This past Saturday night from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, the boxing world witnessed the second semi-final this year of the unofficial middleweight tournament. After twelve competitive rounds, Mexican super star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez put another notch on his belt and captured the WBC middleweight strap with a lopsided unanimous decision over Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto. Scores were 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111.
The fight was closer than that.
Controversy exploded on the internet with the result. Many actually saw Cotto win the fight. That is actually hard to believe. The action inside the ring was actually quite competitive. Cotto, who looked much smaller than Alvarez inside the ring, tried to out-box his opponent moving laterally around the ring. Alvarez, ten years younger than Cotto, stood his ground instead of following the mobile Puerto Rican and forced the former champion to look for the fight. “Canelo” took advantage of his longer reach and slightly quicker hands to catch Cotto coming in and score the harder punches. Cotto had his moments in the middle rounds when he put on an offensive with impressive combinations down the middle but Alvarez proved his defense had improved as he was able to slip the punches while coming back and scoring when Cotto was vulnerable.
The pro-“Canelo” crowd shared their approval at the decision while Alvarez cried at the shoulder of his trainer Chepo Reynoso. With the win, Alvarez became only the second Mexican to capture the middleweight title in history. The first? Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Cotto on the other hand, made a quick dash to his dressing room without giving Max Kellerman from HBO the traditional post-fight interview. Cotto wasn’t at the post-fight press conference either.
His trainer, Freddie Roach, has gone on record to say that perhaps they did lose but not by that wide of a margin. Roach also mentioned the end of Cotto’s career was near. One idea they do have is going down to the super welterweight division which makes sense since Cotto weighed in at 153 and a half pounds while Alvarez tipped the scale at the catch weight of 155 pounds. For the fight, Cotto made a minimum guaranteed purse of fifteen and a half million dollars while “Canelo” pocketed five million. The question here is who will Cotto fight at 154 pounds to make that kind of dough?
One fight that might make sense for Cotto would be David Lemieux. He is a big enough name to command a decent purse while might not be a bid enough threat. Cotto took every punch the much bigger Alvarez scored including huge right hands so he might be able to take Lemieux’s big punch.
All roads lead to Golovkin. If he wants to keep that title, he must face “GGG” unless the WBC, which they are known to do, change their rules somehow. Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the Council, has already announced the winner must face Golovkin. Cotto wants it at a catch weight, Golovkin doesn’t.
Let’s see who wins that first battle.