Not just one great victor out there
CAN ONE truly compelling world boxing championship bout produce more than just one winner?
It’s easy looking for the true victor, although there was more than one winner at the end of the main event that saw triumphant Canelo Alvarez paying tribute to vanquished Miguel Cotto at center ring in the Las Vegas Mandalay Resort and Casino. Alvarez pressed his handsome face against Cotto’s bruised forehead at the final bell, short of kissing his opponent as though he was a long-lost brother.
Alvarez, who would shed tears of joy, took Cotto’s world middleweight crown and next dropped by the neighboring dug-out to cry, “I admire you!”
It was the greatest win in Alvarez’s brilliant career that pushed him up, up as the sport’s man of the hour, the Crown Prince of Pugilism.
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Canelo was not alone at the coronation.
His promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, was right. Alvarez needed that big win in order to restore respect and faith in boxing, which had been damned by the oversold mega-dud between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao last May.
So count in two big victors, now that Canelo has made prizefighting look great again.
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It was one of the finest, fiercest ring combats in recent memory.
It was also close, contrary to what the scores of the three judges at ringside would indicate.
Their official scorecards showed Alvarez winning by margins ranging from six to ten points.
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There were no knockdowns, the usual fare in monumental championships.
Cotto, 35, started strong and agile, a young, light-footed hunter slipping in and out , jabbing hard, sniffing for a great chance to throw a killer spear.
Alvarez, 25, was slow, dignified, deliberate, almost flatfooted in his armored stance. He was a calm ruler, refusing to be confused while defending his turf, landing short, crisp blows to both head and body.
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It was a testimony to trainer Freddie Roach’s genius how, as promised, he visibly roused the great boxer in Cotto, who refused to slug it out early by doing the preparatory dance to a possible kill.
It did not take long before the bout appeared what it really was: A clash between a big, young, strong talented fighter and a great, powerful, seasoned, battle-scarred but smaller warrior.
Cotto would be hit and hurt several times in the closing round stand-offs.
In the end, the contest would be decided not on sheer number of punches landed, but more on the stunning caliber and impact of shots delivered to the target.
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Canelo did win it clear, but it would not be fair to say Cotto had been battered and beaten, as the scorecards tended to indicate.
The great warrior from Caguas, Puerto Rico, survived heroically, and thus brought honor to his proud nation.
Now it’s time for Canelo to confirm his reign and there’s the unbeaten executioner Gennady Golovkin waiting to try the hulking, handsome crown prince for size.
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