By Luis Sandoval
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KO) made a successful comeback after his loss last September against Floyd Mayweather as he dismantled Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-4, 18KO) and stopped him in the 10th round of their Junior Middleweight contest.
If Alvarez was looking to redeem himself for his performance in his first professional defeat last year, he did that and more as he put a beating on Angulo who was never able to work himself into the fight. Angulo is known to take a punch to give one but in this case he took one punch too many as referee Tony Weeks was forced to step in and call a halt to the action much to the dismay of the crowd on hand.
Canelo wasted absolutely no time and jumped on Angulo from the opening bell as he landed a flush left hook and followed up with a right hand and attack to the body.
Canelo’s hand speed and power was evident early as he ripped Angulo with combinations as everything he threw appeared to be with bad intentions.
Angulo has never been difficult to hit and Alvarez took advantage as his faster hands connected continuously on his opponent’s head and body. The aggressiveness Canelo fought with indicated he was looking to end things early and to test Angulo’s chin and heart.
While Canelo’s looked fast and crisp, Angulo appeared to be fighting under water as his punches were slow and didn’t pack the same zip as his opponent. Even when Angulo tried to mount an attack, it was quickly countered by Canelo who threw in combination and power and pushed Angulo back.
By round four Alvarez was having target practice with Angulo’s stationary head. Angulo’s ability to take Canelo’s best punch was almost as impressive as Canelo’s dazzling offense as he hit him with every punch in his arsenal. To his credit, Angulo continued to come forward but was met with uppercuts and sweeping hooks for his troubles.
By the 6th round nothing had changed except the damage that Angulo’s face was showing. Alfredo is known for his relentless pressure but just wasn’t able to make Canelo fight at a pace he was uncomfortable with. Alvarez was able to see everything Angulo was throwing and either evaded it or beat him to the punch.
The fight was billed “Toe to Toe” and in the 8th round, the action lived up to the name as both fighters went to war much to the delight of the robust crowd. Canelo decided to lay on the ropes and both men took turns landing their power punches and taunted each other to keep them coming. It was one of the best moments and rounds of the fight.
The end would come two rounds later as Canelo landed a powerful left uppercut that caused Tony Weeks to step in and call a stop to the fight as he had seen Angulo take enough punishment. This decision didn’t sit well with Angulo who pushed Weeks off him as he was visibly upset. It also didn’t sit well with the hostile crowd as boos rained down and so did beer cans and water bottles.
While the crowd continued to show their displeasure, Alvarez made it clear that the stoppage was not his choice and it was not his fault the fight ended the way it did.
“[The crowd] didn’t think the referee did a god job in stopping it. It’s not my fault. I did my work. Each round I would stop and fight him and win the rounds in his terrain of toe to toe.” said Canelo after his victory.
This was a much needed victory for Alvarez who was also headlining his first pay per view as the main attraction. He looked like a completely different fighter than who we saw last September as he know looks forward to new challenges.
As for Angulo, he suffers back to back losses for the first time in his career and he was dominated throughout the entire fight. A comeback will be an uphill battle but he showed heart and determination even in defeat.
Leo Santa Cruz (27-0, 15KO) successfully defended his WBC Super Bantamweight title for the 2nd time against veteran Cristian Mijarez (49-8-2, 24KO) as he outworked him over 12 rounds and was awarded a unamimous decision with scores of 119-109 and 120-108 twice.
Santa Cruz was his usual self as he pressed the action and threw a multitude of punches. Mijares did his best to fire back and while he landed back, they didn’t have the same effect as Santa Cruz’s. The crafty veteran looked overwhelmed early on as it was Santa Cruz who mounted his attack.
In the 4th round a clash of heads opened up a cut on over Santa Cruz’s left eye as blood immediately began to gush out. Not deterred by cut, Santa Cruz continued his attack and managed to hurt Mijares with a solid shot to the body. Soon Mijares appeared to get on his bicycle as he used his legs and circled around the ring in round 5.
Santa Cruz was relentless and even though Mijares found more success coming forward than moving back, it still wasn’t enough to change the momentum of the fight. After 12 rounds, Santa Cruz scored a lopsided decision as he now eyes mandatory challenger Carl Frampton as his next opponent.