LAS VEGAS-One punch is all it takes to change a fight. This time one punch is all it took to end a one-sided fight in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s favor over Mexican slugger Alfredo “Perro” Angulo on Saturday.
The Angulo backers hissed, booed and fired full cups of beer into the ring in anger when the fight was stopped in round 10 for a technical knockout win for Alvarez.
“My job is just to do my work in the ring,” said Canelo after. “I let the judges and referees do their job.”
Guadalajara’s Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 Kos) did his job well against Mexicali, Mexico’s Angulo (22-4, 18 Kos) at the MGM, and he dominated the fight. No belt, but Mexican pride was the real prize and sometimes that’s a bad thing.
When both fighters were announced the boos cascaded throughout the arena. Half were devoted to Angulo and the other half to Alvarez. So when the fight was stopped suddenly by referee Tony Weeks, the crowd was downright ornery. Beer and water was tossed into the ring and the surrounding areas. A good thing they weren’t Molotov cocktails.
“He stopped the fight because he knew what was going on,” said Alvarez, who lost his last fight and junior middleweight world titles to Floyd Mayweather last September. “I was getting a little tired but I could have gone another 10 rounds.”
“Canelo” Alvarez showed off his faster hands and accuracy from the very first punch to the very last as he bounced punches off of Angulo’s head and face. Angulo’s plan to force the fight to go beyond seven rounds was not a good one. Though Alvarez’s endurance did wane, it was not enough to turn things in Angulo’s favor.
Alvarez tagged Angulo with the first left hook he fired from the hip in round one. There was no tentativeness on Alvarez’s part in the opening two rounds. Angulo merely pawed with his punches.
Before the third round began Angulo’s trainer Virgil Hunter chastised his fighter “Perro” Angulo and that seemed to fire up the fighter. He began to fire combinations though Alvarez kept firing back his own vicious left hooks and rights.
Alvarez began to slow down his punch output around round five and that allowed Angulo to begin firing his own three-punch combinations. Though Alvarez was decreasing his punches, those that he fired were connecting on the rock head of Angulo.
It wasn’t until the seventh round that Angulo began to catch up to Alvarez. The red head seemed to weaken a bit and that allowed the aggressive Angulo to gain confidence.
Angulo erupted with an array of blows in the eighth to the cheers of crowd. Alvarez urged him on to fire more blows and was obliged by the Mexicali slugger. After a dozen blows, Alvarez then erupted with his own combinations. Angulo nodded and motioned with his gloves to Alvarez to continue more. Many in the stands jumped to their feet in anticipation of toe-to-toe action. They finally received it and let the fighters know with cheers.
The Mexicali fighter with his crew cut hair and now swollen face, seemed boosted by the cheers and began to attack more aggressively. Alvarez tried firing back but was cautious of the incoming blows. It was another good round for Angulo in the ninth.
A fired up Angulo met Alvarez in the middle of the ring in round 10 and both fired punches. A counter left hook by Alvarez backed up Angulo and then the redhead followed up with a left uppercut that snapped back Angulo’s head. The referee jumped in between the fighters and motioned the fight was over. Angulo pranced around the ring in anger and shrugged off any attempts by people to trying to console him.
“I’m upset. They should have let the fight go on,” said Angulo who was never knocked down despite receiving some horrific blows. “The referee was wrong on this.”
Alvarez was happy by the win and even happier that neither fighter left seriously injured.
“It was a hard fight. I was in his territory and I was able to go toe-to-toe,” said Alvarez. “Thank God nobody got hurt.”
Alvarez later was cornered at the post press fight conference by current junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara. The Cuban southpaw asked for a fight but was rebuffed by Alvarez, who asked the crowd for a show of hands of those wanting Lara to fight him. Only two people out of a couple of hundred put their hands up.
That was the answer. But Alvarez will fight in July. It just won’t be Lara.
WBC junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 Kos) breezed through Mexico’s Cristian Mijares (48-8-2, 22 Kos) and showed the former champion that experience doesn’t always beat youth. Santa Cruz, 25, was persistent with the body attack and accurate with his combinations as Mijares tried in vain to find an antidote. Though cut alongside his right eye due to an accidental clash of heads, Santa Cruz was fresh for all 12 rounds against the 32-year-old Mijares. All three judges scored it heavily in favor of Santa Cruz 120-108 twice and 119-109.
“Mijares is a great boxer. I tried my best,” said Santa Cruz, of East Los Angeles who took home $500,000 for the fight. “We had difficulty but we practiced with southpaws every day.”
Venezuela’s Jorge Linares (36-3, 23 Kos) proved he’s not done yet as he dominated Japan’s Nihito Arakawa (24-4-1, 16 Kos) with speed and precision over 10 rounds in a lightweight bout. Linares ripped off numerous four-punch combinations against the always pressing Arakawa. Though the Japanese fighter was never seriously hurt, he could never seem to land a telling blow. Linares dazzled with sizzling left uppercuts that would have knocked out any other fighter but Arakawa.
“I knew he could take a punch,” said Linares, who is a former world champion and now will fight the WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa, who trains in Indio, Ca. “I hurt my hand against him in the fourth round.”
Arakawa never assumed he was close to winning the fight.
“I knew I was losing and I tried my best,” Arakawa said. “Linares is strong and very good.”
Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (29-3, 26 Kos) floored Ricardo Alvarez (23-3-3, 13 Kos) twice and out-punched the older brother of “Canelo” Alvarez through most of the 10-round lightweight fight. Despite the dominance, two judges scored it a close 95-93 for Thompson in a fight that seemed he won by a larger margin. One judge did score it 97-91 for Thompson, who took the fight on two week’s notice when the original scheduled fighter Omar Figueroa was injured during training.
“I’m very excited about this win because I was training for another fight,” said Thompson, who fights out of Cancun, Mexico and wins the WBC International lightweight title. “I was able to counter Alvarez effectively. I felt I had sufficient power at 135 pounds.”
Alvarez was disappointed by his performance.
“I didn’t have any power at this weight,” said Alvarez, who dropped down from junior welterweight to lightweight.
Mexico’s Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13 Kos) defeated Puerto Rico’s Abner Cotto (17-2, 8 Kos) by unanimous decision in an excellent display of scientific trench warfare. Both fighters slugged it out and neither was willing to give ground, but Vargas proved to be slightly more accurate and busier after 10 rounds of the junior lightweight clash.
Jerry Belmontes (19-3) out-boxed Australia’s Will Tomlinson (21-1-1, 12 Kos) and handed him his first career loss as a pro. Belmontes fights out of Corpus Christi, Texas. The scores were 99-91 and 98-92 for Belmontes.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (9-0, 7 Kos) blasted out Puerto Rico’s Jovany Fuentes (5-4, 4 Kos) with a left to the body for a knockout win at 2:59 of round five. Diaz, a former U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, Calif., fights as a junior featherweight.
St. Louis junior welterweight Keandre Gibson (9-0-1, 4 Kos) stopped Tijuana’s Antonio Wong (11-8-1) with a body shot at 1:51 of round four. Wong was able to take all of the head shots that were zinged his way by Gibson, but not the body shot.
Australia’s Steve Lovett (8-0, 6 Kos) knocked out Mexico’s Francisco Molina (2-3, 2 Kos) with a right cross at 1:13 of round two of a light heavyweight bout to remain undefeated. Lovett fights out of New South Wales.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV