In front of a sold-out crowd of 11,274 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Miguel Cotto fought a gallant fight but could not overcome the size, strength and youth of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The 25-year old Mexican convincingly won the 12-round bout by unanimous decision and claimed the linear middleweight crown as well as the WBC world middleweight title in the process.
The question boxing fans and pundits alike are asking after the fight is: Where does Alvarez go from here? Will there be a rematch with Cotto? Or will Alvarez fight the WBA, IBF and interim WBC middleweight title holder Gennady “GGG” Golovkin?
In Cotto’s corner, they unsurprisingly saw it as a closer fight with rematch potential. “I still thought my guy fought a good fight. We had a game plan to outbox him and I thought we did that,” Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach said after the bout. “I thought we had the edge. I and he felt that we outscored Canelo. I’d like to see maybe a rematch.”
ESPN boxing expert Dan Rafael claims that while Alvarez got the better of Cotto, the fight was closer than the scorecards suggested. Rafael also claimed that a rematch is still possible, and considering the marketability of another bout between a Mexican boxer and Puerto Rican boxer, there might be another big payday awaiting both camps.
Roach also insists the fight was closer than the judges’ cards indicated (119-109, 118-110, 117-111), but Alvarez was still the clear winner. Cotto out-threw Alvarez 629-484 but partially as a result of Cotto doubling up on his jab for most of the night. According to CompuBox Statistics, Alvarez landed 118 of 298 power shots while Cotto connected on just 75 of 255.
The Puerto Rican star proved again that he’s a warrior but had little answer for the power of Alvarez, which was on display in the form of lead right hands, uppercuts and hooks for most of the fight. After handling the man 10 years his senior without any controversy, it seems unlikely that an aging Cotto would get the next shot at Alvarez.
It appears much more likely that Golovkin would get the first crack at Alvarez as champion.
“We can confirm that the winner must face our interim champion, Golovkin,” the World Boxing Council confirmed yet again last week. “It’s a fight that has to happen, the winner cannot face someone else.”
The WBC says negotiations must commence within 15 days.
In the ring, Canelo said he would “fight [GGG] right now.” Alvarez later said "I'm not afraid of any fighter," according the Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
"GGG is a great fighter ... If we do a fight, it's going to be at my weight class."
The question becomes whether Alvarez and Golovkin can agree on a weight and whether or not the WBC will actually strip Alvarez of his title if the two cannot come to terms.
Alvarez was clearly bigger than Cotto in Saturday’s fight, which took place at 155 pounds, not 160 pounds where Golovkin, a true middleweight, fights. Alvarez is insisting that Golovkin come down in weight for the fight to the 155-pound limit.
“I’m ready for this, me and Canelo,” Golovkin, who was ringside, said after the fight. “Let’s do it.”
Whether Golovkin would be willing to drop to the 155 range to fight Alvarez is uncertain, but Golovkin has previously said he would go to 155 pounds for a matchup with Floyd Mayweather. Golovkin’s reputation as a power puncher could come into play with the possibility of losing some of his ability to hurt the opponent by coming down in weight.