It's finally here.
Tonight (Sat., Nov. 21, 2015) inside Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Miguel Cotto will collide with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in one of the most anticipated boxing showdowns in recent memory, pitting one of Puerto Rico's all-time greats against Mexico's most beloved pugilist.
MMMmania.com will deliver LIVE "Cotto vs. Canelo" coverage below, starting with the HBO pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast at 9 p.m. ET.
Cotto (40-4, 33 KO) ran into some controversy earlier this week when the WBC stripped him of his Middleweight title, reportedly because Cotto refused to pay a $300,000 sanctioning fee after already paying $800,000 to get interim champion (and mandatory challenger) Gennady Golovkin to step aside. He still possesses the ever-mysterious "lineal" title, however, which I'm certain Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO) would love to have in his trophy case.
The PPV co-main event features WBC Super Featherweight Champion Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22 KO) defending his belt against undefeated Francisco Vargas (22-0-1 16 KO), while Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KO) returns to action after 11 months away in the night's second fight, taking on Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 23 KO) at Featherweight.
The evening on HBO Boxing PPV opens with another 126-pound bout between Jayson Velez (23-0-1, 16 KO) and Ronny Rios.(24-1, 10 KO).
"COTTO VS. CANELO" QUICK RESULTS:
Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez -- Alvarez def. Cotto by unanimous decision (117-111, 119-109, 118-110)
Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas -- Vargas def. Miura by TKO at 1:31 of Round Nine
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Drian Francisco -- Rigondeaux def. Francisco by unanimous decision (97-93, 100-90 x2)
Jayson Velez vs. Ronnie Rios -- Rios def. Velez by unanimous decision (97-92, 95-94, 96-93)
"COTTO VS. CANELO" PLAY-BY-PLAY UPDATES:
155 lbs.: Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez
Round one: Tentative start to the fight, as expected. Right cross by Alvarez. Cotto sticks him with the jab. Canelo with a right downstairs. One minute in. Cotto fires a combination, hits guard. Body shot from the Puerto Rican. Cotto finding more success in the latter portion of the round. One minute to go. Solid jabs by Cotto. Alvarez with a right to the body. Canelo with a right up top and a left hook to follow, followed by another body shot. 10-9 Cotto.
Round two: Cotto lands a 1-1-2 right off the bat. Both jab the body. Both rip to the body soon after. 3-2 by Alvarez. One minute in. Alvarez with a body hook and straight right upstairs. Cotto firing off the jab. Combination by Cotto, low-high. He continues to jab. Left hook by Canelo. One minute to go. Counter 2-1 by Canelo. His jab looks the stronger of the two. Cotto with a right to the body, Canelo to the head. Straight right by Cotto in the waning seconds. 10-9 Alvarez, 19-19.
Round three: Alvarez looks for a combo, falls short. Body shot form Cotto. Left hooks from Canelo. Right to the body afterwards. One minute in. Lead right from the young Mexican. 3-2 lands clean. Cotto cracks him with a right cross. Body shot by Canelo on the counter. Another. One minute to go. Cotto pops him with the jab. Alvarez comes back with a right to the body. Hard counter right by Canelo and both land left hooks, Canelo's to the body. Good scrap developing. 10-9, 29-28 Alvarez.
Round four: Lead right from Cotto. Cenlo looking to pressure behind the jab. Nice straight right by Canelo. One minute in. Cotto with a combination to the body. 1-2 by Canelo, Cotto comes back with a left hook combinations. Lead hook from Alvarez. Cotto to the body, then a solid combination. One minute to go. Canelo with two to the body. Right cross by Canelo inside. Solid jabs by Cotto. 10-9 Cotto, 38-38.
Round five: solid combination by Cotto early, capped with an uppercut. Canelo with a borderline low blow. Counter right by Canelo, body shot by Cotto. Jab exchange. Good lead right by Alvarez. One minute in. Hard uppercut sneaks through Cotto's guard. Cotto puts together a nice combination in response. Another shovel hook by Canelo. Nice counter right from Canelo. One minute to go. Overhand right by Alvarez. Counter hook. Both dig to the body. Alvarez cracks him with another right hand in the waning seconds of the round. 10-9, 48-47 Alvarez.
Round six: Cotto with a right cross to start the round off. Cotto pressing forward. Alvarez digs a right to the body and just misses an uppercut. Right hands by Alvarez sandwich a Cotto combo. Both men to the body. One minute in. 1=2=3 by Canelo. Cotto to the body. Alvarez now walking Cotto down. Cotto connects with some solid body blows and a counter hook. One minute to go. Alvarez uppercut just misses, Cotto right hand does not. Check hook by Alvarez. Cotto circling well. Canelo to the body. 10-9 Cotto, 57-57.
