Sherdog.com Boxing’s Mike Sloan reports from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with live Saul “Canelo” Alvarez versus Erislandy Lara updates.
Sloan will have detailed results of the undercard and round-by-round updates of the main event.
Check out the Boxing Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.
Unbeaten welterweight prospect John Karl Sosa had a tougher time than expected against Mexico’s Luis Bello, winning a six-round split decision. Sosa controlled most of the action with his better speed and movement, but Bello tried like heck to make it a slugfest. In the end, the Caguas, Puerto Rico, native won via tallies of 59-55 (twice) and 55-59 to improve to 12-0 with 6 KOs. Bello dipped to 5-2 with 2 KOs.
In a minor upset, Los Angeles’ Enrique Quevedo bloodied and battered promising young junior featherweight contender Yoandris Salinas and stopped him in the fifth. Salinas started off the fight well enough with his reach and movement, but the gritty Mexican-American slugger forced a brawl and it paid off. Salinas had a hard time keeping the shorter man away and once the body assault was kicked into overdrive, Salinas withered under the pressure. A flurry to the head and body dropped Salinas late in the fourth, and then a similar combo did the same thing in the fifth. Moments after Salinas struggled to his feet, Quevedo ended it with a perfect right uppercut/left hook. Salinas, now 20-1-1 (13), crumbled onto his back and referee Russell Mora immediately stopped it. The official time of the TKO came at 2:56 of the fifth frame, allowing Quevedo to improve to 16-7-1 with his ninth career knockout.
Highly-touted former Irish amateur Jason Quigley barely broke a sweat in his pro debut as he stopped grossly out-gunned Howard Fleece in the first round. Quigley rocked him quickly with a left hand and then continued to pummel him until Reece (2-7, 1 KO) was on his back. The Floridian bravely battled back to his feet, but “The Pride of Donegal” clubbed away until Jay Nady finally stopped it. The official time was 1:22 of the opening frame.
Brazilian Olympic bronze medalist Yamaguchi Falcao tore apart overmatched Jesus Cruz, forcing his corner to throw in the towel between rounds three and four of their middleweight encounter. Falcao used his blistering handspeed and precision punching to do whatever he wanted inside the ring; Cruz (1-2-1) was barely able to get more than one punch off at a time. Finally, after three rounds had concluded, Cruz’ corner smartly waived off the action, allowing Falcao to improve to 2-0 with his first professional KO.
Tomoki Kameda vs. Pungluang Sor Singyu
Unbeaten Tomoki Kameda was able to remain perfect as a pro and hang onto his WBO bantamweight title with a sensational knockout in the seventh round. Thailand’s Pungluang Singyu was aggressive from the start and forced Kameda into the sort of fight he didn’t want, and it showed early on. Singyu’s pressure and body attacks stole several of the early rounds, but the Tokyo product kept his head in the game and eventually prevailed. Singyu rocked the champion with a sweeping right hand in the fourth and it seemed that the title might be changing hands; Kameda was unable to find a rhythm and set his punches. But after Singyu suffered a cut over his left eye early in the seventh, the Bangkok fighter backed himself towards a neutral corner. From there, Kameda unfurled a perfect left hook to the head/left hook to the liver. The body shocked instantly dropped Singyu onto his side and while Russell Mora administered the count, he writhed in agony. Mora eventually called off his count, officially ending it at 1:35 of the stanza. With the highlight reel knockout, Kameda -- who had been training in Mexico -- improved to 30-0 with 19 KOs. For his efforts, Singyu dropped to 46-3 with 31 KOs.
Johan Perez vs. Mauricio Herrera
After battling the great Danny Garcia earlier this year in what many felt was a robbery, Mauricio Herrera bounced back from that majority decision loss to put a whipping on Johan Perez over twelve rounds. In what was the first televised duel on the Showtime pay-per-view event, Herrera was sensational in every sense of the word and snatched the “interim” version of the WBA super lightweight title away from Perez.
Herrera seemingly couldn’t miss Perez; he busted him up with a plethora of jabs, hooks, counters, and sizzling combos to the head and body. The Riverside, CA resident landed dozens of clean, hard shots upstairs, but his lack of raw power prevented the fight from ending early. Perez was dazed a few times in the encounter, but he was never in any serious peril of being knocked down or out.
