LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez expressed respect for Jermell Charlo because the unified junior middleweight champion came up two weight classes to challenge him Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
There was never a point in their 12-round, 168-pound title fight, though, that Alvarez sensed Charlo was actually trying to win. Charlo acknowledged after Alvarez easily defeated him by unanimous decision that he should’ve been more aggressive, yet Alvarez pointed out that his opponents oftentimes are discouraged from attempting to execute their gameplans once they realize how difficult it is to deal with him in the ring.
“I think that happened with a lotta fighters,” Alvarez said during his post-fight press conference. “That’s not on my mind, right, to survive. It’s not that way, but I did my job. I did my job. And I think he never [did] something to win.”
Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) has drawn criticism for fighting as if his mere mission was to go the distance with Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) in the biggest fight of Charlo’s career. Alvarez pressed the action throughout their bout, often backed Charlo into the ropes and his power caused Charlo to try to tie him up whenever possible.
A flush right hand by Alvarez landed to the side of Charlo’s head and forced him to take a knee about a minute into the seventh round. Charlo recovered, but he remained reluctant to exchange with boxing’s undisputed super middleweight champion until the final bell sounded to end their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
Houston’s Charlo, who went down for just the second time in his 15-year professional career, avoided what would’ve been his first knockout defeat. He still lost by wide distances on the scorecards of judges Max De Luca (118-109), David Sutherland (118-109) and Steve Weisfeld (119-108).
Charlo connected on only 71 out of 398 punches, a rate of 18 percent, according to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics. Alvarez was almost twice as accurate. He landed 35 percent of his punches, 63 more altogether (134-of-385).
The shorter, stouter Alvarez even out-jabbed Charlo, whose jab is one of his most effective weapons. CompuBox counted 56-of-189 jabs for Alvarez, 16 more than Charlo (40-of-283), who landed only 14 percent of his jabs.
“That was my plan, you know, neutralize everything what he’s gonna come with,” Alvarez said. “He’s a counterpuncher, he’s [got a] good left hand. And I tried to not get hit. And sometimes fighters can’t do anything in the ring, too.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.