Due to basically living a cave for the past month (no internet, AHHH!) and solving financial problems, I have neglected to write an article for quite some time. This is troublesome considering the amazing fights that have occurred this summer and in no way represents the Sportswithneil name. But, now that I have things figured out (sort of) I can get back to reporting the big fights for you.
After hearing the initial cries of ‘robbery’ and ‘close fight’ I knew I needed to check out last Saturday’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara fight for myself. I finally got a chance Monday morning when my internet started to finally work. My initial thought after watching was ‘They both earned respect, but also disappointment’.
The fight was there for Lara to take. He didn’t throw enough punches though. Whether that was his own error or a result of Canelo’s (44-1-1, 31KO) body attack can be debated. Canelo was effective throughout the middle rounds using his left hook to the body to put Lara (19-2-2, 12KO) on the defensive. But, he did more following than cutting and had trouble landing head shots on Lara throughout the fight.
As expected, the Cuban took command early in the fight by using his movement and quickness to land clean 1-2’s on Canelo and keep the Mexican from setting up his attack. However, there is a difference between backing-up to set-up your attack and backing-up for the sake of it.
Canelo’s body shots seemed to take a toll on Lara staring in the 4th round as the Cuban began stepping back without throwing any counters. Even when Canelo would get a little careless with his attack the counters from Lara were few and far between and this lack of activity would prove detrimental.
Lara stepped it up towards the last third of the fight which resulted in some close rounds. When he let his hands go and used angles to set traps for Canelo, he had great success. Canelo kept up his body attack and put Lara on the defensive at times.
Both men had their moments in the final round and when the final bell rang the only certain thing was the closeness of the fight.
I scored it 115-113 for Canelo.
The scorecards read 115-113 for Lara, 115-113 for Canelo, and an absurd 117-111 for the Mexican fighter, earning him a split decision victory. Most experts expected Canelo to get the nod if the fight was close but a scorecard of 117-111 is simply wrong.
If justice existed in boxing, a rematch would be held to quell the debate. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but I’m staying realistic as well. The fight was interesting due to the difference in styles but in terms of action it lacked sustainability due to Lara’s use of movement for his offense and defense and Canelo’s inconsistent attack as he struggled at times to find Lara.
The consensus is Canelo will challenge newly-crowned middleweight champion Miguel Cotto for another chapter in the storied Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry that exists in boxing. There are no guarantees though. As for Lara, although he shined at times his own weaknesses were on display such as an overreliance on movement for defense and a tendency to hurt himself by not attacking as much as he should. I’m not saying he should have stayed in front of Canelo. Instead, he should have used his movement to set-up more counters and he simply didn’t do that. Nevertheless, the exposure he received from this fight should benefit him in the long run.
It’s not what he wanted but it’s a good consolation prize.