Mexican Independence Day was celebrated two weeks late on Saturday in Las Vegas, but no one at the T-Mobile Arena seemed to mind.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Guadalajara, Mexico (60-2-2, 39 KOs ) successfully defended his undisputed super middleweight crown Saturday with a dominant, masterful decision victory over former undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo of Houston (35-2-1, 19 KOs).
Judge Steve Weisfeld scored the fight 119-108. Donald Sutherland and Max DeLuca scored the fight 118-109, including a seventh-round knockdown. NY Fights didn't give Charlo a mercy round, scoring the fight 120-107 for Alvarez.
Alvarez Body Work Is Money In The Bank
In front of a packed house, all seemingly cheering his name, Alvarez controlled the action from the opening bell. He stalked Charlo, bullying him, pushing him back into the ropes, setting him up with the jab, and repeatedly hammering him with body shots in a classic Mexican offense.
“We worked on attacking the body,” Alvarez said. “We know he’s a great fighter. He knows how to move in the ring. We worked on attacking the body for three months.”
Charlo seemed unable to get into gear, searching for ways to hit Alvarez without taking incoming counterpunches. When Charlo did land a clean punch, it did nothing to stop Canelo’s forward attack.
Knockdown Seals Charlo's Fate
In the seventh round, Canelo scored his single knockdown of the fight. A jab to the body followed by a right hand to Charlo’s head stunned the Texan. Charlo wisely took a knee to prevent further damage. He survived the round but was in a deep hole on the scorecards and never managed to dig out.
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Charlo gave due credit to Alvarez after the loss. “Shit, what a night. I'm proud of myself. I took a chance right off a hand injury against one of the best guys in boxing. I hold my head high,” said Charlo. “I love boxing, I'm not going nowhere. Canelo is a (expletive) beast, he's an ox.”
“I’m a strong fighter all the time, against all the fighters,” Alvarez said. “I’m a strong man, nobody can beat this Canelo.”
“I feel like it wasn’t me in there,” said Charlo, who was coming off a 16-month absence. “I feel like it wasn’t me in there, but I don’t make excuses. You win some, you lose some. I’m undisputed in my weight (again, he’s no longer undisputed in his weight). I was daring to be great. I’m proud of myself, he didn’t knock me out, he knocked all of the other guys out.”
As expected in such a one-sided affair, Alvarez dominated the punch stats. He had a 134-71 advantage in total punches landed, an almost two-to-one advantage. He also landed 78 of 196 power punches, a 40 percent connect rate. Charlo landed 71 of 398 total punches, an 18 percent connect rate.
“I think, ‘This is Canelo.' Finally, I'm back, I feel confident. I feel great. I didn't feel like this for a long time. But now I'm back,” said Alvarez, which he added was mainly due to his damaged hand being fully healed. “I feel fresh.”
“Charlo didn't believe in my skills, I showed him why he was wrong. I've had a lot of memorable nights in boxing. This was one of them.”
Charlo Going to 154; Alvarez Leaves Options Open
The battle of undisputed vs. undisputed in the buildup to the fight was a moot point at the opening bell. As he entered the ring, Charlo was stripped of his WBO junior middleweight championship for refusing to face mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu. Tszyu is now recognized as the full WBO champion.
Charlo could regain the WBO belt if he fights the Tszyu vs. Brian Mendoza winner on October 15. But after the fight, Charlo indicated his interest in taking on undisputed welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford.
Whoever he fights, Charlo restated at the post-fight news conference he will return to the super welterweight division. “I can make 154 easy,” said Charlo.
Alvarez says he plans on coming back for his next fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2024. As for the opponent, he didn't pick a single name. “I’ll fight anyone,” he said. “I don’t care.”
Is undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford on Canelo's radar? “If the fight makes sense, why not? But he's not in the plan,” said Alvarez. “I don't know right now. I'm going to enjoy this fight right now. Then you're going to know what's next.”