Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto on a lopsided decision Saturday night in Las Vegas to win the linear middleweight championship.
Alvarez, 10 years younger than his 35-year-old opponent, was the aggressor throughout the fight. He was able to swarm Cotto, who prefers to box from the outside.
The final decision was never in doubt, with judges giving Alvarez the title with scores of 117-111, 119-109 and 118-110. Several ringside observers had the fight closer, but there was no controversy over the winner.
Alvarez (46-1-1) won for the fourth straight time since his only career defeat, a majority-decision loss to junior-middleweight champ Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Alvarez tried to get a rematch with Mayweather, but when that failed, the Mexican star moved up to middleweight.
Alvarez is not a natural 160-pounder, and seemed to gain an advantage when he got Cotto to agree to a 155-pound limit. That meant that Alvarez was only three pounds heavier than he fought Mayweather, and just a pound over the junior-middleweight limit.
Cotto (40-5) also spent most of his career at junior middleweight, and weighed in at just 153 ½ pounds. He was making his second defense of the 160-pound title he won with an upset victory over Sergio Martinez in 2014. Like Alvarez, his last loss was to Mayweather, dropping a unanimous decision for the vacant junior-middleweight belt in 2012.
Alvarez, one of the most marketable fighters in the sport, is now expected to look for a big-money fight with the division’s No. 1 contender, undefeated Ukrainian Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin is considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and boasts a 34-0 record with 31 knockouts.
The undercard was highlighted by Francisco Vargas (23-0-1) knocking out Takashi Miura (29-3-2) in nine rounds. Vargas, who came in as the third-ranked contender for Takashi Uchiyama’s junior-lightweight title, was knocked down early, but rallied for the victory over second-ranked Miura. Vargas will now look for a title shot against Uchiyama, assuming the champ survives a New Year’s Eve defense against little-known Oliver Flores.
Also on the undercard, junior-featherweight champ Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) won a lopsided 10-round decision over Drian Francisco (28-4-1) in a non-title fight.
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