In the end, Herrera racked up round after round as he controlled the action throughout and scored by far the much larger amount of telling blows. Perez wasn’t a pushover by any means, though, as he stood toe-to-toe with his opponent on many occasions. He was just a step slower than Herrera for much of the battle and it cost him the fight. Herrera was awarded the victory via majority decision with scores of 116-112 (twice) and a puzzling 114-114. Sherdog.com also favored Herrera (21-4, 7 KOs), but by the slightly wider margin of 117-111. Perez, who hails from Caracas, Venezuela, dipped to 19-2-1 (13).
Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Francisco Vargas
Francisco Vargas had a mission: knock out the always-dangerous Juan Manuel Lopez in spectacular fashion. After three rounds of torrid action, mission complete.
Vargas was a step ahead of Lopez from the get-go and hurt the Puerto Rican a few times in the first two rounds. Vargas continuously countered Lopez’ right hand with his left, landing cleanly almost every time and giving the former champion fits. But Lopez is a warrior and rarely – if ever – took a step backward. That bullish tactic is what likely cost him the fight, one that will certainly catapult Vargas into the upper echelon of the 130 lb. division.
Lopez charged at his rival midway through the third frame, but walked into a right hand. The punch buckled his knees, but rather than clinching to regain his head, Lopez decided to engage in an all-out slugfest, which elicited a riotous roar from the crowd. The two stood chin-to-chin, toe-to-toe and tore into each other with reckless abandon. Lopez was able to crack through and land a few good shots, but the Mexico City native was too sharp.
Vargas repeatedly delivered thunderous rights and lefts, each harder than the last. Stumbling on extremely shaky legs, Lopez stood his ground and swung away, but eventually Vargas’ power proved too great to overcome. Finally, after a brutal minute of barbarity, Lopez stumbled onto his gloves and knees. He beat Vic Drakulich’s count and was saved by the bell, but his corner decided to throw in the towel before the fourth could start.
It was a dramatic and emphatic knockout for Vargas, one that is the highlight of his young career thus far. The stoppage allowed him to take home two minor junior lightweight titles and improve to 20-0-1 with 14 KOs. As for Lopez, who was non-committal after the heart-breaking loss, he dips to 34-4 (31).
Abner Mares vs. Jonathan Oquendo
It was hailed as “The Return of Abner Mares” for weeks leading up to his co-main event showdown with Jonathan Oquendo. After having been out of the ring for almost a full year following the first round knockout loss at the hands of Jhonny Gonzalez, Mares was primed to step back into the spotlight with a terrific performance.
Oquendo had other plans, of course, and made Mares’ comeback a painful, difficult one. Mares struggled to catch up with the Puerto Rican’s speed and had trouble figuring out his offense. To make matters worse, the former Mexican Olympian was cut badly over his left eye in the fourth and struggled to win rounds convincingly.
Whenever Mares would land something powerful, Oquendo tied him up, preventing any sort of groove to manifest. Mares landed the cleaner, harder shots, but Oquendo’s pesky style was effective and he seemed to be stealing rounds throughout the fight. Oquendo (24-4, 16 KOs) countered Mares’ sometimes wild attacks well and he made the duel very physical on the inside.
Still, Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) pressured his opponent when he needed and his cleaner punches were enough to win the majority of the rounds. In the end, Mares – who admitted he felt sluggish - was awarded the unanimous ten-round decision via tallies of 96-94 and 98-92 (twice). Sherdog.com scored it 97-93 for Mares.
Saul Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara
Round 1Lara quickly establishes the right jab. The crowd is heavily behind Canelo. Lara lands a jab, followed by a straight left. Alvarez has yet to throw a meaningful punch a minute in. Nice jab/straight left to the body by the Cuban. Lara jabs to the stomach. Canleo finally lets a punch fly: a left hook to the hip. Triple jab by Lara before he escapes out the side door. Another stiff jab by “The American Dream.” Hard left hook by Canelo . Lara skirts to his left and pops Canelo with a stinging right hook. Beautiful left/right/left to the face by Lara. Left to the body by the Mexican superstar. Lara is moving away from his foe beautifully; Canelo doesn’t have the timing down just yet. All Lara. 10-9 Lara.
Round 2Lara again establishes the right jab immediately. Lara sticks a jab in Canelo’s face over his jab. Nice left hand by Canelo erupts the crowd. Another. Hard right hook by Lara returns the favor. Right to the body, left to the head, right to the body from Lara. Alvarez pops his foe with a stiff left jab, snapping his head back. Erislandy cracks him with a left/right, but Canelo walks through it. Alvarez lands a straight right to the chest. They clinch and Canelo lifts him up with his right arm, eliciting a warning from Robert Byrd. Jab by Lara again, right on the nose. Jab/right hook by the Cuban. Canelo is chasing him down, but eats a jab before landing a left hook to the hip. 10-9 Lara.
