Pre-Fight: Oscar De La Hoya, standing inside the ring with the Mexican National Team goalkeeper, looks to be more nervous and jittery than either fighter in their respective locker rooms. No surprise, I suppose. If Canelo wins, he is validated as a top-of-the-food chain fighter. If not, Lara won't bring Golden Boy nearly as much revenue moving forward…and neither will Canelo.
Lara booed on his way to the ring…he seems relatively unfazed.
Canelo looks supremely focused. All business during his methodical walk to the ring. He's been here (big stage) before, and Lara has not. Could be a (small) factor.
This one is a genuine toss-up and classic clash of styles. Biggest question mark is which Lara we see tonight. He can be brilliant and he can be forgettable. He'll need to be brilliant to avoid Canelo's power. Here we go.
Touch of gloves, Lara takes the center of the ring. Lara looking long with his jab and sticking it in Canelo's grill. Lara looking to counter. Canelo now stalking while Lara moves along the outside well. Good body shots by both fighters. Nice combination lands for Lara and he's out of punching range before Canelo can respond. Not a ton lands of significance, but Lara takes round 1 10-9 based on a few clean shots and controlling the distance/pace. Canelo will need to cut off the ring much better or it will be a long night.
Canelo lands a nice right to start round two and follows up with a few power shots that partially land. Lara answers with a straight left. Lara's left seems there all night, major hand-speed advantage. Canelo looks a bit stiff and his lack of head movement could cost him. Few nice body shots by Canelo, followed by an awkward clinch as Canelo lifts Lara off the ground with his body. Ref in to break it up quickly. Nice straight Left again for Lara. 10-9 Canelo due to effective aggression, but could go either way.
Canelo misses a wild uppercut to begin round 3. Canelo seems content to allow Lara to maintain outside leverage with his lead foot, which doesn't typically bode well when a traditional fighter faces a Southpaw like Lara. Pro-Mexican crowd expressing displeasure with Lara's movement. Canelo following Lara around ring rather than cutting it off and getting off his combinations. Good right hand for Lara. Alvarez hitting nothing but air. Hard straight left for Lara. And another. Lara putting on a clinic in round 3. If he doesn't tire from all of the lateral movement, this might become lopsided. That said, Canelo's power can rear its head at any time (and it may need to). Lara 10-9.
Canelo looking more aggressive and landing some good body shots to punctuate his combos. Lara stopped moving and it allowed Canelo an opening. Good Left again by Lara. Alvarez swinging wildly, but whiffs again. Straight Left again for Lara. Good straight right to body by Canelo. Canelo only successful to body so far. Swelling on Canelo's right eye from Lara's continuous lead straight lefts (taking a page from Floyd). Canelo 10-9 based on aggression + body work. Lara's movement is dictating this fight, but he didn't do enough on offense and couldn't stay on gas pedal. If Canelo's body shots can slow down Lara's movement, it would be a game-changer. Also needs an answer for straight left.
Lara uses left hand as a trap for a really nice right hook early in 5. Few more good, clean punches for Lara. Canelo answers with good body work. 2 more good hooks to body on Lara. Straight left again for Lara. Left hook to Lara's belt line. Lara slowing down, perhaps a result of the body work of Canelo. Few big swings and misses for Canelo to close 5. Not much action here as both men seemed to try to catch a breath. 10-9 Canelo (this one could easily go either way)
Canelo now taking the center of the ring. If he could use his jab more effectively, the power shots would be there. GLancing left for Lara. Canelo keeps stalking and missing wide, wild punches. Lara seems content to play defense. Nice lead left for Lara again. Canelo simply cannot trap Lara against ropes or in corner. Nice flurry inside by Canelo at end of round. 10-9 Lara (another very close one could go either way since not much landed for either fighter)… I can already see a weird decision brewing. Few very close rounds.
Nice left for Lara. Good double left hook to body for Canelo. He has to punch when Lara punches. More body work from Canelo. Canelo cannot get through up top. Lara is cut above his right eye, didn't see a clash of heads…but will update. Cut is in a bad spot, but doesn't look awful. Cut was from a nice uppercut from Canelo (maybe his first solid head shot). 10-9 Canelo for body work.
Lara looks more ready to engage here as he takes the center of the ring…and then he's back on his bicycle. Good 1-2 for Lara. Lead left hoo kto body for Canelo, then a combo up top lands for the Mexican. Canelo doing a much better job jabbing and putting punches together, a bi-product of Lara slowing down. Few soft shots land for Lara. Crowd getting loud behind Canelo. 10-9- Canelo. Last 2 rounds probably easiest ones to score for Canelo so far.
Right to body by Canelo. Left straight by Lara. Another left hand to body for Canelo (tough to win decisions with body punching, however), Note: Showtime's Steve Farhood has this even thru 8. Lara with a combination that lands. Flurry to body for Canelo. Canelo opening up, but not landing much of anything (pro-Mexican crowd doesn't care). Canelo landing heavy to body in corner while Lara looks to counter over the top with check right hooks. Nice uppercut by Lara. Lara slips to canvas, but clearly called a slip by ref. Nice left to close round for Lara. 10-9 Canelo due to body work again (but another verrrrry close round).
I have it 6 rounds to 3 in favor of Canelo as we head to championship rounds, but it wouldn't be crazy to have it just the other way. Good left hand for Lara. Canelo continues chasing down the elusive Lara. Lara with a nice, quick combo to head of Canelo. When Lara is moving well, he is dominating. It's when he stops that Canelol catches him. Lara completely controlling distance until Canelo cracks him with left hook to body. Nice lead uppercut barely catches Lara. Glancing right for Canelo. 10-9 Lara. This fight, unsurprisingly looks a lot like Canelo-Trout, and Canelo won that decision by landing one late knockdown. Looking unlikely here, but would be a HUGE swing.
Very close, competitive fight. Big rounds on the cards here… More of the same as Lara dances around outside (not a knock) landing here and there while Canelo stalks and misses big punches. Good exchange of body punches. Big straight right for Canelo as he looks incapable of cutting off ring. 10-9 Lara. Not a very fan-friendly round/style for Lara, but it's certainly effective. Moving left, then right, then back left.. and Canelo is just following him without doing a ton on offense.
We go to the cards. Really nice, competitive fight. I scored it 7-5 Canelo, but I feel like Lara won the fight. That's always a recipe for disputed/split decisions, draws, and such. Honestly, really tough fight to score and none of the above outcomes would be very controversial. I frequently make the case for more common scoring of even (10-10 rounds)…
Canelo needs this round. And he clearly knows it as he's uber-aggressive to start the round. Big 1-2 for Lara to slow him down. Canelo with a 5-punch combo that comes up empty. Good shot on ropes by Canelo, but he lets Lara out. Lara content to run for most part this round, but now Canelo tiring, too. Last minute will decide round. Straight left for Lara, body work by Canelo (sensing a theme?). Nice right by Canelo, then a left by Lara at the bell. 10-9 Canelo.
Official result: 115-113 (lara), 115-113 (Alvarez), and 117-111 (Canelo)… AND STILL….
I don't see how you score this that widely for Canelo, honestly. 115-113 either way makes perfect sense, but if anyone won 117-111, I expected to hear Lara's name associated. Similar to the Trout fight, Canelo eeked out a split decision and didn't answer too many questions about himself. He will always struggle with very slick, elusive boxers. However, a win is a win, and he's onto Cotto if I had to guess… which promises fireworks since Cotto certainly won't run.