verdict. Rounds 5, 6, 9 and 12 were particular stanza’s that could have tilted either way.
Lara started the contest well, behind a sharp jab that was doubled and even tripled while Canelo looked to find his range. That would not be easy against the mobile Lara, but a couple left hooks to the body – Alvarez’s Sunday punch – would certainly help.
Lara was less busy in the next two rounds but he still remained in enough control to claim them both. Alvarez was unable to land anything significant outside of the odd left hook to the ribcage. Lara was not landing much but his ring generalship was enough with Canelo landing little of effect.
A significant change came in the 4th as Alvarez was in range to pound the body of Lara, who was beginning to feel the heat. Lara managed to sting Alvarez with a sharp left, but the pressure was telling.
Both had their own respective successes in rounds 5 and 6, I split the rounds but they could quite easily have both gone to Alvarez or both gone to Lara.
The 7th saw a cut open up over the right eye of Lara, caused by a lovely grazing uppercut. Lara was covering up well but after the cut appeared a slight sign of panic came across Lara who clearly lost the round.
The trend continued in the 8th as the momentum was clearly shifting, Lara’s effectiveness with the left cross down the pipe was dipping. Alvarez had little to walk through now, and Lara’s movement became just that, rather than anything effective.
The 9th was another tight round, Alvarez still piling forward with effective pressure but Lara responded well, getting behind several double jabs which had been missing for the previous few rounds.
Suddenly Lara seemed to find a second wind as Alvarez was once again unable to land, allowing Lara to get off first before he slid off the ropes and circled a frustrated Alvarez. The left hand continued to land with ease in the 11th as Lara looked to take a slight lead late in the fight.
Alvarez’s corner also showed urgency during the final minute break before Canelo came out with a solid final round on his mind. Canelo won the first half of the round with powerful combinations with Lara stuck on the ropes, before Lara made his way back into the round as Canelo was unable to keep up the intensity, another session that could have been scored for either fighter.
Alvarez 44-1-1(31) taking the split decision will likely move up to Middleweight rather than hand Lara the rematch that this close contest merits. But boxing is a business and while a second bout between the two would bring as much interest, fights with the likes of Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin are contests the whole world wants to see.
Canelo showed he learnt from some of the lessons he received against Floyd Mayweather, but he was still guilty of waiting too long and allowing the counterpuncher to shoot first. He also remains a sucker for the backhand, whether that be from the orthodox or southpaw stance.
The Cotto clash seems a winnable fight, a true 50/50 contest, but his inability to avoid the backhand would be a worry if he were to meet the heavy fisted – understatement of the year – Golovkin. The right cross of Golovkin would be a potent weapon that Canelo would need to fathom to stand any chance against the number 1 Middleweight.
While Alvarez will move on to greater things, Lara 19-2-2(12) is stuck in a tricky situation with a rematch unlikely. Where Lara goes from here depends on how much Golden Boy is willing to invest in his career. Let’s just hope that the talented Cuban doesn’t become an outcast like fellow countryman and pound for pound star Guillermo Rigondeaux.
On a packed Pay-Per-View undercard, Abner Mares 27-1-1(14) returned from a first round defeat to Jhonny Gonzalez with a unanimous decision win over Jonathan Oquendo 24-4(16).
Mares dominated an unlively contest after shaking off the cobwebs in the early stages, taking the contest 96-94 and 98-92 (twice).
Francisco Vargas 20-0-1(14) took the biggest scalp of his career thus far when he stopped Juan Manuel Lopez 34-4(31) in 3 rounds.
Lopez was dropped hard in the 3rd, before his corner retired their fighter in-between rounds 3 and 4.
The odd exchanges in the opening 2 rounds went to Vargas before he caught JuanMa with a hard right before a culmination of shots sent the former world titlist to the canvas. Lopez became even more raged after he touched down and was rightly pulled out before taking unnecessary punishment.
In the opening Pay-Per-View bout, Mauricio Herrera 21-4(7) continued his good run of form with a Majority decision victory over Paul Spadafora conquorer, Johan Perez 19-2-1(13).
Not noted as a puncher, Herrera stung Perez on several occasions, dominating much of the contest behind an aggressive approach. Perez failed to make his physical attributes count as he lost his WBA Interim Light Welterweight title with scores of 114-114 and 116-112 (twice).
On the untelevised card, Tomoki Kameda 30-0(19) stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu 46-3(31) in 7 rounds to retain his WBO Bantamweight title. The bout was a split draw at the time of the knockout.