By Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some were expecting Josesito Lopez to give young Saul “Canelo” Alvarez a tough fight, the same sort of problems he posed to Victor Ortiz. As it turned out, Alvarez was way too much for Lopez to handle and the cinnamon-haired Guadalajara banger trounced his opponent en route to a fifth round stoppage.
From the outset, Canelo was way too fast and powerful for Lopez. He landed dozens of thudding hooks to the body, painful uppercuts on the inside and sharp hooks up top. Canelo threw beautiful textbook combos and never once gave up control of the bout. Lopez tried his best to keep pace with the stronger Alvarez, but it was of no use.
Alvarez poured on his attacks multiple times throughout every round and never allowed Lopez to breathe. Even when Lopez would answer with terrific flurries of his own, Canelo simply shrugged them off and retaliated with harder, faster, more precise shots. Lopez was out-gunned in every aspect.
The beating began in the second when a perfectly-timed left hook to the body planted Lopez onto the seat of his trunks with about ten seconds left. Lopez climbed back to his feet and the frustration was visible on his face.
Canelo continued the onslaught in the third when he dropped his opponent with the same punch about a minute in. Lopez again beat the count, but he was in serious peril because there was so much time left in the stanza. Lopez hung tough and rifled off a plethora of hard combos, but they barely made a dent on Alvarez. Still, Lopez never stopped trying to pull off what was quickly amounting to a miracle turnaround.
Canelo continued his pursuit in the fourth with a similar attack, but Lopez slowly crept back into the fight. After a nice rally by the Riverside, California resident, it looked as though it was possible that Lopez could swing the momentum in his favor. This was after a gruesome low blow by Canelo; Lopez rallied late in the round, the first time Canelo had to endure any real offense.
However, Lopez’ rally was short-lived.
Alvarez regrouped and when Lopez stopped punching, he rifled off a devastating combo in the corner. He threw dozens of punches to the head and body, scoring another knockdown. Lopez climbed back to his feet, took a deep breath and plugged away, only to have the round end before he could mount any sort of comeback.
Things didn’t fare any better for Lopez in the fifth as Canelo stepped on the gas. He delivered even more thudding hooks to the body and head. Lopez was resilient, though, and threw many punches in an effort to keep Canelo off him, but his punches simply had no sting to them. Where Canelo’s were hurting and moving Lopez, Lopez’ weren’t doing anything to Canelo.
Finally, Canelo trapped Lopez in a neutral corner and unfurled his most vicious combo of the night. Lopez tried to return fire, but he was caught in a cascade of punches. Too many of Canelo’s shots found a home on Lopez’ head and body and when it was obvious that Josesito was not going to escape, Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez finally jumped in and stopped it.
Lopez never complained, neither did his corner. He fought as well as he could, but he was overmatched in every realm of the fight. He couldn’t keep Canelo off him and he couldn’t stay on his feet. The official time of the stoppage came at 2:55 of the fifth round, ending a sensational night of fights inside the MGM Grand.
“Josesito has a big heart and is very brave,” Alvarez, now 41-0-1 with 30 KOs said immediately following the beating. “But I had to come in and do what I have to do. I don’t always look for the knockout so this is just perfect. I’m still learning and putting things together. This was a big responsibility to my fans.”
The raucous crowd was behind Canelo the entire time and were in sheer ecstasy when he sealed Lopez’ fate. However, questions immediately were asked about who Canelo will next lock horns with.
“I want the big fights,” Canelo declared. “I want Mayweather. I’ll fight them all.”
Whether his next fight will be against the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter remains to be seen. But considering how his fight with Lopez completely sold out the MGM on a night when the Martinez-Chavez fight in the same city also sold out, speaks volumes of Canelo’s star power.
As for Lopez, it’s back to the drawing board.
“He was much stronger and better,” Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) said. He’s better than Victor (Ortiz). He’s just a great fighter. He’s very smart. He’s the total package.”
After the event, it was announced that Saul Alvarez won the $100,000 knockout of the night award.
You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19 or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@mikesloan19. Also check out his new independent fight blog at www.theprizewriter.com