“Star Power” Leaves A Lot Of
By Barbara Pinnella
Regardless of whether you were
at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, at Staples Center in
Los Angeles, or watching on your television sets, “Star
Power” offered up a lot to the viewers. There were good
fights and controversy, and what was taken away from the
night depended on the individual.
I was at Staples, and as everyone reading this must know by
now, the main event there was the fight between Saul
“Canelo” Alvarez and Alfonso Gomez, and was for the WBC
Super Welterweight title. The fight was scheduled for 12
rounds. The fans were heavily behind Alvarez, with chants of
“Canelo” erupting throughout the course of the fight. It was
a departure from the norm for Gomez, whose fan friendly
style has made him a favorite of the crowd at most of his
fights. But it was obvious that for many, Canelo is the
future of boxing.
For the most part, round one was a slow one, and already the
crowd was getting a bit restless, throwing in little
whistles and jeers. Slow or not, it was Alvarez who was
scoring the most points in the opening round. He put an
apostrophe on that when, seconds before the end of the
round, Saul dropped Gomez with a straight jab.
In the second both men picked it up a bit and scored some
points. Alvarez was still the more aggressive of the two,
but Alfonso displayed more work as well. He seemed a little
more comfortable in the ring and was letting his hands go
Round three was the strongest for Gomez. He connected with
both hands and was a lot more active. Saul however, took all
the punches and seemed unfazed. And when he did strike back,
he was as fast as a snake.
Both men threw and landed punches in the fourth. This was
probably the most active round of the fight. Gomez landed
several punches in little combinations, but it was Canelo
who finished stronger in the closing seconds of the round.
Saul threw a lot more power punches in round five, and they
were hitting home. Alfonso was trying to stand tough, but
the power of Canelo was too much to throw off. Alvarez was
also able to let Gomez hit him, then just come back for
Round six saw Alvarez continue his onslaught. He would take
the bigger punches from Gomez and then just throw back in
retaliation. Near the end of the round, a big right hand by
Canelo hurt Alfonso. Saul jumped in for the kill, reigning
blows on him until the referee stepped in and stopped the
fight at 2:36.
It was a stoppage that Gomez said was too soon. “I’ve been
bloodied, I’ve had both eyes swollen shut, and I’ve still
fought,” Alfonso said. “I believe the ref was looking for an
opportunity to stop the fight. He hit me hard, but I was OK.
The ref asked me all the questions and I answered correctly.
“But it is what it is. I took the opportunity and made the
most of it. I wanted to go the distance, I wanted to
continue. But I’m here,” he said at the press conference
with a slight smile and shrug of his shoulders, “sitting
before you. The fight was closer than a lot of people
thought it would be.”
When asked what’s next for him, he replied, “I have no idea.
We’ll have to talk about it. I’m ready for anything.”
Canelo had this to say; “I’m very happy with the fight. We
worked very hard, and we knew it would pay off in the end. I
did my job in the beginning. I hit him hard in the first
round. I knew it was just a matter of time.”
With regard to the fight being stopped too early, Alvarez
said, “It’s not my job to judge the referee.”
He concluded by thanking all of his fans for their support,
and was glad that he didn’t disappoint them. He also said
that he will fight anyone, any time.
I want to run down the undercard fights from Staples before
I say a little bit about the Vegas fights. All of the
undefeated fighters in the four fight undercard at Staples
kept their win records intact.
In a Super Welterweight
fight scheduled for four rounds, Hugo Centeno (9-0, 6 KOs)
earned the unanimous decision victory over Alfredo Rivera
(1-9). Almost immediately at the opening bell, Centeno
caught Rivera with a left hook and dropped him. Rivera would
get up and try valiantly to stay in the contest for the
duration, but he was obviously outmatched. The fans did
appreciate his efforts though, and many were siding with the
smaller man throughout, cheering for him whenever he would
connect. Alfredo was nothing if not game. In the end
however, the judges saw it 40-35, and 39-36 twice for the
Middleweights took to the
ring in a bout scheduled for four rounds, but it took only
1:26 for Ray Rivera to stop Rudy Gonzalez. Both of these men
were making their professional debut, and Rivera made his
statement well. A strong and well-placed right hand followed
up by a left hook dropped Gonzalez, and the fight came to an
immediate end. It was hard to tell just how good Rivera
might be in that short a time frame, but I’m sure we will be
seeing him again soon.
