A new chapter begins in the epic tome of combat as boxing marked its first major pay-per-view event in the post Mayweather era and surprisingly it does not belong to rival, all time great Manny Pacquiao. Yes, “Tripple-G” Golovkin’s latest pasting of Canadian banger Lemieux came with a price tag, but few would hardly call the event major. That distinction rightly belongs to the Latin warriors, young and old respectively that would share the headline Saturday night.
The card, in its entirety, definitely delivered.
Notable in the card was the return of two-time Olympic gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux. The rust from his late addition to the card and full year away from the ring showed. His movement was as sharp as ever. He was dominate and never troubled, but there was a visible lack of connected blows. His opponent, the frustrated Filipino Francisco, would try to make it an awkward showing, charging in with the head and forcing the mercurial Cuban to tie up. “El Chacal” would cruise his way through ten rounds to a Judges’s decision, all to the chagrin of a blood thirsty audience.
As if their prayers were answered by the gods of pugilism themselves, the next bout on the card had action sufficient enough to satiate the cruelest of spectators. For nine rounds, defending Junior Lightweight Champ Takashi Miura and undefeated challenger Francisco Vargas traded hellacious blows, with the defending champ gaining control of fight after a picture perfect 1-2 combo to drop the 2008 Mexican Olympian. With the fight appearing to be in the bag for the samurai warrior, Vargas stormed out of the corner in the ninth to immediately drop and stun the champion. Miura was able to rise, but could not recover as Vargas landed at will, prompting referee Tony Weeks to call the fight, making Vargas the new Junior Lightweight Champion and winner of what must be considered a crunching “fight of year” contender.
The headliners would have a tough act to follow. In the main event, the storied Mexican/Puerto Rican rivalry continued as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez squared off against Ring Magazine’s Middleweight Champion Miguel Cotto. Cotto moved well and was active, but the disparity in power was obvious for all to see. For two snapping jabs the veteran champ would land, it was young Mexican’s power punch that would land with authority. Cotto, wise enough to give ground and survive, would give the center of the ring to Alvarez as he stood his ground, seldom playing the stalker and betraying his counter-puncher instincts. The slick posturing and pot-shotting would sway the judges to award the younger, stronger Alvarez the decision and the Middleweight title.
So where do the fighters go from here? Neither was damaged in any serious way. For the valiant Cotto, a move back down to Junior Middleweight would be wise. His lack of stature and size would always prove a liability in this now growing Middleweight division. A match with a rumored returning Antonio Margarito is definitely winnable and would always generate interest. For the still young Mexican star, his stock now rises and can now dictate the terms in what appears to be an inevitable showdown with the aforementioned Golovkin. Either way the Middleweight division is now primed for an explosive new year.