Round seven: Cotto puts together a combination, jabbing at Canelo as he weaves. Left hook from Canelo, then a right to the body and 1-2. Lead right by Canelo, Cotto comes back with a hard combo. Another right to the body by the Mexican star. Cotto sneaks in an uppercut. One minute in. Cross counter and hook by Canelo. Cotto with left hooks inside, then one up top. Canelo comes back with a body shot. Hard uppercut by Canelo. One minute to go. Counter right lands for Alvarez. 10-9, 67-66 Alvarez.
Round eight: Canelo cracks him with a left uppercut in the early going. Body shots by the young Mexican, then a heavy combination as Cotto trades with him. Canelo's winning these exchanges but Cotto's dishing out some good shots. Cotto backs off, eats an uppercut. Lead right connects for Alvarez. One minute in and a left uppercut seems to stun Cotto. Canelo putting his punches together. Cotto blasts him with a left hook and both men trade bombs. Cotto with a solid combination. One minute to go. Canelo slams home a right uppercut to the body. Cotto answers in kind. Cotto with a hard combination and jab up top to end the round. 10-9, 77-75 Alvarez.
Round nine: Cotto connects to the body, then lands a hard right upstairs. Canelo with a pair of body shots. One minute in. Lead hook by Alvarez. Counter right connects for him. First real clinch of the fight. Shovel hook by Alvarez and they trade body shots inside. Both land well. Sneaky hook by Canelo and he follows it up with body shots. One minute in. Another right uppercut by Canelo. Hard lead hook from the younger man, then a straight right-left uppercut combo. Cotto puts together a combination. Right to the body from the Puerto Rican. 10-9, 87-84 Alvarez.
Round ten: Canelo with a glancing right cross. Left hook around the guard, followed by a 1-2 and body shot. Cotto digs to the body, then raises a cloud with a right cross upstairs. Alvarez to the body. One minute in. Nice right to the body, Cotto claims it's a kidney shot. They exchange in the center. Clinch. Hard counter uppercut by Canelo. One minute to go. Cotto lands some solid jabs. Canelo digs in a hard body shot. Cotto snaps his head back with a right straight and Alvarez stings him with a right cross at the bell. 10-9, 97-93 Alvarez.
Round eleven: Lead hook from Alvarez. Body shots from both men. Alvarez digs a right to the body. Nasty overhand by Cotto, Canelo walks through it. One minute in. Counter jab by Canelo. Solid right hook by Cotto. Lead hook by Alvarez in response. Left hook by Alvarez. Overhand right lands clean. 1-2 connects, then a hard left hook that jacks Cotto's head back. One minute to go. Cotto triples up the jab. Cenlo with a body shot and right cross. Solid combo s before the bell. 10-9, 107-102 Alvarez.
Round twelve: Counter uppercut from Canelo. They rip to the body in the center of the ring. Canelo just seems the bigger puncher. More combinations by Canelo. Canelo to the body. Cotto snaps his head back with the jab. One minute in. Clinch. Hard 3-2 by Canelo. Counter hook. Cotto just can't seem to faze him. Canelo to the body, Cotto slams home a left hook upstairs. One minute to go. Canelo sneaks in another hard body shot and it's got Cotto retreating. Alvarez putting together combinations high and low. Cotto with a hook of his own, then a double jab. Cotto comes after him until the bell. 10-9, 117-111 Alvarez.
Final result: Alvarez def. Cotto by unanimous decision
130 lbs.: Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas
Round one: Alright, you two, let's get violent.
Miura southpaw, Vargas orthodox. Vargas busy early, falling short at the moment as Miura utilizes solid head movement. Miura lands to the body, eats a left hook up top. One minute in. BIG right hook rattles Miura. The Japanese vet somehow manages to stay on his feet and Vargas continues to pour on punishment. Miura backs him off with a heavy left hand. Things slow back down and Vargas digs a right downstairs. One minute to go. They exchange at close range. 1-2 by Vargas, then some rights as Miura tries to clinch. Another right hook by Vargas, then a combination upstairs. 10-9 Vargas.
