“Canelo” Alvarez, Marcos Maidana, Leo Santa Cruz and Daniel Ponce De Leon Cash In On a Great Night of Boxing

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    Knockout Kings was the perfect title for last night’s Showtime Boxing event. We saw 2 successful title defenses, 1 title change hands and a fight of the year candidate. It was an action packed card, the type of night that will attract casual fans and the exact reason why boxing heads love the sport.

     

    In the 1st bout of the evening the IBF Bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz improved to 21-0-1 with 12KO’s putting together a masterpiece. For the first time in his 50 fight professional career Eric Morel was stopped as he quit on his stool at the end of the 5th round. Up until the stoppage I had Santa Cruz winning each of the 5 rounds. It was evident from the opening bell that Santa Cruz had superior power and skill.

     

    The rising Mexican star Santa Cruz beat his opponent’s body like a drum. Entering the fight I figured 37 year old Morel wouldn’t be able to keep up with the youngster for a full 12 rounds. A vicious and relentless body attack was the key to slowing down the veteran and as Santa Cruz mentioned in his post-fight comments, was the plan going in. I expect to see Santa Cruz challenge for another world title soon; this young man is definitely on the come up and is a fan friendly fighter. Morel left the ring for possibly the last time in his career, with a record of 46-4 including 23KO’s.

     

    When speaking of Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karass’ battle last night four words sum it up perfect, fight of the year. In his 2nd appearance in the Welterweight division Maidana looked like he belonged at that weight. In looking more technically sound, showing better footwork and setting punches up with his jab, its clear working with Robert Garcia is beneficial for the Argentine star.

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    It was a war from the opening bell, one of those edge of your seat, don’t blink or you’ll miss a huge shot kind of fights. Maidana(32-3 29KO’s) started off smoking with his infamous body shots and landing hard left hands. Soto Karass(26-8-3 17KO’s), the naturally bigger man, absorbed the shots well and was able to fire off power shots of his own. In back and forth action I had Maidana ahead 3-0 after the first 3 rounds. After the bell they kept throwing, referee Kenny Bayless and trainers from each corner had to step in to separate them.

     

    The chippyness continued in the 4th round with each fighter having points deducted for low blows. For the rest of the round Soto Karass was able to take advantage of Maidana slowing down, seemingly fatigued. I scored the 4th 9-8 in favor of Soto Karass for being more active and landing more effectively. Maidana got things going in the 5th, it wasn’t a lopsided round by any stretch of the imagination but was able to land more frequently and harder.

     

    Again it appeared that Maidana was running out of gas in the 6th round. Soto Karass jumped all over him landing a mix upstairs and downstairs. It seemed like the tides turned in Soto Karass’ favor as he took the 6th 10-9. Another point was taken from Maidana in the 7th for hitting through the referees break, and he turned it up to another level after that, his reserve tank kicked in. The pressure ensued; he doubled up on his jab and landed a crushing right hand that sent Soto Karass to the canvas. With the point taken away Maidana won the round 9-8.

     

    The attack didn’t let up in the 8th. “El Chino” kept Soto Karass on the ropes while the round lasted. A barrage of right hands forced Kenny Bayless to jump in and stop the fight 43 seconds into the 8th round. It is debatable on if the stoppage was too early but it was evident that Maidana was going to eventually finish Soto Karass off. Maidana could stay at Welterweight and make a few waves but I’m not sure if he can be a viable contender for a belt. As expected they were right in front of each other all night to make a great fight. If this wasn’t the fight of the year, I must have missed something.

     

    Daniel Ponce De Leon(44-4 35KO’s) kept his winning ways going as he ended Jhonny Gonzalez’s(52-8 45KO’s) 12 fight winning streak to become the WBC Featherweight champion. Gonzalez seemed to be in control through the 1st 3 rounds. Ponce De Leon was landing looping left hooks effectively but the activity from Gonzalez and his right straights gave him the first 3 on my card.ponce león
     

    After the 3rd, Ponce De Leon fighting with a mean gash right above his hairline took over the fight. With blood dripping down his face, he kept pounding Gonzalez with his left hand. Gonzalez couldn’t land anything that would slow Ponce De Leon down as he kept stalking the champion. It was a bang out but the theme of the night, the body attack, ripped the energy away from Gonzalez.

     

    In a round where Gonzalez was winning, a left hand severely hurt him in the 7th. Ponce De Leon backed him across the ring and a combination put Gonzalez through the ropes. The rest of the round was all Ponce De Leon, and with the knockdown he took the round 10-8. In the 8th a clash of heads caused a cut over Gonzalez’s right eye which forced the ringside doctor to stop the fight. They went to the scorecards and with the judges scoring the fight 79-72, 79-72 and 77-74 Ponce De Leon captured the title. I scored the fight 77-74 for the newly crowned champion.

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    The main event went just as boxing experts, including myself thought it would. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1 30KO’s) defended his WBC Jr. Middleweight title against a very game Josesito Lopez(30-5 18KO’s). Lopez, who’s a Jr. Welterweight moving up a 2nd weight class in his last 2 fights, couldn’t land hard enough to fend off the Mexican superstar Alvarez.

     

    If I had a dollar for every left hook to the body Canelo landed last night, my purchase of the Chavez Jr.-Martinez fight would have been paid for. The power was the biggest difference. Lopez landed some solid shots but the lack of impact was his downfall. Though there was a thudding sound from every one of Canelo’s punches, Lopez stayed in there, he never backed down.

     

    After a 1st round that was back and forth, Lopez was dropped with 10 seconds left from a ferocious left to the body. Canelo continued to back Lopez down in the 3rd. Canelo sent him back to the canvas in the middle of the round with another left to the body. You’re seeing the pattern here.

     

    Lopez came into the 4th bleeding from his nose and mouth. He stayed his ground, landing uppercuts and straights with either hand, looking as if it was going to be his round. A low blow gave Josesito a chance to catch a breather but for whatever reason instead of taking the full 5 minutes he chose to get back at it after about a minute. Less then :30 later a left to the body hurt Lopez, then a combo capped off with a right put him down for the 3rd time.

     

    The 5th was the fatal round for Lopez. Though he was hurt he kept fighting showing the heart of a lion. All the way until Joe Cortez stopped the fight Lopez showed heart continuing to throw, but the stoppage was a good one. It might have been an impressive performance for Canelo but in reality Lopez had no business being in there. This needs to be the last of the hand-picked opponents for Alvarez. The rumors of either a Mayweather or Cotto fight needs to come into fruition.

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