Las Vegas, NV—Another chapter has been written in the historic boxing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico. Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are regarded by many as the two best junior middleweights in the world. Cotto and Canelo locked horns at a catch weight of 155 pounds (five pounds less than the middleweight limit), in one of the most anticipated fights of the year, for the Ring middleweight championship, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Alvarez captured the vacant WBC middleweight title via a unanimous decision victory, by scores of 119-109, 118-110, and 117-111. Although Canelo and Cotto may have fallen short on delivering a modern day boxing classic, it was still an entertaining scrap nonetheless, that was much closer than the scorecards had indicated. The 25-year-old Canelo used his physical advantages of size and strength to stalk and back up the smaller and older Cotto. Cotto’s game plan was to box. He worked the jab well, and was able to utilize angles effectively against the ‘slow-footed’ Canelo. But the telling difference of the contest was that Cotto wasn’t successful making Canelo back up.
“It’s an emotion I can’t put into words,” said Alvarez, who won his second world title in as many weight classes. “I’m very happy, and much respect to Miguel Cotto. I will always respect him and he’s a great champion, but now it’s my era. I was fully prepared for what Cotto was going to do in the ring, whether that was taking a defensive stance or being the aggressor.”
The WBC decided to strip Cotto just a few days before the bout, due to a dispute over the sanctioning fee. The WBC was requesting $300,000.00, which Canelo paid. As for Cotto, he made a counter offer of $125,000.00, which the WBC shot down. The WBC wasn’t up for the idea of negotiating the fee. When the scores were revealed, Cotto retreated to his dressing room. Cotto did not participate in any post fight interviews, or at the post-fight press conference.
Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who was working in Cotto’s corner for the fourth consecutive time, chimed in with an opinion on what transpired in the fight that many believed was going to determine if the union between Cotto and Roach was legit.
“We thought it was much closer than the scorecards showed.” Continuing, “It was a competitive fight. Miguel’s defense was unbelievable all night long.”
There were several close rounds in the fight. Rounds 4, 8, 10, and 11 were tough ones to score. atombash.com scored it a draw, live from the press box. Once the video of the contest became available, upon further review, atombash.com re-scored it 115-113 in favor of Canelo.
With the loss, the 35-year-old Cotto drops to 40-5, (33). Cotto has one fight left on his contract with Roc Nation Sports. Cotto gave a tremendous effort that left the 11,274 in attendance believing that he still has a lot left in the tank. He has the option of moving back down to 154 pounds, and more than likely could win another title in a big fight against the likes of an Erislandy Lara or a Demetrius Andrade. A rematch with Canelo isn’t out of the realm of possibility either. But bear in mind that Cotto is 1-3 without the backing of his former promoter Top Rank.
With the victory, Canelo improves to 46-1-1, (33). And now that he is crowned king of the 160 pound division, Canelo must now face interim titleholder Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin, who is known as “GGG”, is undefeated, a big puncher, and one of the best fighters pound-for-pound.
“I am not afraid of any fighter. Gennady is a great fighter, and he is my friend,” Canelo said. “I have respect for him, but if we do fight, it’s going to be at my weight class. I’m the champion. I don’t have to do what he wants. With all due respect, if he wants to fight right now, I’ll put the gloves on fight him.”
Canelo has taken risks in the past. He has fought Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, and Lara when he was advised not to. All of the aforementioned fighters were supposedly bad style matchups for him. Now that Canelo has added Cotto to the list of opponents that he has beaten on his resume, history suggests that Canelo and Golovkin will face each other in the immediate future, most likely at a catch weight of 157-158 pounds. The fight would provide fistic fireworks, and prove to be a financial blockbuster.