Round 3Four jabs by Lara starts the round. Canelo is not as aggressive as he usually is. Lara slugs him with a right uppercut on the inside. Canelo fires off a left to the body. Canelo is fighting very flat-footed thus far while Lara is bouncing and darting side-to-side. Lara jabs to the gut. Lara misses with a straight left to the face but Canelo can’t make him pay. Left hook by Canelo is blocked. So is the next one. Stiff right hand to the face by the Cuban. Nice straight left by Lara, who eats a right uppercut in return. Erislandy misses a left/right, but makes Canelo miss wildly with a left hook at the bell. Closer round than the first two but Lara is still in control. 10-9 Lara.
Round 4Lara kicks off the fourth with a jab/straight left to the body. Canelo is simply chasing down his foe, but he’s having a hard time cutting off the ring. Nice right hook by Lara. Canelo catches him with a left hook. Another. The crowd goes berserk for a moment Lara regroups and pops him with another jab. Canelo lands a left to the body. Lara is on his bike now and backing far away from the Mexican, forcing boos from the crowd. Sweet straight left through the guard for Lara. It looks like Canelo is cut over or near his right eye; it’s definitely swelling up. Alvarez digs a left/right to the body. Canelo is misses with a left hook by inches. Lara moving away swiftly; he doesn’t want to engage with Canelo. 10-9 Canelo.
Round 5They trade jabs. Lara lands a clean right hook right on the face. Lara snaps Canelo’s head back with a crisp straight left. Alvarez stalks him down and lands a left. Right to the body by the Mexican. Jab/straight left by Lara. Canelo unfurls a vicious left uppercut to the ribs. Left/right by Alvarez is blocked. Canelo digs a left/right/left to the ribs after eating a left. Lara ducks away from two murderous hooks along the ropes. Jab by Canelo. Lara is moving back, but is not escaping as easily anymore; the tide is slowly turning in favor of Alvarez. 10-9 Canelo.
Round 6They trade jabs. Lara lands a clean right hook right on the face. Lara snaps Canelo’s head back with a crisp straight left. Alvarez stalks him down and lands a left. Right to the body by the Mexican. Jab/straight left by Lara. Canelo unfurls a vicious left uppercut to the ribs. Left/right by Alvarez is blocked. Canelo digs a left/right/left to the ribs after eating a left. Lara ducks away from two murderous hooks along the ropes. Jab by Canelo. Lara is moving back, but is not escaping as easily anymore; the tide is slowly turning in favor of Alvarez. 10-9 Canelo.
Round 7Lara’s corner seems anxious between rounds; they are yelling at him. On the contrary, Canelo and his team are as cool as can be. Hard jab/straight left by Lara. They clinch, but nothing becomes of it. Jab/left by Lara before exiting out the side door. Combo to the body by the Mexican, but everything is blocked. Lara just misses with a corker of a left hand. Jab/left/right by Lara, then he escapes. Lara fakes a Bolo punch and then jabs him. Hard right/left straight through the guard of Alvarez. There is a nasty bump below the right eye of Lara; he looks cut, too. Hard left to the body by Canelo. Lara is cut above his right eye; not sure if it’s from a punch or clash of heads. Right hand to the head by Canelo, but Lara answers with a left. Lara’s best round in a while. 10-9 Lara.
Round 8Replays show the cut on Lara is from a perfect left uppercut on the inside from Canelo. Canelo is more eager to start this round and is very animated. Both men paw jabs at each other. Nice left/right by Canelo, though the punches mostly glance off Lara’s gloves. Jab by Lara. Canelo digs a left hook to the body before clinching. Not much action thus far in the round. Nice right hand by Canelo with a minute left. The Mexican lands a left hook, forcing Lara to retreat. Lara moves side-to-side and then cracks him with a left cross. Short right cross to the face by Lara late. Very close round. 10-9 Canelo.
Soft jabs by Canelo miss their mark. Lara lands a glancing jab of his own. Blood is leaking from Lara’s nose early. Alvarez cracks his opponent with a left to the ribs. Nice left jab by Canelo right as Lara was throwing a right hook. Byrd warns them both for lowering their heads. Jab by Canelo, which re-opens the cut above Lara’s eye. Hard right hand by Canelo on the inside, followed by a left hook to the liver. Hard left to the liver again by Canelo, but Lara shakes it off. Jab by Lara after he escapes and regroups. Perfect right hook on the inside as Canelo was coming in. A flurry and Lara is down, but Byrd rules it a slip. 10-9 Canelo.