The co-main event included a 1st round domination by Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, Jr. over Puerto Rican Abner Cotto. The thrilling first round included a knockdown of Abner Cotto halfway through the round. That exciting moment led to a culmination of the fight with “Panterita’s” vicious left hand body shot that sent Cotto to the ground towards the end of the round. Cotto was unable to survive the body shot as the referee completed a full ten count. This was definitely Figueroa’s coming out party as one of the rising stars in the lighter weights.
The best way to score a boxing match would probably be to have each fighter begin the event by punching all three judges (jabs, uppercuts, straights, hooks, etc.) to aid the judges in answering the mythical question hanging over every fight of punch valuation—how many of fighter A’s jabs equal an uppercut of fighter B, etc.. Now, there are many practical concerns with enacting such a policy—for example, who will judge the fight should the judges get knocked out? So, absent that, the next most logical way seems to be to simply watch how each fighter responds to other’s punches—thereby sorting out not only when a punch is thrown, but whether it lands in a clean, effective manner. Fortunately, the human body reacts in predictable ways when struck with clean, effective punches—knees buckle, the head gets snapped back, the body is staggered, or in some cases knocked down.
The Canelo Alvarez—Austin Trout tilt from Saturday night bears, according to some, the “controversial” label, but it shouldn’t. Though Alvarez found his target less frequently than Trout (124 versus 154 in total punches landed), he clearly landed more of the clean, effective punches described in the above paragraph—and if you didn’t see that then you either didn’t watch the whole fight, are one of the two judges who somehow thought Chavez swung-and-missed his way to a draw with Whitaker a decade ago, or got distracted trying to figure out if Trout has a Mohawk or just a receding hairline that looks like a Mohawk—while Trout held a decisive edge in insignificant punches landed (the kind where the guy getting hit doesn’t react or seem to care).
The slick boxing Trout did what he was supposed to do. In front of 40,000 plus fans at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, he controlled the distance and pace with his jab. He mixed it up, going often to the body. He threw more punches, displayed better combination punching, but he still lost the fight! How could that happen?
It happened because Saul “Canelo” Alvarez impressed a lot of people, including the judges, that he’s a pretty damn good defensive fighter as well as an aggressive one. Several times, Trout ripped off four and five punch combinations, and none landed. Then, just enough times, Canelo would land one of his sharper, more powerful shots. When his shots landed, they had an obvious effect on Trout, and would shake him from his shoe laces to the sweat on his brow. One particularly impressive shot occurred early into the seventh round. Trout carelessly threw out a rather soft jab from his southpaw stance, and Canelo followed it back with a sharp, straight right. Canelo’s punch landed right on the chin. It took Trout’s body a fraction of a second to react, but once it did, it resulted in an awkward little dance, which ended with “No Doubt” on the canvas.
The highly anticipated junior middleweight unification showdown between WBC champion Saul Alvarez and WBA titlist Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout started on a dramatic note before the action even got underway. The atmosphere at the Alamodome was simply electrifying. The high energy and intensity that exuded during the build-up to the opening bell was so powerful that it could even be felt by the television viewing audience, and it was contagious. Although this was not a hugely publicized contest that created massive appeal among casual fans, the entire event still possessed a magical mainstream vibe that almost helped make it seem far larger in its actual scope. The stage seemed set for something special.
The fight itself was a pretty good one, too. It was a classic competitive clash of contrasting styles, making close rounds very difficult to score. Trout was looking to work behind an active jab and keep Canelo at the end of it to maintain optimal range. Alvarez sought to avoid incoming fire and quietly sneak his way in to a more favorable distance where his explosive punching power could be better utilized. Both boxers had success at various points, with the nature of their styles dictating that Trout would control the action for longer stretches, but Alvarez’s superior pop made his moments more memorable. It was a close fight that became a chess match of sorts, with tactical maneuvering, several momentum shifts, adjustments and counter adjustments, a knockdown (scored by Alvarez in the seventh), and a fine overall display of skills and natural talent.
I must say I’m really disappointed in WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s performance tonight in his controversial 12 round unanimous decision over WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout (26-1, 14 KO’s) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
I had expected a lot better from Canelo than what I saw tonight. His stamina was horrible, his defense good, but his work rate was very poor. Canelo fought in a very lazy manner with him reminding me a lot of former IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham the way that he failed to be busy and would get rounds given to him based on a tiny handful of landed power shots.
Not long to go now until tonight’s action packed evening of boxing action gets underway!
We have heavyweight action with Tyson Fury Vs. Steve Cunningham, we have an important light-heavyweight encounter between Nathan Cleverly and his mandatory, Robin Krasniqi, and we have a massive, tough-to-call light-middleweight unification bout between future megastar “Canelo” Alvarez and Austin Trout.
The action takes place in New York, London and San Antonio, Texas. All three cards have some interesting supporting bouts, but it’s the big three that are most exciting for fans.
Here, and for what it’s worth, I give my three fight predictions:
After the final press conference concluded, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez took the time to partake in brief one-on-one interviews. I had the unique privilege to sit down with the Mexican superstar to get his perspective on the upcoming fight in San Antonio, TX.
Here’s a transcript of the questions and answers that were discussed with Saul Alvarez.
Steve Lopez: “Canelo, how are you feeling with just a few more days left for the fight?”
Saul Alvarez: “I’m ready, I’m ready. I prepared myself very well. Ready for anything. Obviously, we all come with the mentality of winning and that’s what I’m here for.
Steve Lopez: “How are you as far as weight? The weigh-in is tomorrow. How do you feel?”
Saul Alvarez: “Really well. The most I do is 20-30 minutes to lose whatever extra weight I gain from eating. I eat just enough to maintain the weight. Everything is great.”
After the final press conference concluded, Saul Alvarez and Austin Trout took the time to address members of the media for one-on-one and roundtable interviews. I, along with other media correspondents, took the exclusive opportunity to sit down with the WBA champion.
Here’s a transcript of the questions and answers that were discussed with Austin Trout.
Question: “Are you worried much about the judging for the fight?”
Austin Trout: “It’s something I can’t focus much on or worry about because, at the end of the day, I have to focus on what I have to do in the ring. If it goes to the judges, it’s in God’s hands. If they want to jerk me, then it’s between them.”
Question: “How are you able to go through all these lion’s dens? Kind of a ‘no fear’ attitude? What is it?”
Austin Trout: “You can’t have any fear in this sport. I think there’s been a lot of fighters, say their Mexican, aren’t worried about anything. But in my opinion, it’s because they’ve been spoiled. We’ve gone to hell and back to get to where we are. I’m not going to let a variation of judges stop me from fighting.”