By Jake Donovan
From the moment the bell sounded to end Saturday's clash between Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, the debate immediately began as to who deserved to win their Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas,
The consensus was that it was a close fight with plenty of swing rounds, a theory that was supported on the scorecards. Alvarez claimed a split decision, winning by scores of 115-113 and 117-111, while Lara was a 115-113 on the dissenting card. The three judges only agreed on four of the 12 rounds, which is fitting as both fighters disagreed over who won the fight.
I came to fight, not to run, Alvarez said of Lara's unfavorable - but at times effective - stick-and-move style. If he wants to run, he should've have (signed up for) a marathon. You win fights by landing punches, not by running.
Naturally, his in-ring rival saw things in an entirely different light.
100% I won, Lara told Showtime's Jim Grey when asked his thoughts on the fight. It didn't just (seem) like I won, I (actually) won the fight. I was controlling the rounds. Worse, I made him look bad in front of all of his fans.
Lara (19-2-2, 12KOs) jumped out to an early lead, at times making Alvarez look foolish in getting the former 154 lb. titlist to load up and wildly miss as the Cuban boxer slickly moved out of harm's way.
However, as Alvarez (44-1-1, 31KOs) began to effectively cut off the ring, Lara's game plan went from stick-and-move to simply moving without throwing much in return. In retrospect, the tactic cost him the fight, although there were enough close rounds to where a narrow win for either fighter could easily be argued.
While the fight proved to be a tremendous clash of styles in which boxing prevailed early before the aggresssor seized control, what's not quite as embraced is the thought of a rematch. Of course, this is another subject where both fighters are on opposite ends of the debate.
I have no respect (for Alvarez) and I want a rematch, said Lara, who still remains an alphabet titlist with the bout taking place at 155 lb.
As for Alvarez?
When he learns how to fight, I will gladly give him the rematch, said the Mexican superstar.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Tags: Saul Alvarez , Erislandy Lara , Showtime , Golden Boy Promotions , Canelo-Lara , Canelo vs. Lara