By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - In a fight where many of the rounds could have gone either way, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (44-1-1, 31KOs) won a twelve round split decision over WBA 'regular' junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (19-2-2, 12KOs). The scores were 115-113 for Lara, 115-113 for Canelo and 117-111 Canelo. The fight was a non-title bout fought at a catch-weight of 155-pounds.
Lara started the first round with his well known jab and landed accurate shots, with Canelo throwing hard shots to the body and applying a lot of pressure. Canelo was able to get off a little better in the second, still targeting the body often. Lara coasted for most of the third and stayed defensive while Canelo was looking for a big shot. Canelo continued to pour on the agrression as he landed shots to Lara's body in the fourth. Canelo was missing often, but Lara rarely made him pay for those misses with counter shots.
Lara was on the run in the fifth, making Canelo miss often, but also not doing enoug work and made it a coin flip round. Canalo snatched the sixth with a combination of hard hooks to the body in the closing moments. During the seventh, a cut opened up above the right eye of Lara. The eight and ninth saw Lara landing when he actually tried to land, and Canelo giving chase and trying to break down the body.
Lara outboxed him in the tenth, landing hard shots and making Canelo miss many of his punches. A close elventh with both boxers having their moments. Canelo, not taking any chances with the scoring, came out like an animal in the twelfth. He was rapid on his feet and letting the entire gas tank out. He was having trouble finding Lara, who landed counters and styed on the move being defensive as Canelo tried to land something big.