By Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: Jose Miguel Cotto had. He had him right where he wanted him. Unfortunately for the welterweight from Caguas, Puerto Rico, Saul Alvarez is about as tough as they come. Cotto planted a perfect counter left hook onto the jaw of Alvarez 90 seconds into the contest and he was rocked. Cotto pressed him into a corner and landed three powerful right hands and the Guadalajara, Mexico warrior was in serious peril. Alvarez staggered out of the corner to regroup but Cotto was all over him.
Cotto swarmed him with everything he had, but Alvarez quickly regained his composure and was soon defending well. Cotto realized that he wasn’t going to score a massive first round stoppage and relented, allowing the unbeaten contender to survive the round. That might have been Cotto’s undoing; not being able to finish the fight right then and there.
Alvarez seized control of the bout in the following frame and scored a knockdown of his own; a right uppercut underneath a loopy left hook late in the second. From there, Cotto had trouble landing his shots and Alvarez slowly began picking him apart. Rights, lefts, shots to the body and uppercuts caused Cotto all sorts of problems and the Boriqua couldn’t get back into any sort of rhythm.
The pace of the contest slowed considerably over the second half of it and it appeared as though Alvarez was well on his way to a comfortable decision win until he crashed a right hand onto Cotto’s chin late in the ninth. Cotto stood with his back against the ropes and ate three more straight right hands. He ducked under a few more and fired back, but Alvarez took his time and threw only single right hands, each one coming in harder than the previous.
Finally, when Cotto missed a left, a crushing right hand exploded on his chin. Cotto’s legs wobbled and Alvarez didn’t stop throwing (and landing) right hands until referee Tony Weeks stepped in with nine seconds remaining in the stanza. Cotto protested but it was a just stoppage without question.
It is thus far the biggest win of young Canelo’s career and the unbeaten contender now stands at 32-0-1 after scoring his 24th career knockout. While he’s still a work in progress, he’s talented and young enough to really blossom into something fabulous. As for Cotto, he dips to 31-2-1 with 23 KOs.
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