LAS VEGAS — Jermell Charlo may have extended his reach a bit too far in moving up to super middleweight. But can you blame him for trying to beat a bigger man and being rewarded handsomely in the attempt?
The undisputed super welterweight champ decided a double jump in weight was worth a seven-figure payday Saturday at T-Mobile Arena against Canelo Alvarez, who picks his opponents these days as carefully as a grocer selects produce to put on display in his store. The belief was Charlo presented just enough danger to make the Showtime Pay Per View attractive for people to think about purchasing.
There was no danger for Alvarez as he cruised to a 12-round unanimous decision win to improve to 60-2-2. Steve Weisfeld had Alvarez winning 119-108 while Max DeLuca and David Sutherland both scored it 118-109.
“We spent three months in the mountains, without my family without everything,” Alvarez said, alluding to his time spent in the altitude of Lake Tahoe away from his family to train for this fight. “I love boxing so f—in’ much. I showed why I’m the best.”
But the reality was try as Charlo might, he wasn’t beating Alvarez at 168 pounds. And with the vast majority of the crowd of around 18,000 that showed up pulling for the Mexican superstar from Guadalajara, Charlo was unable to overcome all that.
So a little advice to Terence Crawford, the reigning undisputed welterweight champ, who was in the audience Saturday night — stay in your lane, Bud. Don’t go fishing in the deep waters of Caneloland. He’s not meeting you at anywhere halfway. Go to 154 if you must, but forget fighting as a 168-pounder.
Charlo, whose record fell to 35-2-1, called out Crawford after the fight. But I’m not sure he should want a piece of the welterweight champ either, even at 154 pounds.
But they can hash that out down the road. Saturday was about Alvarez, his domination in the ring and his determination to not let Charlo have any opportunity to spring the upset. Alvarez was a minus-500 betting favorite at the opening bell and at one point late in the fight, he was minus-20000 in the live betting.
Alvarez knocked Charlo down a minute into the seventh round, landing a right that staggered the fighter from Houston. Charlo managed to survive the round but at that point, he was a beaten fighter.
Canelo’s game plan that he crafted with trainer Eddy Reynoso was simple — cut off the ring, attack to the head and the body, fight without fear of reprisal and use the uppercut as a weapon. It started from the opening bell and continued until the end.
“We worked on attacking the body,” Alvarez said of the effective game plan. “We know he’s a great fighter. He knows how to move in the ring. I worked the whole fight on going to the body, then I changed it up. That’s what happens when you change the punch.”
It worked like a charm and Charlo knew it.
“I felt I wasn’t me tonight,” Charlo said. “It’s boxing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It is what it is. I’m gonna keep on pushing.
“I’m proud of myself. I took a chance against a guy who’s one of the best in boxing. I could’ve been more aggressive. I should’ve came forward a little more. But I felt his strength.”
Alvarez was willing and unafraid to mix it up. He did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. And there was little Charlo or his corner could do about it.
“I’m a strong fighter all the time, against all fighters. I’m a strong man. The way I fought tonight, nobody can beat this Canelo.”