The ever-building crescendo leading into the highly anticipated matchup this past Saturday between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (44-1-1/31 KOs) and Erislandy "The American Dream" Lara (19-2-2/12 KOs) fell into a quiet whimper among the majority of boxing fans who were cordially subjected to all of the typical propaganda, oratory and flicker that is to be expected during a large scale boxing production such as the one hand-crafted and tailor made for "Honor and Glory." Yet they saw their highly marketable next generation "Golden Boy" fighter in "Canelo" literally shit the bed.
This was a title bout that truly ended up being anything but glorious for Alvarez in retrospect.
For Lara, a boxer who not many fighters want to face anyway to be honest, the evening began with him maintaining his professionalism while coming out from the opening bell with a solid and effective game plan.
This bout could not have been any more clear cut, and for the more purist boxing fans among us and learned spectators there was no question as to who the winner was, or at least who it should have been. Split decision victory or not (a tactic that they use very successfully when swaying fights in boxing), Alvarez did not beat Lara at the MGM Grand. 115 - 113? 117 - 111? We know that at least two of those mice that were judging the fight were definitely blind as bats, that's assured.
Lara used his superior ring generalship and skilled footwork to continually lead Alvarez and basically force him into following him all evening, especially seeing as all he had to do was bait the hook and wait. Lara's jabs were on point and when he did decide to shoot them down the pipe they found their mark with precision and clarity.
Saul's head snapped back on more than one occasion during the scrap. It would have been nice to see Erislandy work Alvarez's body more, as it appears that they have been gradually improving on "Canelo's" stamina in the ring, an issue he has had to contend with in fights past. "Canelo" tried all evening to land his right uppercut with little to no success at all - breezily grazing Lara with blows that cooled him off more than anything else. The amount of punches that Alvarez missed against Lara, thanks solely to the Cuban pugilist's adept ability to box and move, were a thing of magic and a pleasure to behold. Some might argue that Lara rode his bicycle the entire bout, but the frustration openly exhibited by Alvarez (along with his moused right cheek and flustered red face) told of another tale entirely.
Of course credit is due to Alvarez for his own body work against Lara. After witnessing several solid, well-placed and timed shots that ripped to Erislandy's core, one would think that such hammering punches would diminish the strength and legs of the crafty Cuban tactician. One would be incredibly wrong, however, with such an elementary estimation.
There is a reason that some people do not recognize Lara as a household name and why boxing purists know exactly what Erislandy Lara brings to the table in every fight. You see, you might say that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. runs, holds, hits and uses whatever tactics (along with his vast years of experience and hand-picked, that's right, hand-picked opponents). If this was how you felt as a fan or observer then the style of Lara might make you feel that very same way. But you'd be wrong. Dead wrong. Erislandy Lara beat Saul Alvarez in the eyes of several who watched the fight and saw what happened. Fans, writers, other fighters and even the casual PPV fair weather viewer should be able to attest to this visual fact if you saw the clash. Yet the boxing yellow journalism machine will pump out its specific unique brand of dog shit this week and convince you (relatively easily I might add), the "boxing" fan, that "Canelo" is the rising star to follow and that his latest victory was on the up-and-up and fair. No way in hell. Joke's on you.
So as "Canelo" ponders his early Christmas in July present from his daddy Oscar "Golden Boy" De La Hoya (39-6/30 KOs) with a gifted win over Erislandy Lara in 2014, and Lara as "The American Dream" tries to figure out what the hell just happened and why his latest dream is more like a nightmare, all we can really do is standby and wait for the next pile that they subject us to. Or, we can continue to support the sport and be honest in its coverage and analysis...yeah right. Who am I kidding here?
The commentary team at Showtime acted as if Abner Mares' (27-1-1/KOs) cut was serious and fight threatening during the undercard. As a network you guys put on some quality shows and have given HBO a real run for their money over the years. But do yourselves a massive favor and don't follow suit with sensationalistic ringside commentary. Quit reaching (like "Canelo" was doing the whole night). It cheapens the experience and lessens your credibility entirely. Except for Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi (33-6/7 KOs). Keep doing what you're doing man. All networks need to use more boxers as commentators instead of dipstick journalists or elderly Caucasian men who DKSAB outside of the printed/spoken word of their own over-inflated egos and imaginations.
Feliz Navidad "Canelo"....
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