Canelo Alvarez defeats Austin Trout and unifies belts

April 21, 2013

Canelo Alvarez unified the Super Welterweight Division with a unanimous decision victory over the previously-undefeated Austin Trout on Saturday in an exciting bout in front of a raucous 39,247 crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Judges at ringside scored the fight 115-112, 116-111, and 118-109.

"Austin was a difficult fighter, but little by little I figured out how to fight him," Canelo said. "I was connecting with my right and with my jab. My jab was perfect. It was the key."

Both fighters came out looking to establish their jab, and for much of the early rounds, both seemed to have difficulty finding their range. Trout was by far the busier of the two, constantly  pumping his right jab with high volume, while Alvarez selectively pick and chose his spots, unleashing the more powerful blows when he elected to trade.

In fact, Canelo (42-0-1, 30 KOs), of Guadalajara, Mexico, knocked down Trout (26-1, 14 KOs), of Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the first time in his career just seconds into the seventh round with a crisp right hand that had Trout on wobbly legs for about the next two minutes. Trout nevertheless rallied with championship courage, fighting rather than holding, and getting in his own shots for good measure.

But perhaps the most impressive thing Canelo displayed Saturday night was his improved elusiveness on defense. Against Trout, Canelo looked like a poor man's Pernell Whitaker, bobbing, ducking, and using outstanding head and upper body movement to continuously evade Trout's shots.

The 27-year-old Trout was gracious in defeat, acknowledging that he was surprised by Canelo’s defense and his ability to avoid Trout’s jab.

“Canelo shocked us,” Trout said. “He boxed a lot better than I thought. He moved a lot better than I thought. Not that I underestimated him, we just prepared for a totally different fighter. He was the better man. He was quicker. He was stronger. I have no excuses for tonight. He was the better man.”

Still, the fight was closer than the scorecards indicated, as many of the rounds were difficult to judge based on Trout's high activity and Alvarez's lower volume-greater power approach. Judge Stanley Christodoulou's 118-109 scorecard was particularly absurd.

The scoring also impacted the fight in other ways, as an open scoring system was implemented in which the fighters knew the official scorecards after the fourth and eighth rounds.

Although the open system prevented anyone from claiming "robbery" by providing information that would allow the fighters to adjust their tactics along the way, it also removed some of the late-round drama, as Alvarez played it safe in the final round knowing he had a large lead.

With the win, Alvarez defended his WBC belt and captured Trout’s WBA title and the vacant Ring Magazine Super Welterweight title. The 22-year-old also avenged a loss his brother Rigoberto Alvarez suffered against Trout in 2011.

“My brother was a big motivation for this fight. I did it for him,” Canelo said. “Trout beat my brother and he’s my blood.”

When asked after the fight who he would like to fight next, Canelo was confident.

“Obviously, I want Mayweather next,” Canelo said referring to boxing’s pound-for-pound champ Floyd Mayweather.

At the least, he would enter any Mayweather negotiations with greater leverage than he had before the Trout fight.

In other words, Canelo not only got a signature win over a name fighter, but he also confirmed what many believed -- that he can headline a big card and pack a house.

His decision months ago not to fight on the Guerrero-Mayweather undercard proved wise, as Mayweather did not get to inflate his PPV numbers with the aid of Canelo's drawing power. That potential PPV boost would have increased Mayweather's power at the bargaining table.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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