Antonio Orozco (12-0, 8 KOs) had his way with Fernando
Rodriguez (6-6, 3 KOs) in a Welterweight fight that did last
the scheduled six rounds. But Orozco just dominated his
opponent from the get-go. He would hit Fernando at will,
from all sides, and with all punches. His combinations were
fast and furious. I must give credit to Rodriguez for his
staying power, but there was no way he could match up with
Antonio. At the end of the final round both fighters
continued their battle after the bell, making it necessary
for the referee to grab one of them to put a stop to it. The
judges all saw the fight the same way, a dominate 60-54
across the board for Orozco.
The opening bout was a
Featherweight contest between Mikayl Arreola (18-0, 10 KOs)
and Juan Sandoval (5-7-1, 3 KOs) that went the scheduled
six. At first it seemed as if Arreola would have to work for
his victory, as he was dropped in the first round. But he
came back the more effective and competent fighter. The
judges awarded that. Even with the knockdown, the scores
were 58-55 twice and 57-56 for Arreola.
Running over to Vegas for a moment here, for the much hyped
fight WBC Welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather (42-0,
26 KOs) and Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs). I think most
people thought the fight would end in a knockout and not go
the 12 rounds, but I certainly don’t think that anyone could
have predicted the finish that we saw. Mayweather controlled
the show, landing punches and hurting Ortiz. The powerful
right hand of Floyd was accurate and frequent and there was
nothing Victor could do to stop it.
Victor was able to get some shots in, but the damage they
did was minimal. When he did lash out with combinations,
Floyd was able to block most of them. Whether out of
frustration, a moment of stupidity, or both, in the fourth
round Ortiz dove in with an intentional head butt, for which
he got a point deducted. But that was the least of his
worries. He would have been better off to poke a rattlesnake
with a stick.
The repercussion of his actions came immediately. While
still apologizing for the head butt, time was back in. Floyd
saw the opening and took it. As Victor was still standing in
front of him with his hands down, Mayweather caught him with
a left, and as Ortiz looked toward to referee, that heavy
right hand put him on the canvas. A surprising finish to
this most anticipated fight.
For this journalist the fight of the night had to be WBC
Super Lightweight title fight scheduled for 12 rounds
between warhorse Erik Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) and the young
and then undefeated Pablo Cesar Cano (23-1-1, 18 KOs), who
was filling in for the ill Lucas Matthysse. With his
victory, Morales became the first Mexican fighter in history
to win four titles in four weight divisions.
Cano came to fight, there was no doubt about that. In fact,
rounds one and two went to Pablo on two of three scorecards,
as he was not afraid to trade with Erik. But then Morales
came alive. He was the aggressor in the third, and a crisp
right hand opened up a cut over the left eye of Cano in the
A brave Pablo came back again in the fifth, keeping Morales
on the ropes for most of the round and doing more damage
than Erik was. But in this back and forth show of will and
skills, Morales grabbed back the control in the sixth. His
left hand found its target throughout most of this round.
In the seventh Cano came back again. It was Erik who bled
this time, as he suffered a cut on his left eyelid. But each
round that Pablo found the strength to come back he paid
dearly for that aggression in the round to follow. Morales
pounded the face of Cano in the eighth and the blood really
began to flow from his left eye and his nose.
This was something that the young Cano had never experienced
before. He couldn’t see, he couldn’t breathe, and Erik’s
fists continued to find their target on Pablo’s swelling
face. This continued into round 10 as well, and at the end
of that round the ring doctor was called over to assess the
damage. On his advice, the fight was stopped. The cut on the
eyelid was about an inch long, and in photos it was hard to
differentiate between his swollen eye and the cuts.
But all the credit to Morales here. With his white trunks
now pink with the blood of both fighters, Erik proved that
he was indeed a warrior in every sense of the word, and huge
congratulations to him.
About the only thing that I was a little disappointed in was
that there was no time to show those in attendance in Los
Angeles the fight between Josesito Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs) and
Jesse Vargas (17-0, 9 KOs). Having seen Lopez in action
several times, I did expect this to be one of the big fights
of the night and had really wanted to see it. But I
understand it was a good fight with Vargas remaining
undefeated and Josesito being on the losing end of a split
So at the end of the day there are a lot of questions that
can be asked regarding the event called “Star Power.” Was
the Canelo / Gomez fight stopped too soon? What about the
intentional head butt done by Ortiz? Was it two good punches
or two cheap shots that Mayweather used to put Victor down
and ultimately out? Did Lopez legitimately lose that fight,
or was he just in “Mayweather Country”? Just what the hell
went on with Floyd and Larry Merchant? And finally, will we
ever really know the answers to any of these questions?
What I do know is that the crowd was hot into the big
matches, and that I had a super time covering the event. The
food was really good, the norm for Golden Boy events. Don’t
laugh, food’s important, people!
Congratulations to all the winners, and a big shout-out
thanks to a couple of you – you know who you are!
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,