Home Boxing News Canelo Was The Big Dog: Dominates Angulo; Santa Cruz Remains Undefeated

Canelo Was The Big Dog: Dominates Angulo; Santa Cruz Remains Undefeated

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas played host to the Golden Boy Promotions event, Toe To Toe. There were nine fights on the card, the first one beginning in the early afternoon, and most of them were quite entertaining.

The main event was between super welterweights Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (43-1-1, 30 KOs) and Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) in a fight that was scheduled for 12 rounds. Must point out here that this fight was being fought at a catch-weight of 155, since Alvarez was unable to make the required 154 pounds. This had to be agreed upon by the Angulo camp, with other conditions being that Canelo cannot come into the fight any higher than 168, and must pay Angulo $100,000. Alvarez made that 168 at the second weigh-in.
Canelo came out on fire in the first round and really took the fight away from Angulo. He make Alfredo eat a lot of punches, and when Angulo did let his hands go there was no power behind those punches, or no Canelo to hit at all. Good combinations early on in the second round, and good uppercuts as well by Canelo. He maintained a rapid pace in this round and easily took the first two in the scoring. Could he withstand this pace for 12 rounds?

Angulo began to come forward a little bit in the third, but was still getting caught by those fast hands of Alvarez. Still, while he probably didn’t win the round, it was the best showing so far for Alfredo. Saul continued his assault on Angulo in the fourth. Alfredo did land some punches, but was still behind the eight-ball.

We went to the fifth. Angulo almost gave as much as he got in this round, and this was the first time that Canelo started to slow down and move backwards instead of pushing the action. Loud in this building as we move through these rounds, and Canelo still has the upper hand. Alfredo was throwing more punches, but not nearly enough at this point in the fight. When Angulo’s leather met Alvarez it never seemed to faze the young fighter.

Angulo threw his best combination in this round, and those punches landed. But Canelo had not stopped throwing and landing his own punches. This seventh was a better round for Alfredo than his showing in the third, but still don’t think it was enough to win the round. In the eighth, Angulo really tried to take care of business but wasn’t able to do so. In the ninth it was once again all Canelo. If his conditioning was in question, we were seeing the answer – no!

Very shortly after going into the tenth round and after taking yet another solid shot from Canelo, referee Tony Weeks stepped in and stopped the fight at :47 seconds of that tenth round. To say that Alfredo was upset is an understatement.

After thanking everyone, Canelo said, “The promotion was billed as the return of Canelo, but let me tell you, Canelo’s never been gone, I’m right here. Alfredo was a strong warrior, but I told you I was ready to go toe to toe and stand and fight. We did our homework, we knew his style, and I took his punches. To be honest, I really didn’t feel that devastating power. We knew that my right hand would connect often, and it did.

“You always go into a fight with a plan, but when the first bell rings, obviously the plan can change. The plan worked. As far as the stoppage, I went in there to do my job, and I did. A fight can change with one punch. The referee did his job, and I did mine. I wasn’t happy with the stoppage, but I don’t govern the decisions there.

“Right now I’m gonna take a rest and a break, sit down with my team, and figure out who is next.”

An interesting moment came when Erislandy Lara came up onto the podium and asked Canelo when they were going to fight, that everybody wants to see the fight, at which point Canelo asked who was everybody? One person was saying yes, yes. Canelo asked, “Oh, isn’t that your manager?” After much laughter, Alvarez then told Lara, “This is not how you make fights, so you’ll have to wait.” This brought about quite a bit of applause.

Angulo trainer Virgil Hunter was displeased with the stoppage. He later said, “First I want to congratulate Canelo on an outstanding performance tonight. My hat’s off to him and his team. It was a very tough fight for Alfredo. I said that if Alfredo took another two or three-punch combination I would stop the fight myself, but he only got hit once! Everyone here knows Alfredo was coming on when the fight was stopped.”

Angulo himself was not in attendance at the post-fight press conference, as he went to the hospital to be checked out.

In the co-main event, the very popular Leo “Teremoto” Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs) not only put that undefeated record on the line, but his WBC Super Bantamweight title as well when he faced off against journeyman Cristian Mijares (48-8-2, 22 KOs) in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds.