Round two: Miura continues to press forward. Both men throwing hard shots right off the bat. Hard right hook by the champ, hen a series of rights by Vargas. Good body shot, then more rights on the inside. More heavy rights from the challenger. One minute in. Clinch. Miura getting outlanded by a considerable margin, but does come back with a 1-2 before clinching. Lead right by Vargas met by a right hook. Another right hook. One minute to go. Vargas whacks him with some rights inside, then eats a left downstairs. Miura cracks him with a body shot, eats a pair of rights. They exchange inside, then clinch. Both land good hooks before the bell. 10-9, 20-18 Vargas.
Round three: Miura's game as hell, but not winning this fight so far. Hard series of rights from the challenger. Miura clinches, eats some more. Vargas is landing some nasty right hands at all ranges. One minute in. Miura sneaks in a left uppercut, eats a straight right and trades inside. Another overhand right inside by the challenger. Clinch. Miura digs in a left to the body, lands a solid combination and lefts up top. One minute to go. Clinch. Clinch. Vargas still winning, but marked up under the right eye. Right hands by the challenger. 1-2 from Vargas, then some cuffing blows inside. 10-9, 30-27 Vargas.
Round four: Another hard right by Vargas. Miura's eating them well and continuing to press forward. Right hook by the champion. Varga whacks away inside; Miura's throwing with him but with less accuracy. Nice left by Miura. One minute in. Both men tossing out 1-2s. Body shot by Vargas, who steps out of range of Miura's return fire. Solid left hands by Miura on the ropes. Decent work by Miura now. One minute to go. The straight lefts are landing. Clash of heads, clinch. Body blows by the champion, then a hard uppercut and a 1-2 that knocks Vargas to the mat. Vargas makes it back to his feet and steers clear of danger until the bell. 10-8 Miura, 38-37 Vargas.
Round five: Miura continuing to pressure Vargas. Hard right hook to the body. Clinch. Vargas with a right downstairs, Miura with some hard lefts to the head. Counter right hook, then another straight left. Vargas to the body. One minute in. Counter hook by the champ, then a pair of solid left hands. Left shovel hook inside. Vargas whacks him with some rights inside. Left hook on the break. Solid straight right by the challenger. Another right hand. Nice right to the body, then a left hook. One minute to go. Vargas lands a counter right as he eats a left to the body. Clinching. Both men land in the clinch. Miura backs him to the ropes, takes some counters before the bell. 10-9 Miura, 47-47.
Round six: Vargas landing some heavy shots at close range in the first twenty seconds. Right hand by Vargas. Miura pops him with a straight left. Counter hook. Nice right to the body from the champion. Both land to the body inside. One minute in. Vargas with a right hook, Miura lands one as well. Straight left by Miura, straight right from Vargas. Clinch. Vargas rips to the body, then lands an uppercut and left hook upstairs. Miura with a hook to the gut. Vargas with a combination. Both land combinations in an exchange. One minute to go. STraight right by Vargas, 1-2 by Miura in response. Clinch. Combination by Vargas inside. 10-9, 57-56 Vargas.
Round seven: Vargas jabbing early. Miura responding in kind. Solid jabs by the champ. Miura backs him to the ropes, Vargas forces him back with a straight right. Body blow from Miura, One minute to go. Right hooks by the champ. Hard straight lefts through the guard. Clinch. Straight right by Vargas, combination by Miura. Miura walking him down. Counter elft to the body. Straight lefts upstairs. One minute to go. Vargas blasts away inside. Right hook by Miura, who walks into a jab. Lead right by Vargas, who's enjoyed success this last minute. Straight right connects for him before the bell. 10-9 Miura, 66-66.
Round eight: Vargas landing well in the center early on. Both men rip to the body. Nasty blows from each side. Solid right hands by Vargas. Right hook by Miura, right straights by Vargas. One minute in. Right hand exchange, clinch. Vargas with a right downstairs. Vargas landing the better shots this round. Nasty body shots. Miura comes back with a left downstairs. Right hands from the challenger. Miura comes back with 1-2s. One minute to go. Straight right by Vargas as he eats a right hook. Left hook by Vargas, then a combination. Miura's eating them but getting outlanded. Suddenly, Miura hurts him with a left hand that sends Vargas wobbling. The champion unloads until the bell. 10-9, 76-75 Vargas.
Round nine: Out of nowhere, Vargas erupts with a brutal combination that takes Miura's legs out from under him. After a couple tries, the champion staggers to his feet, showing enough for the reft to let it continue. Miura trying desperately to clinch as Vargas throws everything he's got. Miura continuing to tie up as Vargas drills away inside. One minute in. Miura coming back with right hooks, but taking too much punishment for Tony Weeks' taste. Francisco Vargas comes out on top in this terrific slugfest.
