Saul ‘Canelo,’ Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) won a unanimous points decision against Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) for the vacant WBC Middleweight title in a closely contested bout at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas on Saturday night.
In the immediate aftermath Alvarez, speaking through a translator challenged WBA/IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) who was sitting ringside to a fight.
“I’m not afraid of any fighter,” Alvarez said, “GGG is a great fighter, and he is my friend…with all due respect, if he wants to fight right now, I’ll put the gloves on and fight him.”
With this victory over Cotto, Alvarez has fifteen days to open negotiations with Golovkin, the mandatory challenger for the WBC belt or risk being stripped of the title. The prospect of Alvarez and Golovkin meeting in the ring is a mouth-watering possibility between two of the most fearsome punchers in boxing.
With this victory Alvarez becomes a two weight world champion and he was impressive on the night. Cotto’s movement gave Alvarez trouble in the early rounds as the Mexican struggled to land a solid blow on the veteran warrior. The action began to heat up in the fifth as Alvarez successfully landed an uppercut and Cotto responded with a solid left hook.
Cotto surprised many with his movement and stamina, there were more than a few who felt he would struggle with the younger Alvarez but he remained competitive throughout. Alvarez had a big eighth round landing a solid right and by the eleventh he had fully imposed his will. Cotto’s lateral movement kept him in the fight but the more impressive eye-catching work was coming from Alvarez.
At the final bell all three judges awarded Alvarez the decision by surprisingly wide scores; 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111 respectively. The fight was much closer than the scoring suggests and with a rematch clause in both fighters’ contracts we could see the pair do this all over again, if Alvarez ultimately chooses not to pursue the Golovkin fight. Watch this space.
Also on Saturday night British super-middleweight, Martin Murray (32-3-1, 15 KOs) was unsuccessful in his title challenge against WBO World super-middleweight champion Arthur Abraham (44-4, 29 KOs) at the Tui Arena, in Hannover, Germany.
This was Murray’s fourth attempt to win a world title having been unlucky not to in previous attempts. Murray started well against the notoriously slow starter Abraham, but by the fifth the champion was drawing cheers from the crowd with each punch he landed.
Murray produced a spirited performance but the momentum was shifting to Abraham who had a good round in the seventh landing a solid right and a short left to look impressive in front of the judges. Murray retaliated by wobbling Abraham in the eighth but he couldn’t capitalise despite following up with his trademark body shots.
The remainder of the bout was a closely fought affair but Murray was outworked by the champion, and he was docked a point for excessive holding in the eleventh. The final result was a split decision victory for Abraham as the judges scored it 115-112 for Murray and 115-112 and 116-111 for Abraham.
It is disheartening for Murray to be unsuccessful once again in a world title bid, but having only recently moved up to super-middleweight he has time to rebuild and mount another challenge.
Elsewhere, it was a happier night for Anthony ‘Million Dollar,’ Crolla (30-4-3, 12 KOs) who secured a fifth round knockout against Darleys Perez to win the WBA World lightweight title in the Manchester Arena. A left hook to the body, dropped the champion to the canvas in the fifth and he was unable to continue. This world title win marks an incredible comeback for Crolla who suffered a fractured skull last year when he confronted intruders in his neighbour’s house last year.
With this win Crolla also becomes the tenth British world champion currently active in the game which highlights that British boxing is currently riding the crest of a wave.
Tyrone Nurse W12 Chris Jenkins (British Super Lightweight Title)
Ryan Burnett W12 Jason Booth (British Bantamweight Title)
Francisco Vargas W TKO 9 Takashi Miura (WBC Super Featherweight Title)
Guillermo Rigondeaux W10 Drian Francisco (Super Bantamweight)
Ronny Rios W10 Jayson Velez (Featherweight)
Lee Haskins won the IBF bantamweight title on the scales as Randy Caballero failed to make weight.