Canelo nearly flawless, crushes Lopez
De Leon, Maidana, Santa Cruz win at 'Knockout Kings'
Ringside by Anthony Springer Jr.
Photos by Chris Cozzone
The fairy tale had to end sometime. After ruining a proposed bout between Victor Ortiz and Saul Alvarez, Josesito ran into a brick wall and was flattened by "Canelo" in six as the heavy favorite retained his WBC super welterweight title. Lopez was up for the fight and kept it entertaining but had no answers –on offense or defense – for the much larger champion.
After just three minutes of action, Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) was bruised up. It went downhill from there. A left hand to the midsection dropped Lopez late in the second frame, a blow that would signal a sign of things to come.
Another big left hand to the midsection in the third round seemed to lift Lopez off his feet. The follow up blow sent him sailing to the canvas a second time.
It's almost as though Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) forgot he was in an actual boxing match. A quick flurry of blows to the body and head kick started Alvarez in the fourth stanza. He responded with a body shot of his own, followed by a three piece to the cranium of Lopez.
The warrior in Lopez might've fought until he lost consciousness or was unable to stand. He nearly survived the fifth round, but Joe Cortez halted the contest when Canelo landed a hard right hand with just seconds five seconds remaining.
"Josesito has a big heart and is very brave," Alvarez said after the bout. "I came in and did what I had to do. I'm not usually looking for the KO, but this is perfect tonight."
True to what many boxing fans and pundits believed, size played a big factor in the dominant win, something Lopez was forced to acknowledge the hard way.
"[Alvarez] was much stronger and smarter," he said. "He's got a lot of skill. He's the total package."
In what may be his highest profile win to date aside from another dominant performance over veteran Shane Mosley, Alvarez already has his eyes on a bigger fight.
"I want the big fights," Alvarez added. "[Floyd] Mayweather. I want to fight them all."
After premature end, Ponce de Leon captures WBC featherweight title
De Leon wins technical decision, upsets Gonzalez
The co-featured WBC featherweight title bout between Jhonny Gonzalez (52-8, 45 KOs) and Daniel Ponce de Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) may very well be remembered for everything other than boxing. Two fights in the stands kept the crowd distracted and a clashing of the heads forced the third man in the ring, Kenny Bayless to halt the contest in the eighth. When scores were read, the crowd favorite, Ponce de Leon emerged victorious.
While there was little memorable action, Ponce de Leon consistently beat Gonzalez to the punch. The title tilt's only knockdown came in the sixth when a body shot and a short flurry from Ponce de Leon sent Gonzalez tumbling out of the ring.
The pair clashed heads in the eighth round while clinched, instantly opening up a nasty cut over the right eye of Gonzalez. After a quick look from the doctor, referee Bayless called for the scorecards. All three awarded the fight to Ponce de Leon by scores of 77-74, 79-72, 79-72.
"I was really surprised by his defense," said newly crowned champ Ponce de Leon. "He's a strong fighter but he didn't punch as hard as I thought he would. I thought I dominated him from the first bell."
Maidana batters, stops Soto Karass in eight
What it was expected to be? Fireworks. What it was? Wild. Punches after the bell and points deducted punctuated a TKO victory for Marcos Maidana (32-3, 29 KOs) who snared the WBA intercontinental welterweight title from a game Jesus Soto Karass (26-7-1, 17 KOs) in round eight. Soto Karass took all Maidana could throw before the punch volume simply became too much. He was floored in the seventh before being stopped at the 43 second mark a round later.
Things really got ugly real quick when the pair exchanged punches well after the bell at the conclusion of the third. Maidana threw two punches, while Soto Karass returned one of his own. Both men were docked a point for throwing extra punches while referee Kenny Bayless attempted to separate the men in the fourth. Round five saw a return to the late hits as both men not only threw, but landed punches after the bell sounded.
The late hits seemed to energize Soto Karass who stormed out at the beginning of each round. But where he was long on energy, he was short on defense and allowed Maidana to land a barrage of clean shots. Soto Karass blasted Maidana with a hard right late in the sixth round but the damage was done.
A big right-left-right sequence ending with a thunderous jab sent Soto Karass to the mat late in the seventh round. Maidana took advantage of the good fortune, immediately going on the attack at the opening of the eighth. Soto Karass found himself trapped against the ropes and got a mouth full of leather for his troubles. A few unanswered jabs forced Bayless to halt the contest.
Soto Karass threw 748 punches but connected on just 24 percent, compared to Maidana who landed 40 percent of his 539 shots, including 145 power punches. Maidana was up on all the scorecards at the time of stoppage, but led by just one round on two cards.
Santa Cruz throttles Morel, retains IBF bantamweight title
Sometimes it pays to be the crowd favorite. Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KOs) scored one for Mexico, retaining his IBF bantamweight title in a one side drubbing of Eric Morel (46-4, 23 KOs). To put it mildly, when the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico bouts are looked back on in the history books, no one will be led to believe this was a competitive fight. From the outset, Morel appeared to be a step slower and the speedier Santa Cruz took advantage, tagging Morel with counter shots in the early rounds.
Morel's luck went from bad to worse as the bout wore on. By the fourth, he was moving slower – the cumulative result of unanswered and unchecked body blows. In the fifth stanza, a dejected Morel was in full retreat. On his bicycle early, he was little more than a moving target for Santa Cruz, who delivered combination after combination. When Morel dropped his hands, lefts and rights tattooed his face. When he raised the gloves, the body blows continued.
Francisco Vargas (12-0-1, 9 KOs) capped off the night's undercard with an offensive packed win over Houston's Victor Sanchez (3-4-1). The two men showed little defense and went toe-to-toe quite literally from bell to bell. The harder punching Vargas pitched a near shutout by scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
When two fighters raise their hands, you don't expect a blowout on the scorecards. Andres Gutierrez (23-0-1, 19 KOs) won a largely entertaining, but one sided featherweight bout against Carlos Valcarcel. The first two rounds found Valcarcel (12-6-4, 5 KOs) battered almost exclusively with left hands from the crowd favorite Gutierrez. After a sluggish start, Valcarcel found his rhythm delivering a powerful left hook to keep things interesting. Gutierrez continued to match the pace and outslugged the Puerto Rican for the remainder of the six round affair. The judges scored it 59-55, 59-56 and 60-54.
Sergio "Yeyo" Thompson was simply too much for Carlos Claudio. Utilizing a barrage of body shots, Claudio was weakened in the opening round before. After an A for effort performance in the second, a stiff body shot followed by a hard jab brought the bout to a halt at the 1:44 mark. With the win, Thompson improves to an impressive 23-2 (20 KOs) while Claudio falls to 15-9-3 (8 KOs).
Eddie Gomez topped Quinton Whitaker for his tenth professional win and eighth finish in the night's opening bout. Whitaker was dropped twice in the second frame before being finished off in the third. With the loss Whitaker drops just below the .500 mark at 9-10 (5 KOs).