In sports, the old adage states that a win is a win and nothing else matters. For Canelo Alvarez, getting back on track after losing to Floyd Mayweather—the first defeat of his career—was all that mattered in his matchup against Alfredo Angulo on Saturday.
Unfortunately, it did nothing to actually improve Canelo's stock after that Mayweather loss.
Angulo is not the kind of fighter you challenge if you want to prove something to anyone else. He's the guy who gets thrown into a bout for the paycheck to make the other guy look good.
That was 100 percent clear in Las Vegas. Alvarez picked Angulo apart for nine rounds before the referee decided to show some mercy and call the fight with less than a minute to go in the 10th round.
Praise is being heaped on Alvarez for his performance, and rightfully so. SHO Stats revealed the number of power punches Alvarez landed compared to Angulo through nine rounds before the fight was called:
Total Power Punches Landed/Thrown thru 9 Canelo [193/304, 63%] Angulo [76/368, 20%]— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) March 9, 2014
That's not a fight, it's a slaughter. It's the equivalent of the 1927 New York Yankees playing the 2013 Houston Astros. Anytime a fight is that lopsided, you can't help but respect the work done by the winner.
Which fighter did you learn more about Saturday night?
It's important, though, to keep things in perspective. In his analysis of the fight, ESPN.com's Dan Rafael said that Angulo "looked so slow and Alvarez could not miss." Angulo is a one-trick pony who has to stand and trade with opponents because he can't outmaneuver them. That's why 18 of his 22 career wins are by knockout.
Anuglo hasn't been a quality fighter since 2010, when he defeated Joachim Alcine in July before a 13-month sabbatical. He has fought six times since 2011, posting a record of 3-3 in those bouts.
If you want to be an optimist, two of those losses have come against top light middleweights Alvarez and Erislandy Lara. However, the losses say more about those fighters than anything Angulo has done.
In fact, Alvarez should have learned after Angulo's fight with Lara, when he was also knocked out in the 10th round, that there was no upside to taking this match other than to collect a paycheck.
Angulo doesn't rank among Ring Magazine's top 10 light middleweight fighters, while Alvarez is third behind Mayweather and Lara.
Alvarez had a chance to launch himself into the boxing stratosphere last September against Mayweather. Canelo fought that match scared, backing away from Money and not using size to his advantage.
John Eligon of the New York Times described Canelo's performance on that night as one of a fighter who got caught up in his own hype instead of trying to do what made him so effective the previous 43 times he stepped in a ring.
But such pressure never came from Álvarez, who appeared to lose his cool at several moments throughout the fight.
By the sixth round, Álvarez appeared winded and disheveled. His face was red. Mayweather peppered him with several right hooks. At one point during the round, Álvarez showed frustration while he was tangled with Mayweather.
There's no shame in losing to Mayweather, but to assume Alvarez belongs in the conversation with the best fighters in the world because he beat someone who has been mediocre for two years is wrong.
Canelo is a very good fighter. He's won 42 times in 44 fights with one draw and has held two major titles in the 154-pound weight class. No one can take that away, but it will require more than one win against an average fighter to become more than very good.
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