Santa Cruz had a good opening round, as he doubled up his hook, as well as went to the body on a few occasions. He was quite active throughout the three minutes. Leo continued down that road in the second, showing speed and accuracy with his punches and catching Mijares with almost every punch.

The fight was going according to script for Santa Cruz, as he seemed to have control in all areas. He was cut over the right eye due to an accidental head butt at the start of round four, and the blood was streaming down Leo’s face during that said fourth. That round ended with an explosion of punches, thrown mainly by Santa Cruz.

Fifth round, and still all Leo. And so it was in the sixth. Santa Cruz started off the fight coming forward all the time, and going into the second half of the fight he was still doing so, and very effectively against Cristian. The seventh was carbon copies of the other rounds, but in the eighth the blood began to flow again from above the right eye of Leo.

In the ninth, Santa Cruz was just smothering Mijares. Leo was in continuous pursuit and catching his target, and changed nothing in the tenth. Why should he? In the eleventh, both men threw a lot of punches. Neither one looked really fatigued in this very energetic fight.

The final round was just more of the same, and I apologize for being repetitious. In a fight where Mijares was not only unable to find a way to keep from eating punches, but could not figure out how to hit Santa Cruz, we went to the scorecards. One of the judges saw the fight 119-109, while the other two had it 120-108, a very convincing victory for Santa Cruz

“I faced a very tough fighter tonight with a lot of experience,” Santa Cruz later said. “He didn’t want to go down, but we tried to give the fans a great fight. I think I’ll defend my title one more time before I move up. If there’s a good opponent at 122 pounds I’ll stay there for maybe two fights, if not, I’ll move up to 126.

“Mijares is a fighter with a lot of experience, so going the 12 rounds with him, I learned a lot. Every fight I learn more and more, and with this one I learned a lot.”

In the WBC Final Lightweight Eliminator bout that was scheduled for 10 rounds, Jorge Linares (36-3, 23 KOs) faced off against Nihito Arakawa (24-4-1, 16 KOs). The first round showed action from each man. Punches landed, but neither man really hurt the other in that opener.
Lots of engagement in the second as well. Halfway through the third, Arakawa really peppered Linares with some good punches. Jorge came back, however. There were some great combinations by Linares thrown in the fourth that Nihito was able to absorb. This was still a very good round for Jorge, who continued to throw punches in bunches throughout the round.

The fifth round was a good one for each fighter. Linares landed many of his punches, but Arakawa remained in front of him, applying pressure in his own way. The sixth and seventh rounds were much of the same, as Linares continued to punish his opponent, but Nihito would still stand there and take it. In the eighth, Arakawa came out fast, trying to get some points on his side. During the last several seconds of the round Nihito just went crazy on Jorge, hitting him with everything he could throw.
In the ninth, while Linares was probably being given every round, Arakawa was hanging tough and doing his best. This continued into the tenth and final round, and we went to the scorecards. The judges saw the fight 98-92, and 100-90 twice, all for Linares. He fought a great fight here, but Nihito has nothing to be ashamed of – he won in the try department.
The first television PPV bout had the WBC vacant International Lightweight title on the line when Ricardo Alvarez, (23-3-3, 13 KOs) older brother of Canelo, faced off against Sergio Thompson (29-3, 26 KOs). If Alvarez won this, he would make history, for it would be the first time that three brothers would all have won titles.

Thompson, who was a late replacement opponent (with only one weeks’ notice) instead of the injured Omar Figueroa, really landed some very heavy leather on Ricardo in the opening minute or so of the first round. If it might have seemed as if Alvarez got in easier without Figueroa, that was not the case. With that knockout power of Sergio, Alvarez had to be careful in this one. In the second, Thompson landed combinations several times in the round, while Alvarez got in some really good uppercuts. We were watching a good back-and-forth battle in these early rounds.

Alvarez was down in the third for the first time in his professional career, but then came back and landed some good shots. Still, a great performance so far by Thompson. The action never slowed down in the fourth. The next few rounds were more of the same, with Alvarez again showing strength. Then round six was another strong one for Thompson.

