By Jake Donovan
Whether or not the overall performance from Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Saturday night was superior to that of his in-country rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is open to debate.
What’s unquestionable is the impressive nature of his latest win. One week after Chavez Jr. dispatched fringe contender Peter Manfredo in five rounds, Alvarez matched him at least in distance, picking up a fifth round knockout of his own in blasting out former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron on Saturday evening in Mexico City, Mexico.
Both fighters weighed in at the divisional limit of 154 lb. for their HBO-televised main event.
The action began tentatively for both fighters. Cintron offered a jab as a range finder more so than a meaningful weapon, while Alvarez struggled to get going offensively. An occasional shoeshine by the red-headed Mexican was enough to get his countrymen excited, as was a right hand that land upstairs with about a minute to go in the round.
Alvarez picked up the pace in the second round as Cintron was hesitant to let his hands go. The Puerto Rican’s patience would show towards the end of the round, scoring with counter right hands after making Alvarez miss with attempted combinations upstairs.
Old habits resurfaced for Cintron in the third, who caught a tongue lashing from trainer Ronnie Shields for his refusal to take a risk. The visiting fighter obliged to the best of his ability in the fourth, but the results proved disastrous. A right hand put him on the canvas, with a pair of subsequent left hooks leaving him dazed and confused at rounds end.
For reasons unknown. Cintron was left to fend for himself in between rounds, stuck in the ropes and barely in any condition to make it to the other side of the ring while his corner just stood and watched. He struggled to regain his balance in the fifth, though buying some time after riding out a flurry from Alvarez and connecting with a counter right hand.
Alvarez regained control of the action midway through the round, and Cintron was never able to recover. A right hand towards the end of the round had Cintron in major trouble, duly noted by the referee who jumped in before the former welterweight titlist absorbed any more punishment.
The official time was 2:53 of the fifth round.
With the win, Alvarez advances his record to 39-0-1 (29KO). It was the third defense of the super welterweight title he won earlier this year, with Saturday’s fight marking his fourth ring appearance in 2011. Overall, the 21-year old was pleased with his night’s work.
“I thought that with the exception of the very beginning I did a very good job. He’s a very strong fighter and we fought intelligently. We followed the instructions in the corner – to just take things round by round. He’s an experienced fighter so that’s how we did things, round by round.”
Cintron falls to 33-5-1 (28KO) with the third loss in his past four fights. A former welterweight titlist, his performance here coupled with his struggling recent past suggests that we’ve seen his last days as a relevant contender.
Though 11 years his junior and five years less pro experience, Alvarez boasted enough ring smarts to know that Cintron wasn’t going to be able to deal with the incoming for very long. There existed the temptation to unload, as would normally be the case for a young fighter rapidly on the rise. Instead, Alvarez dug in and allowed the opportunity to build.
“I felt that he did feel my power and that it was a matter of time.”
Where he doesn’t show as much patience, however, is his desire to climb the pound-for-pound rankings. Still on the rise and way on the outside looking in, Alvarez is aiming straight for the top rather than chip away fight by fight.
“Next year we want the best, and that would be (Floyd) Mayweather in May,” Alvarez deadpanned, much to the delight of the crowd as well as the Golden Boy Promotions members on hand for the fight. “It doesn’t matter about the money, we want the best in the world and Floyd Mayweather is the best in the world.”
BRONER ROUTS RODRIGUEZ FOR 130 LB. TITLE WIN
Unbeaten super featherweight Adrien Broner became the latest chapter in the rich history of boxing in Cincinnati, becoming the seventh fighter from Queen City to advance to championship status.
While a long way from the likes of Ezzard Charles and Aaron Pryor before him, a new era has begun for Cincinnati’s latest future great. The honor came in front of his home crowd at the US Bank Arena as he easily dispatched Argentine contender Vicente Martin Rodrguez in a bout that served as the opening leg of a split site doubleheader on HBO.
The official time was 1:43 of the third round in their vacant title fight.
Broner came out all business in the opening round, hoping to build on the momentum spilled over from his one-round blitzing of Jason Litzau this past June. Rodriguez proved to be durable, even scoring with an occasional left hand. Neither fighter seemed bothered by the other’s punching power, though Broner’s hand speed advantage was massive and also the key to his success.
Rodriguez enjoyed mild success in the second round, though only in that he was more aggressive. Broner wisely covered up while avoiding most of the incoming, incorporating an uppercut into his attack whenever Rodriguez came in wild up top.
The ultimate weapon of choice was Broner’s left hook, which battered and bloodied Rodriguez and eventually put him away. The third round was viciously one-sided, with blood spouting from Rodrigueez’ nose before being put out of his misery courtesy of a left hook after landing at least three uppercuts beforehand.
As the count was issued, Rodriguez sat on the bottom rope, all too content to remain on the deck. Referee Frank Garza reached the count of ten, to signal the beginning of Broner’s championship reign.
“I dreamed of this, and I put on a great performance,” insisted Broner, who improves to 22-0 (18KO). “I told my dad when I was six that I’d become a world champion. November 26, I am now a world champion.”
The win was Broner’s fourth of 2011 and third straight HBO-televised appearance. All have come on cards headlined by Saul Alvarez, who faces Kermit Cintron in Mexico City later this evening.
Rodriguez falls to 34-3-1 (19KO) with the loss. The bout was his first in the United States and just his second outside of his native Argentina. He has failed miserably in both attempts and most likely will never again be heard from on the contender level.
There will be plenty of noise coming from Broner’s world, for sure. The Cincinnati boxer enters the title ranks at a time when the 130 lb. division is threatening to take off.
“I’m ready to move forward. The sky is the limit. We’re going to the drawing board with Al Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions, my promoter, and see what’s next.”
Whatever the case, the future is bright for Broner, on a night after joining elite members of his city’s rich past.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]