After 12 highly-competitive rounds, boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez managed to emerge with a split-decision victory over Erislandy Lara in their catch-weight bout in Las Vegas. Lara’s excellent boxing skills were expected to provide a major challenge for the aggressive Alvarez, and that’s exactly how things played out between two of the sport’s finest junior middleweights.
The contest, in front a wildly pro-Alvarez crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, was the classic puncher vs. boxer matchup. Alvarez was rewarded by the judges for his relentless pressure, harder punches and body shots. Lara lived up to his crafty reputation by frustrating Canelo with his constant circling and counter shots. The slick southpaw was effective with his jab and was able to land his fair share of straight left hands on Canelo during the contest. Alvarez did open up a cut over Lara’s right eye in the seventh round and was the aggressor throughout the fight.
Two of the judges gave the fight to Alvarez by scores of 115-113 and a surprisingly lopsided 117-111 margin. The other judge clearly thought Lara’s boxing prowess had ruled the day giving the Cuban-born fighter a 115-113 nod. The two combatants had very different opinions on how the fight had played out. Alvarez accused Lara of doing too much running during the contest, while Lara thought that he had done more than enough to win the bout and wants a rematch.
While Lara acquitted himself quite well against the dangerous Alvarez, it’s unlikely that there would be a great demand from the public to see them do it again. Alvarez improved to 44-1-1 with the victory and has now won two-straight fights against Lara and Alfredo Angulo since his lone blemish at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Lara saw his record fall to 19-2-2 with the setback.
Alvarez could face Miguel Cotto in his next contest, however, he was non-committal when asked about that potential matchup after the fight. Cotto has had a major resurgence under new trainer Freddie Roach and most recently captured the WBC middleweight title by demolishing Sergio Martinez. Heavy-handed James Kirkland could be another possibility for Canelo’s next bout.
Rick LaFitte is a Boxing Writer for Rant Sports.