Final result: Vargas def. Miura by TKO
126 lbs.: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Drian Francisco
Round one: Francisco connects on a jab. Rigondeaux with a left downstairs. One minute in. Overhand lefts by Rigondeaux spark Francisco despite the latter landing a left between them. Counter jab by the Cuban. He slips a combination from Francisco with a minute to go. Straight left to the body. Another good body shot from El Chacal. Another. They tie up at the bell. 10-9 Rigondeaux.
Round two: Francisco advances, gets tied up. Clinch and Rigondeaux nearly spins him off his feet. Clinch. Clinch. One minute in. Francisco with a right downstairs, clinch. Clinch. Counter 2-3 by the Cuban, his first real punches of the round. Body shot. One minute to go. Francisco reaches him with a left hook. Counter left by Rigondeaux. They stare until the bell. 10-9 Francisco, 19-19.
Round three: Rigondeaux falls short with an overhand left. Clinch. Left to the body from the Cuban. Clinch. Counter to the body, clinch. One minute in. Rigondeaux digs in another left downstairs. More clinching. Left hook by Francisco. Rigondeaux tp the body once more. One minute to go. Basically, Francisco steps in, Rigondeaux wings a left uppercut to the body, and then the clinch. He does include a couple to the head. 10-9, 29-28 Rigondeaux.
Round four: Rigondeaux connects with a good straight left. Francisco with a right inside, Rigondeaux pops him as he backs out. More clinching. 1-2 makes Francisco stumble back. One minute in. They tie up and Rigo lands some short punches with his free hand. Hard lead hook by Francisco. Check hook from Rigondeaux. Lead right by the Filipino, clinch. One minute to go. More clinching. Rigondeaux makes Francisco look foolish as he sidesteps a rush. Clinch. Body shot by Rigo to end the round. 10-9, 39-37 Rigondeaux.
Round five: Quick combo by Rigondeaux early on. They engage inside, then clinch. Francisco is badly outclassed here, but Rigo isn't punishing him much. One minute in. Straight left by the Cuban. Francisco misses badly with a combination. Right to the body from Francisco. One minute to go. Rigo lands a body shot, clinch. Clinching. More clinching. Left cross by Rigo, left hook by Francisco. 10-9, 49-46 Rigondeaux.
Round six: Frankly, my play-by-play is entirely superfluous at this point, since neither man is changing anything. One minute in, same as all the other minutes before. Body shots by Rigondeaux. There's just not any intrigue. One minute to go. More movement. It is legitimately difficult to me to maintain interest. 10-9, 59-55 Rigondeaux.
Round seven: There's just nothing worth writing about. Rigondeaux catches Francisco coming in, then they clinch. Sometimes Francisco misses really badly and looks stupid. There's a solid check hook and body shot, followed by a straight left upstairs. One minute to go. Blargh. 10-9, 69-64 Rigondeaux.
Round eight: Sometimes, when fights suck this hard, I'll start a stream-of-consciousness rant to keep myself interested. At the moment, however, I just don't have the energy. Rigondeaux spins Francisco around and sends him through the ropes before the bell. 10-9, 79-73 Rigondeaux.
Round nine: More potshots from Rigondeaux. It's been mildly entertaining listening to the commentators go from hype men to defenders to apologists to consultants for how Rigo could make himself more marketable. Francisco drops his hands and just walks at him. 10-9, 89-82 Rigondeaux.
Round ten: 10-9, 99-91 Rigondeaux.
Final result: Rigondeaux def. Francisco by unanimous decision
126 lbs.: Jayson Velez vs. Ronnie Rios
Round one: Rios opening up with right hands early, catches Velez leaning in. Rios to the body, Velez pumping the jab. Straight right by Velez. His jab continues to land. One minute in. 1-2 connects. Straight right, then a counter left. Straight to the body, Rios answers in kind. Now Rios using his own jab. Counter jab as Rios leans in. One minute to go. 1-2 by Velez. Rios with a right downstairs, eats a counter hook. 1-2 by Velez, followed by another counter hook. 10-9 Velez.
Round two: Velez firing off his jab as Rios continues to look for right hand leads. Some of them are landing. Low blow by Rios. Velez with a right downstairs. Lead right by Velez. One minute in. Rios is throwing more volume, but generally falling short and walking into counters. Velez staying busy with the jab. Short right hand from Velez, then another. Rios comes back with a body shot, then a clean right cross. Rios digs another pair of hooks into the body, Velez comes back with one of his own. One minute to go. Well-matched round thus far. Velez still landing counters, Rios still advancing. Velez to the body. Rios digs a pair of low blows. 10-9, 20-18 Velez.
