LAS VEGAS – One-punch was all that was needed as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez capitalized on Amir “King” Khan’s only mistake. And it was over without a whimper on Saturday.
No shame in losing to the bigger guy, WBC middleweight titlist Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), but Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) had his moments at the brand new T-Mobile Arena. All those moments added up to a knockout loss.
With middleweight monster Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin in the arena looking to fight the winner, the ending left no doubt that Alvarez may be the only fighter capable of making a real challenge.
During the fight Khan used his mobility and quick hands to keep Mexico’s Alvarez from running him over. He seldom fired combinations of more than two punches at a time. The reason was clear as Alvarez punished the body in retribution.
Slowly Alvarez began connecting to the body with thudding shots mostly with the right hand. Soon the left hooks to the head followed and by the fifth round a left hook caused a cut under Khan’s right eye.
The body work by Alvarez began coming more often like a lawnmower as he cut down Khan’s movement. In the sixth round left hooks and a three-punch combination landed flush. Khan retaliated with his own two-punch combo and was looking to counter again when suddenly a well-timed overhand right cross blasted Khan to the floor. His head bounced off the canvas violently.
Referee Kenny Bayless waved the fight over and Alvarez walked over and went over with a concerned look. After two minutes Khan was conscious.
But for five rounds Khan held his own and Alvarez was not surprised.
“Like I said we were prepared because I knew it was going to be complicated in the beginning and come to my favor later,” Alvarez said. “It’s always complicated with a fighter who moves quickly and is fast. That’s how it is with fighters like that.”
Khan was not ashamed by his knockout loss. Instead he was seemingly proud of his challenge.
“I achieved my goal by getting in the ring. I tried my best,” said Khan looking alert despite the savage knockout loss. “I want to be the best and I want to fight the best. My natural weight is 147.”
With the large crowd listening and Golovkin looking inside the ring like the boogie man, Alvarez was asked why he allowed the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titlist in the ring.
“I like to surprise everybody,” said Alvarez. “We don’t (mess) around in Mexico. I don’t fear anyone or anybody.”
Is Golovkin next?
In a fight that might have been a rehearsal for a future middleweight title fight Canada’s David Lemieux (35-3, 32 KOs) stopped Glen Tapia (23-3, 15 KOs) with a left hook-right hand combination at 56 seconds into the fourth round. It was a short night for “Jersey Boy” Tapia and a solid prize for Lemieux who grabs the NABO middleweight title with the knockout.
Lemieux was the aggressor at the opening bell and seemed much quicker than Tapia who was unable to mount any form of an attack. With the win the Canadian middleweight could be next in line for Canelo Alvarez.
“Hats off to Glen Tapia a very solid fighter,” said Lemieux. “I saw some openings and I took them.”
Tapia was upset that his corner that includes trainer Freddie Roach stopped the fight but admitted he made a mistake.
“I was throwing a wide right,” Tapia said. “I wasn’t that hurt. It was like a flash knockdown.”
Lemieux sees another future world title fight.
“It’s just the beginning. I’ve got a lot of good things to accomplish,” he said.
East L.A.’s Frankie Gomez (21-0, 13 KOs) fought smartly in using movement and his athleticism to win by unanimous decision over Riverside’s Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (22-6, 7 KOs) after 10 rounds in a welterweight match.
Herrera fought well inside when they mixed it up in close quarters. But Gomez quickly moved the fight to the outside where his quick footwork allowed him to dictate the pace. Though he seldom caught the clever Herrera flush, he cut down on his power shots in favor of quick short shots. It was the formula he used throughout the fight.
All three judges scored it 100-90 for Gomez but I find it difficult to see how the first round was given to the East L.A. fighter when he did not land a clean blow. Herrera had his moments in the fifth and sixth rounds but was not given credit for work inside.
Still, Gomez showed he could handle himself against a world class fighter.
Curtis Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) quickly showed Brazil’s Patrick Teixeira that he wasn’t ready for the A class in knocking out the taller fighter at 1:04 of the second round. A perfect counter right cross ended the fight as Teixiera was dubbed unable to continue by referee Tony Weeks.
“It’s like that sometimes,” said Stevens from New York City. “This is boxing.”
Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) faced another undefeated fighter in Rocco Santomauro (13-1) and quickly proved his own pedigree was too much. A counter right floored Santomauro in the second round of their super bantamweight fight. After that, De La Hoya was in complete control and forced the brave fighter Santomauro’s corner headed by Shane Mosley to toss in the towel at 1:59 of the seventh round.
Irish Jason “El Animal” Quigley (11-0, 9 KOs) may not achieved a knockout win but gave his best performance in defeating the very underrated James De La Rosa in their 10-round middleweight clash. The undefeated middleweight was able to show all of his skills and needed them against De La Rosa who forced the Irish fighter to the distance. All three judges scored every round for Quigley 100-90.
“I didn’t want to go for the KO because I never went 10 rounds before,” said Quigley adding that the most he fought was seven. “I didn’t want to blow myself out.”
If fans wondered if Quigley could take a punch in return, De La Rosa connected several times on the button. But, the Irish boxer absorbed them and returned fire every time. “I’ll never back down from anyone. I’m lucky the man above made me kind of hard.”
Lamont Roach (11-0, 3 KOs) of Washington D.C. won every round but was deducted a point in the sixth round for continued low blows against Jose Esquivel (9-5, 2 KOs) on Mexico. All the scores were 79-72 for Roach.
Rashidi Ellis (15-0, 11 KOs) of Boston defeated Marco Antonio Lopez (24-9, 15 KOs) by unanimous decision after eight rounds of a super welterweight contest. Ellis was the much quicker fighter but was unable to crack the defensive mode Lopez chose. There were no knockdowns but Ellis was able to use his skills over the eight rounds to win by 80-72 on all three cards.
David Mijares (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision over Omar Reyes (1-3) in a four round super lightweight match. The scores were 40-36. Mijares fights out of Santa Monica, Calif. and Reyes is from Corpus Christi, Texas.