Canelo Alvarez proves he’s still boss in the ring

Esther Lin/Premier Boxing Champions
Undisputed world super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez retained his belts with a unanimous decision win over Jaime Munguia in Vegas.

LAS VEGAS — Jaime Munguia never did anything to disrespect his opponent. He let his promoter do the talking for him.

But sometimes, the son pays for the sins of the father. And that appeared to be the case Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Whether or not Canelo Alvarez needed an artificial stimulant to get him sufficiently motivated to defend his world super middleweight title belts, only he knows for sure. But his dislike for his former promoter and Munguia’s current hype guy, Oscar De La Hoya, appears genuine.

If Alvarez is going to resort to using profanity in English (I guess he finally learned to speak English after all these years) when he could’ve cussed Oscar out in Spanish (De La Hoya speaks Spanish as well) during Wednesday’s final news conference, maybe he really doesn’t like Oscar. And Oscar, who has been quick to point out that he is responsible for Canelo’s rise to champion and is threatening to sue him for defamation, did his part to put some much-needed juice into the Cinco de Mayo weekend promotion.

In the end, it was all about what happened in the ring and Alvarez showed why he’s at the top as he successfully defended his super middleweight belts with a 12-round unanimous decision victory, handing Munguia his first professional loss in 44 bouts.

Judges Tim Cheatham (117-110), David Alexander (116-111) and Steve Weisfield (115-112) all had it for Alvarez who improved to 61-2-2 as a minus-380 betting favorite after opening as high as minus-650.

“He’s a strong guy but he’s a little slow so I was able to see every punch and counter against him,” Alvarez said. “I tried to take my time and figure him out. I had 12 rounds to win the fight and I did. I did really good and I’m proud of it.”

Alvarez used his uppercut effectively, scoring a knockdown of Munguia in the fourth round as the fight quickly swung in his favor. It was the first time Munguia had been knocked down and while he did recover, he never recaptured what early momentum he had built, much to the chagrin of some in the crowd of 17,492 who were pulling for him.

He also kept dropping his right hand, allowing Alvarez to tag him with the left and scoring effectively. Many questioned Munguia’s defense going into the fight and Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who worked Mungia’s corner, could only teach him so much.

“He’s a fighter with a lot of experience,” Munguia said. “But the loss hurts. I started well but I had a lot of problems.”

That experience can cause a lot of problems. Mungia found that out the hard way. But to his credit, he never stopped trying. He kept wading in, looking for the big shot to swing the fight back in his favor. Unfortunately for him, Alvarez refused to take the bait and his ring generalship crafted over years of tough battles, carried the evening for him.

“This win means a lot,” he said. “I’m glad I gave him this opportunity. Munguia is a great guy and a great champion. He’s gonna have a great career. I’m very proud that all the Mexicans were here to watch us.”

When asked afterward if he’s the best fighter to come out of Mexico, Alvarez said no. Instead, he proclaimed himself the top fighter in the world right now.

“When I retire, my numbers will say shat position I am in,” Alvarez said. “I know there’s a lot of great Mexican fighters in the past. But I’m the best fighting right now.”

And he wasn’t committing to a fight with David Benavidez, who many believe is the top challenger for Alvarez.

“I’m gonna rest and enjoy my family,” he said. “If the money is right, I can fight right now. I’ve fought everyone and I can do what I want.”