Canelo Alvarez Steamrolls Josesito

By Robert Ecksel on September 15, 2012
Canelo Alvarez Steamrolls Josesito
Josesito's punches bounced off Canelo the way spitballs bounce off a Sherman tank. (AP)

The WBC junior middleweight champion was too big, too young, too strong, too much of an offensive machine for the 12-1 underdog to contend with…

Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) successfully defended his WBC junior middleweight title by bulldozing the game but outclassed Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs), scoring a TKO with five seconds left in round five.

All the misgivings when this fight was made inevitably came to pass. Canelo was too big, too young, too strong, too much of an offensive machine for the 12-1 underdog to contend with.

Fighting out of the red corner in red trunks with green and white trim, Canelo wasted no time in establishing his dominance. Josesito, fighting out of the blue corner in white trunks emblazoned with a Mexican and American flag, managed to keep his composure and fought at a measured pace. But he failed to connect with any meaningful blows, if he connected at all. Canelo, meanwhile, was in complete control of the action. He landed combinations, his straight right, and hooks to the head and body. Canelo’s superiority was a fair indication of things to come.

At the beginning of round two Lopez began to let his hands go. He caught Canelo on the ropes and landed a left hook and right hand. Canelo froze for a moment. He wasn’t hurt. If anything, he looked surprised that his opponent had nailed him. Canelo quickly pulled himself together and countered with an uppercut followed by a double left hook, the second of which drew first blood from Lopez’s nose and mouth and dropped him to the canvas. Although it was a better round for Lopez, and both fighters landed the exact same number of punches, Josesito was using his fists whereas it felt like Canelo was swinging a sledgehammer.

Round three was a prime example of a prime Canelo in action. It was painfully obvious who the winner of the fight would be. Josesito kept retreating to the ropes with Canelo in hot pursuit. A punishing left hook to the body just 55 seconds into the round dropped Lopez a second time. But Josesito is nothing if not all heart. He beat the count and came back firing shots of his own. Josesito’s punches, so effective against Victor Ortiz in his last fight, simply bounced off Canelo the way spitballs bounce off a Sherman tank. The champ’s power was overwhelming and he applied that power with the worst possible intentions. It’s to Lopez’s credit that he was able to withstand the barrage as long as he did.

Canelo landed 62% of his power punches through the first three rounds.

Things weren’t much different in the fourth. Canelo was stalking Josesito the way a lion stalks its prey. One of his punches strayed below the belt and Joe Cortez called it as it was. He gave Lopez five minutes to walk it off, but curiously shadowed Lopez at every step, all the while jabbering incessantly. Whatever he was saying was inaudible. It must have been important, however, because Cortez kept repeating it. After 45 seconds Lopez returned to action. Canelo caught Lopez with a five-punch combination that drove him to the canvas a third time.

At the start of round five the writing was on the wall and the writing was redolent of an epitaph. Lopez again retreated to the ropes and again suffered the consequences. The first two minutes of the fifth were two minutes of constant pain, and the pain was none other than Josesito’s. With a minute left to go he sprang to life in center ring and landed a combination that rocked Canelo. But the iron-jawed champion shook off the punches as if they were simply a breeze on a summer night. Alvarez went on the offensive, drove his opponent back to the ropes, and unleashed a wicked uppercut. With his Lopez as defenseless as a punching bag, Canelo unloaded, forcing Joe Cortez to step in and stop it five seconds before the bell. The stoppage was perhaps unnecessary and premature. But no one could argue that it wasn’t inevitable. If Cortez, who reffed his last fight tonight, hadn’t stopped it when he did, Canelo would have done so in the next stanza.

After the fight Canelo was as cool as cool can be.

“I did my job today. I had the backing of the fans,” he said. “And Josesito has a lot of heart. I’m very happy. I’ve never hit anyone that hard. I still need a lot of work, but I’m very happy what I showed today. It would be an honor to move up to the next level. Boxing, like life, there are a lot of things to learn. I will be better next time.”

Josesito, although he lost, was as ebullient as ever.

“Canelo’s a bad ass,” he said with a laugh. “He’s good. He’s a good fighter. I knew coming in it was going to be a tough fight, and he beat me, he proved he’s a better fighter. We felt good, but I think the size was pretty different. He’s a strong fighter—and a smart fighter. I was hoping I could land a good punch, catch him with a punch that could change the momentum.”

It was not to be.

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  1. NYIrish 01:29pm, 09/16/2012

    Thresher, I bet you’ll find out soon enough.

  2. NYIrish 05:45am, 09/16/2012

    No surprises here. Canelo had all the advantages and seized them. Lopez is a proud warrior and should get a money fight in his own weight division.
    Joe Cortez spared him at the end and I’m glad he did. Lopez kept getting up when most would have stayed down.
    If this is Joe Cortez’ last ref job I wish him luck.
    Can’t say I’ll miss him.
    He’s destroyed the rhythm of many fights with his incessant breaking and chattering at the fighters. Some nights it seemed like he thought we were paying to see him.

  3. the thresher 05:29am, 09/16/2012

    Wonder what Teddy has to say about this?

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