Round three: Rios continues his advance. Velez pops him with a pair of jabs after hitting Rios' guard. Rios again goes low with a right hand. Three-punch combo by Velez. One minute in. Velez digs a right to the body. Quick exchange, Rios lands a solid hook up top and right cross. Left hook lands for him. Hard counters by Velez, met by a 1-2 from Rios. Rios continuing to back his man up. Two-piece counter by Velez, who eats another straight right but connects on a lead hook. One minute to go. Rios to the body. Both dig body shots. Another solid set of counters by Velez. 10-9 Rios, 29-28 Velez.
Round four: Both men come out and exchange right off the bat. Rios is making some solid contact as he pushes Velez back. Left hook by Rios. Both men dig to the body, then exchange at close range. One minute in. Check hook by Rios, clinch. Hard series of body shots from Rios, Velez answers with his own. More gut-churning shots; Rios warned again for low blows. They continue to exchange shoulder-to-shoulder. One minute to go. Rios gets yet another warning for hitting below the belt. Overhand right by Rios. Velez is landing, but just can't seem to slow him down. 10-9 Rios, 38-38.
Round five: Velez cracks Rios with a right hand and they trade in center ring. Rios hits the beltline and this time he loses a point. Both men land good overhand rights. Combination by Velez. Rios overextends on a right hand and eats a combination. Velez starting to advance, landing solid body blows. One minute in. Clinch. Rios hits the beltline again. Hard left hook from Rios, then a lead right and some more nasty hooks. Velez throwing right back with him. One minute to go. The last minute sees no major connections. 10-8 Velez, 48-46 same.
Round six: Hard left hook by Rios, then another and another. Overhand right, Velez comes back with counters. Another right hand by Rios. Short shots by Rios at point-blank range, then a 3-2 on the exit. Nice uppercut. One minute in. Velez is still trading with him inside, but Rios is clearly landing the better shots there. Another good 3-2 from the shorter man. One minute to go. Left hook lands for Rios as Velez tries to open up. 1-2 by Velez. 10-9 Rios, 57-56 Velez.
Round seven: 1-2 by Rios to start and they're right back in the phone booth. Solid shots by Rios to the head and body. Velez comes back with body shots. Overhand right by Rios. Rios just seems the much better infighter and Velez is obliging. 1-2 by Velez. Clinch. One minute in. Clinch. Combination from Velez. Hard combination by Rios, including a pair of rights upstairs. Hard shots by Rios on the ropes. One minute to go. Velez still in there with him, but taking more than he's giving. Rios continues to chip away inside, sneaking in hooks and uppercuts upstairs. Hard right by Velez met by a left hook. 10-9 Rios, 66-66.
Round eight: 1-2 by Velez, who's keeping his distance early on. Rios digs a right downstairs, then one upstairs. Hard exchange. Straight right, body shot by Rios. One minute in. Velez doing a better job this round of landing potshots. Rios lands a right hand up top, then one to the body. Rios again to the body. 1-2 connects, then another right upstairs. He's getting to Velez now. One minute to go. Velez staying out of the phone booth but not offering enough back. Rios cracks him with a nasty hook. 1-2 from Rios. Cross counter. 10-9, 76-75 Rios.
Round nine: Rios continues to advance, connecting with rights up and downstairs. Velez eating hooks when he tries to plant his feet and counter. Clinch. Again. One minute in. Solid combination from the Puerto Rican. Rios continuing to force him back, lands a hard counter cross. Clinch. Velez electing to clinch rather than engage with his foe at close range. Hard shots inside by Rios. One minute to go. Velez's punches simply don't seem like they have much behind them, while Rios can generate a lot of force at close range. More combinations by Rios. Solid right hand by Velez, then a couple more before the bell. 10-9, 86-84 Rios.
Round ten: Rios coming on aggressively and Velez obliges, trading solid punches in center ring. They tie up and chisel away. Bit of a miniature slugfest at this point. One minute in. Rios connects with a flurry, clinch. Solid shots by Velez inside. Rios snaps his head back with a pair of hard uppercuts. Velez forces him back, only to eat an overhand right and body hook. One minute to go. Rios forces him back, walking through some decent punches in the process. Counter right by Velez, then a massive hook by Rios. Velez with some swatting blows inside. Rios comes back with an overhand right. They clinch, then slug until the bell. There is no argument for Velez winning, but I have a bad feeling. 10-9, 96-93 Rios.
Final result: Rios def. Velez by unanimous decision