Saturday, March 8, 2014, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) delivered a sensational twelve-round performance over a slow Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) in a Junior Middleweight fight.
The fight was the main event of a pay-per-view presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime Sports.
As if to quickly remove the bitter taste of defeat from his last bout, Alvarez began the fight aggressively, landing a powerful left hook to start the first round.
Angulo could not deal with Alvarez’s deceptive speed and was susceptible to overhand rights, left hooks, and even jabs throughout the round.
Angulo’s punches were just too slow, and the shortness with which they were thrown did not seem to give them any power.
In the second round, as promised, both fighters stood toe-to-toe, but with Alvarez toying with Angulo, easily evading Angulo’s inside work while responding with powerful counter punches.
In the third and fourth rounds, Alvarez landed punches that bordered on disturbing, easily landing on a stationary Angulo. It is a miracle Angulo was still standing after the opening rounds, taking punches that would have knocked out most fighters.
Despite the barks and cheers for “Perro,” it seemed as if Alvarez would be headed for a unanimous decision, given the number of punches Angulo was able to withstand.
In the eighth round, after finding his rhythm and being able to win rounds on cruise control, Alvarez engaged in a street fight with Angulo. Among cheers that were exchanged between “Perro!” and a much louder “Canelo!,” Alvarez was able to engage in the war most thought he couldn’t do.
By the ninth round, it seemed as if Angulo could do nothing to hurt Alvarez, who landed punishing uppercuts and left hooks to the swollen face of a punished dog. Angulo had been taking a lot of punishment.
Indeed, despite a vociferous crowd, referee Tony Weeks was forced to stop the fight during the tenth round. The fans were clearly disappointed, even booing Alvarez’s face as it appeared on the screen to announce the winner.
In the post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray, Alvarez stated that it was not his fault and that he was happy with his work against Angulo.
As he made his way out of the arena, the crowd threw anything from cups of beer to “Canelo” shirts at the winner—the former of which landed on trainer Chepo Reynoso’s head.
It is unclear whether this charade, which was supposed to re-elevate his name to pre-Mayweather status, did its job. Due to the post-fight reaction, it seems as if Alvarez lost even more fans after this fight.
In the opening bout of the night, after only taking the fight on two weeks’ notice, Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (28-3, 26 KOs) won an easy unanimous decision over Ricardo “Dinamita” Alvarez (23-3-3, 14 KOs) in the first televised fight of the pay-per-view event.
In the first round, Alvarez was quickly overwhelmed by Thompson’s powerful offense, almost being knocked down by a series of shots that went right through Alvarez’s defense.
In the second round, Alvarez landed a flurry of his own, but it was clear that he did not have the power to force Thompson to respect him.
Alvarez was dropped in the third by a jab, a powerful punch he received as he was coming forward. Alvarez was clearly unprepared for a man with the kind of power and skill that Thompson brought to the ring tonight.
In round seven, Alvarez was able to rally against an exhausted Thompson, but most of the punches were not landing cleanly. It could be argued that had Thompson been given a few more weeks to train, he would have finished the fight by the seventh.
In round eight, Alvarez was dropped again by a counter right hand and made one thing clear: It does not matter what country one is from, the universal reaction for a knockdown is a “Whoa!”
The crowd grew wild as Alvarez saw the canvas miraculously for the first time in the fight, but grew calm by the round’s end. Alvarez deserves credit for finishing the fight, but no more than that—it was a complete domination by Thompson.
The judges scored the bout 95-93, 95-93, 97-91.
In what seemed to be more exciting on paper, Jorge Linares (36-3, 23 KOs) won a unanimous decision against Nihito Arakawa (24-4, 16 KOs) in a 10-round Lightweight bout in the second fight of the evening.
The fight took a slow start, with neither fighter landing significant punches until the third round when Arakawa managed to land a solid combination that was followed by a bit of showboating.
Arakawa demonstrated why his war with Omar Figueroa lasted so long—he has a great chin, and does not have the power to stop an opponent. Nevertheless, he continued his offense and saw to land short punches from his southpaw stance.
By the middle rounds, Linares was clearly outboxing Arakawa, using his footwork and preventing him from landing short punches from the inside—punches that were not threatening enough to bother Linares.
In the ninth round, a bloody Linares—due to a cut above his right eye—did his best to push Arakawa off him. He was, however, unprepared to deal with the aggression Arakawa would deliver in the tenth round.
Against the soundtrack of thousands of boxing fans, Arakawa swung for the fences, ostensibly aware of how far he was in the scorecards. It was an effort that was appreciated shortly by the fans, who soon realized the fight would end without a knockout.
The judges scored the bout 98-92,100-90,100-90 and Linares earns the chance to fight WBC Lightweight champion Omar Figueroa.
In the co-main event, Leo Santa Cruz (27-0, 15 KOs) applied his trademark nonstop pressure to win a twelve-round unanimous decision over Christian Mijares (49-8, 24 KOs).
Santa Cruz began the fight by pressing the action from the opening bell. Mijares, fighting from a southpaw position from which he threw punches from a low guard, did his best to stifle Santa Cruz’s offense.
In the fourth round, Santa Cruz received a cut from a head-butt that was quickly dismissed by the referee. Santa Cruz would later clearly win the round after hurting Mijares with a serious of thunderous body shots.
After the sixth round, it seemed as if Mijares would last the full twelve, taking most of Santa Cruz’s punching and still doing his best to fight him off.
By the final round, a bloody Mijares did not go for the knockout. Instead, he relied on the lackluster body punching that made him a target for the entire night.
Santa Cruz, though, fueled by the last-second cheer from the entire arena, aimed for the knockout that seemed a mere inches away from him.
The effort was appreciated by the crowd and by the judges, who scored the bout
119-109, 120-108, 120-108.
All photos screen shots by Round By Round Boxing