Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Three-weight world champion Shane Mosley may have been abdicated from the throne for good when he was so resoundingly beaten by Floyd Mayweather two years ago, but Cinco de Mayo opponent Saul Alvarez showed he may not be too far off boxing royalty himself as he extended his undefeated streak with a very unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. It was Alvarez’s fourth WBC junior middleweight world title defence.
Official verdict: Alvarez via UD (119-109, 118-110, 119-109).
Landing his first punch after one and a half minutes, Alvarez paid too much respect to Mosley too early and arguably relinquished the first round to the ring veteran. Mosley popped a sturdy jab and fair one-two-three into Alvarez’s mouth but Saul swiftly discovered his hand-speed was far swifter than the man almost two decades his senior.
Canelo’s punches were the harder, as Mosley found out in round two when Alvarez executed his tough hookercuts prior to deflating Mosley with strong left hooks upstairs. In round three, Saul varied his jabbing as he landed left hands to the lips and to the midsection. Mosley, meanwhile, was not boxing with the same energy as he did in round one and appeared perturbed at Alvarez’s strength, length and technique.
When Mosley extended his lead arm out, Alvarez hooked over the jab. It was not just the trademark hook that Sugar Shane had to watch out for as the straight right, too, was dispatched with envious venom. The fight was temporarily halted toward the end of round three as a coming together of heads caused tears of blood to weep from an eyebrow cut on Canelo.
Alvarez put his punches together extraordinarily well in round four and, as a result of the two-punch moves, Mosley’s cheekbone was swelling. When Mosley was troubled by Canelo’s power, he tied up, however, in an effort to ward off the clinch, Saul pumped right hands into the kidneys. A donnybrooking dust-up erupted midway through the fifth as Alvarez loaded up on punishing power shots that crept lower and lower. A referee’s warning returned Saul’s attentions to Mosley’s face but the ring veteran was by no means capitulating and attempted to halt Saul’s asendancy by peeling off three punch combinations. When compared to the thudding power of Alvarez, though, Mosley’s power paled.
When Mosley was hurt during his bouts with both Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, he retreated into himself and employed survival tactics. By round six and seven there were clear signs that he wanted to mirror that approach with Alvarez as, just when Canelo attacked Sugar with speed, power and blistering flurries, he sought to spoil.
Alvarez busted Mosley with uppercuts, with four punch combos, with hook shots, body shots and right hands from range. Alvarez may have taken 90 seconds to assess Shane in that opening round but, having found his form in the contest’s third quarter, there appeared to be no stopping him as Mosley struggled to limit Alvarez’s success.
Saul attacked Mosley with viciousness when pummeling the body in the ninth, combo’d in the tenth and jabbed and boxed on the inside in the penultimate round. Mosley by no means got steam-rolled, but everything that he attempted to do, Alvarez just did better. He was more powerful, he was stronger, he took a punch better, he threw a punch better and he was faster.
With the clear victory by a deservedly wide margin, Alvarez put a guaranteed future hall of famer’s name on his resume and boosted his chances for a super fight with either Floyd Mayweather or Miguel Cotto later in the year. While he rose to 40-0-1, 29ko, Mosley dropped down to 46-8-1, 39ko.