Canelo Alvarez won a hard-fought battle against Miguel Cotto on Saturday night in Las Vegas to become the new middle champion of the world.
After 12 rounds, the 25-year-old walked away with a unanimous decision, surprisingly by wide margin on judges’ scorecards — 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111.
“It’s an emotion I can’t put into words,” Alvarez said after the fight. “I’m very happy, and much respect to Miguel Cotto. I will always respect him and he’s a great champion, but now it’s my era.
“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.”
Cotto, however, was shocked by the decision. He did not do a postfight interview, nor did he appear at the postfight news conference. “We thought it was much closer than the scorecards showed,” said Cotto’s trainer, Freddie Roach. “It was a competitive fight. Miguel’s defense was unbelievable all night long.”
The fight began with Cotto using his footwork to outbox Alvarez. While Canelo began landing more in the second round, Cotto’s speed gave him problems. By the fifth, the action heated up, as both fighters exchanged powerful shots. Alvarez landed an uppercut, as Cotto responded with a left hook.
In the eighth, Canelo landed a powerful right hand that finally seemed to stun Cotto, but he stood in there and the two exchange big blows for the first minute of the round to cheers from the crowd. Alvarez’s power was there again in the ninth round, when he landed several heavy shots that stopped Cotto in his tracks.
The fight closed with Canelo and Cotto trading shots in the middle of the ring. While most of us watching felt the fight was very close, including much of fans on Twitter, Canelo walked away the winner.
Alvarez claimed the WBC belt, as well as the lineal world championship, which Cotto was defending for the second time. Cotto was stripped of the WBC title just four days before the fight, after he refused to a $300,000 sanctioning fee. However, the organization said that if Alvarez won, he would claim the vacant WBC belt.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Alvarez landed 155 of 484 punches (32 percent), and Cotto landed 129 of 629 (21 percent). But Alvarez’s heavier blows seemed to inflict more damage.
Alvarez made at least $5 million for the fight, as well as Mexican television rights, while Cotto earned at least $15 million.