Canelo Alvarez defeats Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision

November 22, 2015

Photo Credit: Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/Roc Nation Sports/Golden Boy Promotions

In an exciting tactical fight between two highly skilled boxers, Canelo Álvarez's (46-1-1, 32 KOs) youth and size proved to be the difference Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, as he defeated Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) via unanimous decision to become the WBC, Ring Magazine, and Lineal Middleweight World Champion.

The judges scored the bout 117-111, 118-110, and 119-109.

"I have a lot of respect for Miguel," said Álvarez. "He is a great champion and a great fighter. We knew going into this fight that it would be a difficult journey, but I feel that I was the faster and stronger fighter tonight. I wasn't hurt by his punches."

Cotto competed hard and had his moments, as he essentially stuck to his strategy of boxing Canelo for twelve rounds. However, by staying on his toes the whole fight, Cotto never committed to consistently throwing his lethal left hook with full power. As a result, Canelo was able to walk through Cotto's shots.

"I was fully prepared for what Cotto was going to do in the ring, whether that was take a defense stance or be the aggressor," Álvarez said.

Meanwhile, Alvarez's superior size was a significant factor, as he appeared to land the greater power shots during this latest installment of the Mexico versus Puerto Rico rivalry.

Cotto and his camp questioned the judges' scorecards after the fight.

"We thought it was much closer than the scorecards showed," said trainer Freddie Roach.  "It was a very competitive fight. Miguel's defense was unbelievable."

The victory over Cotto is the signature career win Alvarez has been seeking for years, and now that he has it, he is uniquely positioned to fill the void left by Floyd Mayweather and the soon-to-be-retired Manny Pacquiao as the face of the sport.

"This fight will take Canelo to a whole new level now - this is a new era in our sport," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, at the post-fight press conference. "Canelo's next fight will be in May for the weekends of Cinco de Mayo and in September for Mexican Independence Day."

The fight everyone is waiting to see is a matchup with Canelo and powerful middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

"I'm not afraid of any fighter," said Canelo.  "Gennady "GGG" Golovkin is a great fighter, and he is my friend. I have respect for him, but if we do fight, it's going to be at my weight class. I'm the champion, and I don't have to do what he wants."

The Undercard

As good as the main event proved to be, the prior bout on the undercard was even better, as Francisco "El Bandido" Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) was crowned the new WBC Super Featherweight World Champion and retained his undefeated status after securing a technical knockout in the ninth round over Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22 KOs) in a thrilling back-and-forth war.

"I'm the champ!" said Vargas. "This is a dream come true for me, something I have been fighting for my whole life. I knew Takashi was going to be a tough opponent, that's why he is the champion, so I had to make sure I was prepared to face a fighter like him. I feel that my preparation paid off for this fight. I knew I had to be very aggressive, and I showed that in the first round so he knew that I would not be bullied. When I was knocked down in the fourth round, I felt even more motivated to win this fight."

In the first round Vargas stunned Miura badly with a right to the head, and appeared on the verge ending the fight. Miura showed his championship mettle however, surviving the round and then later knocking down Vargas in the fourth round.

It appeared that Miura's heavy-handed power would eventually break down Vargas, as Vargas' right eye was swollen and cut in two places. When Miura hurt Vargas again late in the eighth round, it appeared that Vargas had little left in the tank.

Sensing the urgency of the moment, Vargas exploded at the start of Round Nine with a combination that dropped the champion. Although Miura beat the count, he was severely hurt, and the referee would eventually stop the bout seconds later.

In another undercard fight, former WBA and WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) made his return to the ring for the first time after signing with Roc Nation Sports and secured a lopsided win against Drian Francisco (28-4-1, 22 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight fight.

"I feel terrific after the fight," said Rigondeaux. "He threw heavy but his style has nothing on mine. My style outmatched his. It's been 11 months since I've been in the ring and I definitely felt some cobwebs but I d like to see some other fighters be out 11 months and come back with a win. I definitely wanted to give the fans a better fight so I need to get back in to the gym, get more active to give a better performance. I promise that with the tools I have now after signing with Roc Nation that next time I'll be explosive. Thank you to my team for helping me get this win."

Francisco complained about Rigondeaux's defensive strategy, but in truth, he lacked the necessary skill and talent to overcome his opponent.

"Rigondeaux is not a fighter, he is a runner," said Drian Francisco. "He is afraid of getting hurt and doesn't want to fight. I felt pressured into being the aggressor during this fight because he wasn't fighting, he was running away. He is not a power puncher and won by points. I trained really hard for this fight and I feel like it was a waste of time because I didn't encounter a fighter tonight."

Opening up the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast, Santa Ana, California's Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs) battled Jayson "Star" Velez (23-1-1, 16 KOs) of Junco, Puerto Rico for a hard-fought victory after 10-rounds to secure the WBC Silver Featherweight Title.

By Staff of and news services

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