SAN DIEGO, November 21, 2015 – Fans came to the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday flying their colors, becoming part of a longtime boxing rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico. Everyone declared themselves one way or the other: those loyal to Puerto Rico’s greatest champion, Miguel Cotto; and those supporting the young pride of Mexico, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Cotto vs. Canelo delivered on its promise of an exciting bout, if not quite a Fight of the Year candidate, with Alvarez delivering a unanimous decision victory that will join a long legacy of success for Mexican boxing stars.
The scorecards were surprisingly wide; Burt Clemens of Nevada scored it 118-110; John McKaie of New York 117-111; and Dave Moretti by 119-109. Alvarez is now the WBC Middleweight Champion and the lineal middleweight champion with his victory over Cotto. Alvarez is now 46-1-1, 32 KOs; Cotto drops to 40-5, 33 KOs.
An emotional Alvarez said after the fight of his win, “It’s an emotion I just can’t put into words. I’m very happy, much respect to Miguel Cotto, he’s a great champion and a great fighter. But now it’s my era.
Alvarez continued, “It’s a great victory for me, not just for me for but my whole country, for all my people, for my family, and especially for my team. I have a great trainer (Eddy Reynoso), he’s the one that brought me here from nothing, I didn’t even know what a jab was. We get to this level and that shows the quality of these trainers.
“I’m very proud to have people like them and more than trainers, they are my family. I want to thank my family, my friends that have always supported me, all this is for them.”
Alvarez said he was the faster, stronger fighter, and wasn’t hurt by Cotto’s punches.
Cotto left without comment, stopping to embrace his family before leaving the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Trainer Freddie Roach said of his effort, “”We thought it was much closer than the scorecards showed. It was a very competitive fight. Miguel’s defense was unbelievable.”
No disagreement with Roach, and Cotto deserves a great deal of respect for his effort. Clearly the smaller man, Cotto showed all the skills that have made him Puerto Rico’s greatest champion. His jabs were fast and kept Alvarez at bay many times when he needed to avoid punishment. He connected well, but he could not hurt the larger, younger, stronger Alvarez the way he was getting hurt by Canelo’s power shots.
According to CompuBox stats, Alvarez landed 155 of 484 total punches (32%); Cotto landed 129 of 629 punches (21%) Alvarez’s landed 118 power punches to 75 for Cotto. After the bout, trainer Freddie Roach said the game plan was to work behind the jab, but says they should have worked the hook a little more.
The first few rounds were even, but Alvarez visibly gained confidence round by round as he realized Cotto could not seriously hurt him. Alvarez deployed powerful upper cuts, left and right hooks, combined with good upper body movement allowing him to avoid many of Cotto’s advances.
The fight seemed to turn for good to Canelo’s favor in the seventh round as he snuck in a powerful right upper cut as Cotto advanced on him. From one minute to the next, Alvarez was in charge. Canelo kept making the upper cuts work. Cotto decided to try and mix it up, throwing away the game plan, and Canelo was more than happy to trade with Cotto. To his credit, Cotto took the heat and stood up to it.
Cotto was far from done, he continued to give a good effort, but jabs could not trump hooks and upper cuts in the end. When Alvarez tried to close the show in the final round, he landed several impressive shots and while Canelo got the best of Cotto, he could not drop the great champion. At the end of the round, the two embraced, showing the respect they have demonstrated for each other throughout the lead up to the contest.
Now that Alvarez has beaten Cotto to win the WBC middleweight title (vacated by Cotto before the fight by refusing to pay sanctioning fees), fans will celebrate tonight, then begin clamoring for Alvarez to face the man most consider the de factor if not the linear middleweight champion, Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. The fight isn’t likely to happen right away, but Golden Boy Promotions must respond regarding the bout in the next two weeks.
After the bout, when asked about Golovkin, Alvarez said without hesitation he would put the gloves on right now. “I’m not afraid of any fighter. GGG is a great fighter, and he is my friend. I have respect for him, but if we do fight it’s going to be at my weight class. I’m the champion, I don’t have to do what he wants.”
At the post fight news conference, Alvarez’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions said his next fights were being locked in for Cinco de Mayo and the weekend of September 16 in 2016. “I’m not announcing anything” regarding an opponent, said De La Hoya. “I’m going to let him rest. Is he going to fight Triple G? Yes, that’s not a question. Canelo is wiling to fight the very best. That’s why he’s the guy, today. He’s made his mark. Canelo is the guy who is on top of the sport now. And the fans deserve the best fights, and that’s what we deliver.”
The 11,274 fans, predominantly fans of Canelo Alvarez, left the Mandalay Bay Events Center in a celebratory mood, looking forward to the Canelo Era to come.
HBO will replay Cotto vs. Canelo on Saturday, November 28, at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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