The seventh round saw Ricardo have what would probably be considered his best moments in the fight. He had Sergio against the ropes and was able to land some hard shots on him, but Thompson fought through it and rallied back.

In the opening seconds of the eighth round a right hand put Alvarez on the canvas for the second time in the fight. Both men missed with some punches in the ninth, but it made sense that they would be a tired by this point.

In the tenth and final, Thompson got hit with a rabbit punch after the referee called for the break, and stayed down for a few seconds. The referee said he would call the fight, which would have been a shame after the performance he gave. The fight went on, and we went to the scorecards. The judges saw the fight 95-93 twice (wait, really???), and 97-91, all for Sergio Thompson. At least the best man, in my humble opinion, won the fight.

Australia’s star was dimmed some when Will Tomlinson (21-1-1, 12 KOs) went up against Jerry Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs). This fight was in the junior lightweight division, and was scheduled to go 10 rounds. It did last the 10, but it seemed more like 15. This was a very slow, plodding fight that heard the boo-birds come out on several occasions.

Belmontes completely outworked Tomlinson in this dinner break of a fight, and the judges’ scores reflected that. They saw the fight 98-92 twice, and 99-91, giving the unanimous decision to Jerry and gave Will his first professional loss.

Francisco Vargas looked to keep his win streak alive when he (19-0-1, 13 KOs) faced Abner Cotto (17-2, 8 KOs) in a fight that on paper looked to be a close one. This was for a scheduled 10 rounds in the junior lightweight division.

The first round was a pretty good one for Cotto, who was chasing down Vargas and connecting with his punches. But Francisco wouldn’t take that treatment for two rounds in a row, and came back with a vengeance in the second.

Both men caught the other with some good head shots in the third. In the last 30 seconds of the round, Vargas was just pummeling Cotto, but Abner made it to the bell. The fourth saw Cotto come back, then get pounded a bit, then fight back again. This was a good round of action, and we had a good fight going on, with these two really getting into it the next few rounds.

In the eighth we saw another big round for Vargas, while Cotto continued to try to fight his way out of trouble. Francisco was always attacking, making Abner’s job nearly impossible.

Both men were still standing at the end of the tenth and final round, and we went to the scorecards. The continued attack that Vargas displayed was rewarded by the judges, when two of them saw the fight 97-93, and one 96-94, giving Francisco the unanimous decision.

Super bantamweights squared off as the ever-smiling Antonio “JoJo” Diaz (9-0, 7 KOs) faced Jiovany Fuentes (5-4, 4 KOs). This fight was to go eight rounds. Round one was a good back and forth one that saw both fighters landing their punches. The second was a good one for JoJo, who had solid shots to both the head and body of Fuentes. There was pop to those punches.

The third was another good one for Diaz. He was able to land at will and with power, showing off good combinations. The same was true in the fourth.

In the fifth round, two hard lefts in a row snapped back the head of Jiovany. Fuentes really tried to fight back in the final 10 seconds, but to no avail. At 2:59 of that fifth round, referee Russell Mora waved the fight off, giving Diaz another victory.

Keandre Gibson (9-0-1, 4 KOs) went up against Antonio Wong (11-8-1, 6 KOs). This fight was to go a scheduled six rounds in the junior welterweight division. The first round was not a bad one for Wong, but in the second Gibson hit Antonio with a hard left to his body, as well as some good shots to the head.

Wong threw a lot of punches in the third, but they never bothered Gibson. In the fourth it was another body shot that put Wong down and out at 1:54 of that fourth round. Gibson remained undefeated.

The first fight of this early afternoon fight card had the undefeated Steve Lovett (8-0, 6 KOs) facing off against Francisco F. Molina (2-3, 2 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout that was scheduled for four rounds. It didn’t take four however, as it was all Lovett. He scored the knockout at 1:13 of the second round.

So we saw a pretty good night of fights, many of which were quite entertaining. It was unfortunate that the Alvarez / Angulo fight ended the way that it did, and Weeks is taking some heat for stopping the fight when he did. But with the number of fighters we have lost in recent months which is worse, being one punch too early, or one punch too late? In the end, it should be decided by what is in the fighters’ best interest, and I think we saw that tonight.

Written by Barbara Pinnella – www.pound4pound.com