Saul "Canelo" Alvarez's (43-1-1, 31 KO) speed, power and early aggressiveness were too much for the tough Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo (22-4). Alvarez defeated Angulo by 10th-round TKO when referee Tony Weeks called an end to the one-sided beating at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, Mar. 8.
From the opening bell, Alvarez came out throwing every shot with bad intentions. His jabs were hard and his hooks were vicious. It was evident, the 23-year-old Mexican wanted to make a statement.
Coming off an embarrassing loss to Floyd "Money" Mayweather in September, Canelo needed a good showing. He had the perfect opponent to shine, and he took advantage of the situation.
Angulo looked to be intimidated early on. Per the Showtime pay-per-view broadcast, Angulo's trainer Virgil Hunter asked him if Alvarez's punches were bothering him. Angulo replied, "a little bit."
That was perhaps the biggest understatement of the weekend.
Alvarez looked a bit gassed in the middle rounds, but he found a second wind and some swagger in the final three rounds. Canelo began to drop his hands and egg Angulo on.
A spirited exchange in the eighth round got the crowd on its feet. Canelo showed a bit of showmanship, which was something his overall fight package had been lacking. Throughout the fight he looked confident and in control.
Many in attendance thought the stoppage was premature. Both of Angulo's eyes were busted up and he had taken hard shots the entire fight. Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole noted the frequency in which Canelo was landing the straight right hand.
Canelo's team clearly saw something on film. He's landing that straight right again. He's busting Angulo with it regularly— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) March 9, 2014
Was the fight stopped too soon?
Angulo is a tough guy. His fights are somewhat hard to referee because he can absorb a lot of punches. That said, there has to be a point when a referee protects the fighter from himself.
It was clear Angulo had no chance to win the fight. Prolonging this bout would have only subjected Angulo to unnecessary punishment. The question of who was the better man had already been answered.
Not everyone agrees with that concept, though. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix and Isaac Estrada of Real Boxing News expressed their displeasure for Weeks' decision to stop the fight.
Early--too early, in my opinion--stoppage by referee Tony Weekes. Canelo wins. Angulo was way behind, but he didn't look hurt— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) March 9, 2014
I'm not one to criticize a refs call in a fight but this was a premature stoppage! I honestly think the stoppage was ridiculous!!!!— Isaac Estrada (@RealBoxingNews) March 9, 2014
Initially, El Perro was very upset with Weeks for calling the bout as well. After simmering down, he respectfully disagreed. Per Estrada, he said:
El Perro tells Weeks, "I admire your work all the time. But today your call was wrong. I was fine, your stoppage was wrong." Canelo— Isaac Estrada (@RealBoxingNews) March 9, 2014
Canelo was the recipient of the unfair boos from the crowd. During his post-fight interview, he stressed the decision to end the fight was not his.
"The crowd boos because the ref stopped the fight. It's not my fault, I was here to fight." Canelo— Isaac Estrada (@RealBoxingNews) March 9, 2014
Looking ahead, Canelo could move right into a title fight with WBA light middleweight champion Erislandy Lara or move up to 160 pounds to face the winner of the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto bout in June.
From a money standpoint, the latter would be more attractive. If Cotto comes out on top, it would pit the most popular Mexican fighter against the most well-known Puerto Rican pugilist. That's always a magnetic attraction.
As for Angulo, he leaves Las Vegas with fans gaining even more respect for his heart and toughness. But the talent line was clearly drawn in this fight. It's not realistic to think he has much of a chance against the truly elite fighters in his weight region.
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