Canelo Alvarez wins narrow split decision over Lara Saturday

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Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara fought to a split decision in favor of Alvarez Saturday in Las Vegas. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime

SAN DIEGO, July 12, 2014 – It wasn’t a robbery, but In a closely scored fight that will be argued about for a long time, Canelo Alvarez of Mexico won a split decision over Erislandy Lara of Cuba Saturday in Las Vegas.

Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Lara; Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for Alvarez. Levi Martinez has it 117-111 in favor of the winner, Alvarez. The two close cards were fair, but observers wondered what fight Martinez was watching.

Showtime will air a replay of the fight next Saturday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET on its regular channel.

Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs) won the first few rounds using his greater range and speed to move in, tag Alvarez with jabs, and move away. Lara’s jab set up his best weapon, his right hook. Lara isn’t a knockout artists, but the hooks were solid punches.

Canelo Alvarez's effective body work gave him the edge in his fight over Erislandy Lara. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime
Canelo Alvarez’s effective body work gave him the edge in his fight over Erislandy Lara. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime

Alvarez spent a lot of energy early trying to cut off the ring without success. But as the fight moved to the middle rounds, Alvarez started doing a better job of getting Lara in front of him long enough to work the body. Body shots put in the bank early pay dividends later in a fight. They tire the opponent out and give a puncher a chance against a boxer. It worked for Alvarez.

The stats tell the story. Of the 107 punches Lara landed, 55 were jabs. Of the 97 punches Alvarez landed, 88 were power punches and 73 of them were body shots.

Alvarez managed to catch Lara with a bracing upper cut in Round 7 that opened a cut over Lara’s right eye. The ringside physician said it was deep but not enough to stop the fight over it. Judges don’t score cuts but they are human beings, they see and assess visible damage accordingly.

Lara made himself a frustrating target to hit, and he picked his opportunities to do damage. He told Showtime’s Jim Gray he believed he won the fight. “I was controlling all the rounds, and more than anything I made him look bad in front of this crowd,” said Lara. “There is still no respect for him, and I am asking for a rematch again. 100 percent, I will do the same and I will win again.”

Canelo Alvarez can count himself fortunate to come away with a win on Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime.
Canelo Alvarez can count himself fortunate to come away with a win on Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime.

Alvarez dismissed Lara’s defensive game playing, to the delight of the partisan crowd. “I came to fight, I didn’t come to run. if you want to run a marathon, go join a marathon. You don’t win a fight by running.”

“He does have a great jab, and he moves around. But you don’t win a fight that way,” Alvarez added. “He’s a great fighter, I respect him, but he has to know how to throw more punches. I wasn’t frustrated, I came here to pressure the fight, and that’s what I did.”

At the post fight news conference, Lara repeated his call for a rematch, saying “I did my job. It was disgraceful what they did to me. We have to do an immediate rematch. He knows he lost in his heart.”

Alvarez said, “He said he was going to take me to school but no wants to go to that school.”

Alvarez is fortunate to come away with a victory. There is no reason from his perspective to give Lara a rematch. Alvarez would much rather fight someone similar in style like Miguel Cotto. From Golden Boy Promotion’s perspective, Cotto would make the far better pay per view draw. Follow the money.

Fernando Vargas made short work of Juan Manuel Lopez, ending the fight after three rounds. Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime.
Fernando Vargas made short work of Juan Manuel Lopez, ending the fight after three rounds. Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime.

Fans saw several good performances on the undercard. Fernando Vargas (20-0-1, 14 KOs) scored a third round TKO victory when Juan Manuel Lopez (34-4, 31 KOs) did not come out for Round 4 after his trainer stopped the fight. Vargas made the two-time veteran champion look sluggish. It may be time for Lopez to call it a career.

Featherweight Abner Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) did enough to win a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo (24-4, 16 KOs) of Venezuela. Mares admitted later he was rusty after being out of the ring for a year. Jacob “Stitch” Duran, Mares’ cutman, make a big difference in this bout. Mares suffered a significant cut early in the fight, but Stitch got it completely under control, a really fine job. A good cutman is never appreciated enough, and Mares sang his praises. Mares has a lot more work ahead of him, this wasn’t the impressive return to the ring he hoped for.

Mauricio Herrera (21-4, 7 KOs) of Riverside, California got the win he needed to keep his career on track with a majority decision over Johan Perez (19-2-1, 13 KOs) of Venezuela. Herrera put on a solid performance, if lacking slightly in fireworks.

Tomoki Kameda of Japan was impressive in his knockout victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime
Tomoki Kameda of Japan was impressive in his knockout victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Showtime

The best fight of the night took place prior to the televised PPV. The few fans in their seats and those watching on Showtime online saw WBO bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda score a knockout victory with a wicked good body shot that dropped Pungluang Sor Singyu in round 7. It didn’t even look that hard, but was perfectly placed with a left hook to the liver. Get Kameda on the network next time.

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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