In a test of both his ability as a fighter and his growing status as a star in the boxing world, Saul Alvarez passed the test with flying colors, showing that despite his young age, he’s quite ready to continue and take on the biggest challenges left for him to conquer in the boxing world, beating Austin Trout by a unanimous decision, remaining undefeated and unifying the WBA, WBC & Ring Light Middleweight title belts.
The next stage after his? No one is saying right away, not before they see Floyd Mayweather fight Robert Guerreo in early May, but the direction is clear. Alvarez has beaten quite a few decent names over the last couple of years, including a fifth round technical knockout over Joselito Lopez last September, pushing himself a little further up the rankings of one of the biggest stars in boxing today, stretching beyond the Mexican fanhood, which packed the Alamodome in San Antonio to watch him put on another convincing clinic of boxing.
Those who were worried that Trout’s experience might be a bit too much for Canelo, despite his 41-0-1 record going into the fight were proved very wrong. Trout was also undefeated stepping into the ring, but it seemed he was the man more anxious to deliver an early blow. He was the more active of fighters overall (154 landed to 129), but he never had any power behind his punches, and despite winning some round along the way, the finish, and the power shots, were all Alvarez, landing 43% of his power punches compared to the 27% Trout managed.
Later, Trout admitted he wasn’t prepared for this kind of fight from Canelo. Alvarez was patient throught, slowly but surely introducing his jab into the fight, coming with a little more zing every time Trout came inside. Even when Trout had Alvarez on the ropes, it didn’t seem to matter. Canelo just showed excellent head movement and found a comfortable way out of a few rough spots.
The one big hit of the fight was in the seventh round, as Trout was knocked down for the first time in his career after a huge right hand from Alvarez. He recovered quickly, but the final four rounds were all Alvarez, even showing his jab is just as good as Trout’s infamous choice punch. Alvarez never tried to tangle his opponents, but he never stayed in one place, keeping his head and feet in motion. Trout expected something a little bit different, and by the end of the fight, seemed to be a bit out of gas, lacking any kind of power in his hits to make Alvarez feel uncomfortable about his domination.
It ended with a 15-112, 116-111 and 118-109 score from the three judges, as Alvarez proclaimed he did it for his brother, Rigoberto, who lost the WBA belt to Trout in Mexico just over two years ago. Alvarez might have been fueled by revenge, but he never once let rage and anger cloud his judgement, proving to be a lot more poised and calm than others give him credit for.
What’s the plan now? Golden Boy have the answer, but if Mayweather does beat Guerrero, the direction is clear. However, some might think it’s a little bit too soon for Alvarez to take on the number one fighter in the world, hoping to get another tune up, and a little bit of money before a fight he’s likely going to lose. Maybe Miguel Cotto, before he finally retires from the sport, or maybe someone else. The division isn’t left with too many for Alvarez to fight with who can also generate a big payday. Maybe a switch of division for his next opponent is also on the cards, but a fight with Mayweather seems like the thing on everybody’s mind.