MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada – To some, Erislandy Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs) gave Saul “Canelo” Alvarez(44-1-1, 31 KOs) a boxing lesson and got the shaft in the form of a split decision loss in Las Vegas, Nevada. To some, Erislandy Lara spent too much time on his bicycle and not enough time actually punching. Whatever your flavor, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez got the nod in a close fight with Erislandy Lara on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. In the co-feature, Abner Mares returned from an 11-month layoff and got back on the winning track, and Juanma Lopez suffered another knockout loss to Francisco Vargas. In the opening bout of televised action, Mauricio Hererra took a majority decision over Johan Perez.
The fight was almost all Erislandy Lara in the early rounds. His fluid movement and constant jab gave Alvarez fits for the first three. But staying true to fashion, Alvarez was dedicated to the body attack. By round five Lara was beginning to tire. The piston-like jab he fired repeatedly into Alvarez’s face in the early rounds made only an occasional appearance, allowing Alvarez to get in closer and land combinations. A cut was opened over the right eye of Lara in the seventh, a round which was dominated by Alvarez.
The eighth round began with Lara pawing at his bleeding eye, while Canelo started to land his right hand down the middle. Lara continued to eat lefts to the body, as Canelo would throw it whenever Lara would get to the ropes and pivot out to his right. The wave of momentum moved over to Alvarez’s corner into the ninth, as Lara continued to fade. He had his moments, however, popping the one-two in Canelo’s face from time-to-time, but it was all Alvarez and brutal power shots in the ninth.
The last three rounds were back and forth, as Alvarez started to fade and Lara found some of the wind he’d lost in the early rounds. Lara never completely dominated late in the fight, but he was landing some clean lefts and catching Alvarez walking in.
Ringside judges scored the fight 115-113 for Lara, 115-113 for Alvarez, and an eyebrow-raising 117-111 for Alvarez. The Boxing Tribune scored the fight even, 114-114. The slight disparity in the scoring of the first two judges is understandable; each person will score subjectively. It is the third scorecard that raises questions about the validity of the judging in this fight.
Abner Mares’ return from his first career defeat ended in victory, albeit an unexciting one. Mares, working under new trainer Virgil Hunter, was more open to using the ring to move and box, rather than trading in close. He had some trouble with a cut, sustained in round four, but was never in trouble and commanded the action throughout. Ringside judges scored the fight 96-94 (twice), and 98-92 in favor of Abner Mares. The Boxing Tribune scored the fight 98-92 in favor of Mares.
2008 Mexican Olympian Francisco Vargas (20-0-1, 14 KOs) made quick work of Juan Manuel Lopez (34-4, 31 KOs). The third round may wind up being a candidate for Round of the Year, as both men squared up and traded heavy bombs. A violent round was punctuated by a left uppercut from Vargas that sent Lopez reeling backwards. A follow up volley and clubbing left hand sent Lopez down for an eight count. After the bell rang to end the round, Lopez had trouble finding his corner. And before the start of round four, his corner decided they had seen enough and called a halt to the fight.
Mauricio Herrera (21-4, 7 KOs) took a majority decision win over Johan Perez (19-2-1, 13 KOs) in the opening televised bout of the night. As he did in his losing effort to Danny Garcia, Herrera employed his jab and movement for a majority of the fight, but he dug in and traded when it was needed. After twelve rounds, two ringside judges scored the fight 116-112 in favor of Herrera, while a third saw the fight 114-114, a draw. The Boxing Tribune scored the fight 116-112.
In other undercard action, Tomoki Kameda (30-0, 19 KOs) retained his WBO bantamweight world title with a seventh-round stoppage of Pungluang Sor Singyu (46-3, 31 KOs) on the undercard. Kameda ended the fight with a brutal left hook to the liver of Singyu, who went down as if he was shot.