Las Vegas, Nov 22, (AFP): Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez captured the vacant World Boxing Council middleweight title Saturday with a unanimous decision victory over Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto.
Judges awarded Alvarez the verdict by scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111, the Mexican improving to 46-1-1 while Cotto fell to 40-5.
Alvarez, 25, became only the second Mexican fighter to claim the world middleweight throne, taking the title Cotto, 34, surrendered earlier in the week rather than pay sanctioning fees.
Unbeaten Kazak fighter Gennady Golovkin, 34-0 with 31 knockouts, owns the other two major middleweight titles and Alvarez said he is ready to face him to determine an undisputed champion.
Cotto suffered only his second defeat in 10 fights against Mexicans, the other coming to Antonio Margarito in 2008.
The fighters traded impressive exchanges through the early rounds of a bout fought at a catchweight of 155 pounds.
But the pace increased in the eighth round as Cotto pressed the attack against the larger Alvarez, his jab setting up power punches against the Mexican, who responded with left hooks and combinations to keep Cotto at bay over the final rounds.
In the final round, Alvarez landed some sledgehammer shots early to open a cut over Cotto’s left eye. A body punch by Alvarez in the final seconds was met with an exchange by Cotto and at the final bell, the rivals put their hands on each other’s shoulders as the crowd cheered.
Mexico’s undefeated Francisco Vargas rose from his first career knockdown to capture the World Boxing Council super featherweight title Saturday by dethroning Japanese champion Takashi Miura with a ninth-round stoppage.
In his first world title bout, the 30-year-old endured a fourth-round knockdown and a right eye nearly swollen shut to seize the crown when referee Tony Weeks halted the bout after 1:31 of the ninth round.
Vargas improved to 23-0 with one draw with his 20th victory in a row and 17th triumph inside the distance.
Miura fell to 29-3 with two drawn, a nine-fight win streak snapped by his first defeat since 2011. The 31-year-old Japanese southpaw was making his fifth defense of the crown he took from Gamaliel Diaz in 2013.
When the bout was halted, Miura was ahead on the scorecards of two of the judges and the third had scored the fight evenly to that point.
Vargas pounded Miura in the opening round, the Asian fighter taking hard overhand rights to the head but still attacking.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Arthur Abraham defended his WBO super-middleweight title with a split decision, then paid tribute to Martin Murray as the British fighter failed for the fourth time to win a world crown.
Abraham, 35, took the victory 115-112, 112-115, 116-111, to register his sixth successful defence of his title in Hanover on Saturday in Hanover.
With a tight defence and accurate flurries, home favourite Abraham had too much class for the St Helens fighter.
Murray, 33, wasn’t helped by having a point deducted late in the fight for holding although the penalty had little impact in the final analysis.
It was the Berlin-based Abraham’s 44th victory in 48 professional fights, while this was the third defeat of Murray’s career after a draw with Germany’s Felix Sturm in 2011 and a unanimous loss to Argentina’s Sergio Martinez in 2013.