Last night (Sat., Sept. 15, 2012) was a very, very good night for Showtime. In going head-to-head with Top Rank's pay per view (PPV), its card from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, delivered from top to bottom with a main card full of finishes.
In the main event, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez picked apart an outmatched Josesito Lopez. Lopez was landing quite a number of punches, but not many were clean and very few seemed to hurt Alvarez. Canelo, on the other hand, WHALED on Lopez's body, dropping him three separate times with liver shots.
Somewhere, Bas Rutten was grinning ear-to-ear.
The fight was mercifully stopped in the fifth by referee Joe Cortez, who was working his final fight as the third man in the ring. Lopez looked a bit disappointed, but didn't put up any sort of protest other than a painful "I'm fine!"
Again, it was a game performance for an undersized fighter who admitted after the fight he shouldn't be fighting in this weight class. If you're looking for a mixed martial arts (MMA) comparison, think Nate Diaz. Throughout the brief fight, Alvarez took Lopez's best shots and either deflected them or swallowed them whole with little issue while landing multiple punch combos right back.
"Canelo" is the proud owner of a nice shiner on his left eye, but also a $100,000 bonus for "Knockout of the Night" and certainly looks like the future of the middleweight classes once Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao ride off into the sunset.
Blessed with the same good looks that his Golden Boy promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, possesses, Alvarez is on the brink of stardom. His next opponent could be current kingpin Floyd Mayweather Jr., but the pundits look like they're angling for a match with Miguel Cotto.
The Sho Extreme undercard fights showed a lot of aggression due to the short number of rounds while the main card started out with two of the better boxing matches I've seen this year.
In the opening bout of the televised portion of the card, Andres Gutierrez started off a little slow but stepped on the gas midway through his 6-round fight against Carlos Valcarcel. He took the easy unanimous decision, losing only 1 round on two scorecards.
In a 4-round barn-burner, Francisco Vargas just out-muscled Victor Sanchez to another easy unanimous decision. Sanchez took the fight on 3days notice and was giving up ten pounds in the ring to Vargas.
In the main card opening fight, Leo Santa Cruz battered Eric Morel into a paste, forcing his corner to stop it in between the 5th and 6th rounds. Morel was a punching bag for Cruz, and his internal organs must feel like death warmed over right now.
Marcos Maidana vs. Jesus Soto Karass was a nice little fight with plenty of chirping between the fighters on multiple occasions. Both fighters had points taken away from them, with Maidana suffering from two separate point deductions for extra-curricular activities during clinches. Karass ate a big straight right at the end of the 7th that knocked him on his butt, and Maidana swarmed early in the 8th to take it. Personally, I think the stoppage was a bit early, as Karass wasn't out of it, but too late now.
The next to last fight between Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon was a bit of a letdown, with an accidental headbutt sealing the deal after 8 and change rounds in the books. There's no real complaining from anyone, as Gonzalez was fading with De Leon coming on strong and De Leon took in on the UD in the end. No one really likes seeing a fight stopped early, but it looked like PDL was going to take the fight despite the accidental clash.
For full Alvarez vs. Lopez results and play-by-play of all the night's action click here.