Saul “Canelo” Alvarez pressured Erislandy Lara all night long. The judges rewarded him with a split decision victory in their 155 lbs clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
After being humiliated in the ring by Floyd Mayweather Jr last year, Canelo Alvarez knew the only way to beat a skilled and technical fighter would be to put relentless pressure on him. Alvarez did that, and while Lara was able to avoid a lot of his power punches, the judges presumably gave credit to Canelo’s more meaningful punches than Lara’s jabs and ring movement.
We Were Robbed
After the bout, Lara’s trainer Ronnie Shields said “they were robbed.” And they had a point. While Alvarez landed the heavier blows, Lara “controlled” the fight with his jab, counter punching and movement, although at times it looked like he was giving away some rounds by wasting his time on his bicycle. But the punch numbers agreed with Lara who said he “won the bout 100%.”
Compubox numbers had Lara landing 107 out of 386 total punches while Alvarez could only manage 97 of 415 punches. But it was obvious that Canelo’s punches had more sting in them. Alvarez out landed Lara in the power punching department 88-52, but the skillful Lara had the advantage in jabs 55-9. In the end the judges scored the bout 115-113,-113-115 and 117-11 for Alvarez. Ring Magazine and Yahoo Sports scored it 115-113 for Lara, The Associated Press had it 114-114 while ESPN.com had it 116-112 for Alvarez.
Running Doesn’t Win Fights
Alvarez acknowledged Lara’s skill by saying that “he is a skilled boxer and has a good jab”. But he insisted that running won’t win fights, hitting does. He said that he came to the ring to fight while Lara came to run. Alvarez added that he wanted to “leave a good taste in the mouth of his fans.” And he did.
They were chanting his name as early as the second round when he landed a solid overhand right that stunned Lara. Lara was never in serious trouble though and he even connected on stiff left hands that swelled Canelo’s eye in Round 4. In Round 7 though, Alvarez landed a left uppercut that cut Lara on the right eye and it seemed that the Cuban was bothered by it the rest of the way.
But Lara kept moving away from Alvarez, landing counter lefts after Alvarez would throw his vaunted right hand. Canelo kept on missing, and Lara had him guessing in the final three rounds of the bout. Canelo’s corner told him before the start of round 12 that the fight was close and the Mexican kept the pressure until the final bell.
The loss was the second in Lara’s career. His record fell to 19-2-2 with 12 KOs. Alvarez improved to 44-1-1 with 31 KOs.