With the very first punch he threw, Canelo Alvarez made sure the boxing world knew he was over losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September.
The punch, a huge left to Alfredo Angulo’s chin just seconds into Saturday’s junior middleweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden, sent a clear message. Alvarez was not going to suffer any kind of a letdown after the beatdown Mayweather administered to him in handing Alvarez his lone defeat. He pummeled Angulo from start to finish, winning by technical knockout 47 seconds into the 10th round after referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight.
“I definitely rebounded from the Mayweather performance,” said Alvarez, who improved to 43-1-1. “I was clearly the best man tonight.
Angulo was extremely angry over the decision by Weeks, considered by many people in boxing to be one of the world’s best referees, to stop the fight:
“They should have let the fight go on,” he said after the loss dropped him to 22-4. “I’m fine, and I was fighting. The referee was wrong.”
Alvarez wasn’t thrilled with the stoppage, but he understood.
“The referee is the marshal. He has the orders, and he stopped the fight because we knew what was going on,” Alvarez said. “I was doing my job. I was so secure with my jab. I was ready to finish the fight.”
The crowd of 14,610 also wanted to see the fight finished by the two combatants. They lustily booed the TKO. But the reality is Angulo had taken a savage beating over nine-plus rounds, and he was going to need a miracle to turn it around.
Alvarez, who entered the ring a minus-850 betting favorite, was able to land punch after punch against the stationary Angulo, who moved slower than a sitting duck. Alvarez took complete advantage of the situation, bombing away with hooks, uppercuts, jabs and body shots. His complete arsenal was on display, and he seemed to take great delight in every scoring blow he landed.
“With Angulo’s way of fighting, I didn’t have to look hard to find him,” Alvarez said. “I could have gone another 10 rounds.”
Angulo’s best moment came in the eighth round when he pinned Alvarez on the ropes and flailed away. Alvarez looked to fire back, and the two had a great exchange in one of the neutral corners. But he couldn’t hurt Alvarez and do enough damage to swing the fight in his direction.
Alvarez went back to dominating in the ninth and going into the 10th, he was comfortably ahead on all three judges’ scorecards (89-82, 89-82, 88-83). He rocked Angulo with a big left to the chin followed by a right to the body. He followed that up with a sharp combination when Weeks decided Angulo had suffered enough.
“I think Canelo was equally disappointed with what happened,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Alvarez’s promoter. “He thought he could finish off Angulo but he never got the chance. But he made a statement (Saturday). he showed his fans he’s back, and he has put the loss to Floyd in his rearview mirror.”
On the undercard, Leo Santa Cruz successfully defended his WBC super bantamweight title, easily handling Cristian Mijares and winning a 12-round unanimous decision.
Santa Cruz outboxed Mijares from the opening bell, working effectively to both the head and the body. And while he never knocked down the challenger, Santa Cruz demonstrated that he was clearly the better fighter in improving to 27-0-1. The judges had it 120-108, 120-108, 119-109.
“I came to do what I had to do and get the win,” Santa Cruz said. “Mijares is a great boxer with great experience. But we practiced everything and were ready to fight a great fight.”
The best blow Mijares (48-8-2) landed was a head butt in the fourth round which opened up a cut over Santa Cruz’s right eye. But he managed to handle it without it becoming a major issue and he cruised to the win.
Jorge Linares totally dominated Japan’s Nihito Arakawa, winning a 10-round unanimous decision in their lightweight bout. Linares, who was quicker and stronger, beat Arakawa to the punch throughout and the judges had him winning 100-90, 100-90, 98-92.
Also on the undercard, Alvarez’s older brother Ricardo was soundly defeated by Sergio Thompson as he knocked down Alvarez twice in their lightweight fight and went on to win a 10-round unanimous decision.
Alvarez was knocked down in the third round and again in the eighth. Still, the scorecards reflected a closer fight as Thompson won 97-91, 95-93, 95-93.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at 702-387-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.