Saul "Canelo" Alvarez had a chance to establish himself as a legitimate boxing icon when he stepped in the ring with Austin Trout.
Alvarez, 22, is a rising star in the boxing business. He is undefeated (42-0-1, 30 knockouts) with explosive power and matinee-idol good looks. He is the kind of fighter promoters love because he puts fans in the seats and brings even more sets of eyes in front of the premium cable broadcasts.
Alvarez scored a unanimous decision over Trout (26-1).
Canelo Alvarez won by UD over Austin Trout 115-112, 116-111, 118-109 to unify the WBC/WBA titles.
— Yahoo! Sports (@YahooSports) April 21, 2013
He registered the biggest punch of the fight when he hit Trout with a straight right hand early in the seventh round. That powerful right sent Trout down to the canvas, and he did it in such a manner that it looked like Trout would have trouble continuing.
His legs splayed, and he appeared to be out of it.
For a split second.
Trout picked himself up from his awkward fall, shook off the cobwebs and continued to fight.
Trout may have lost, but he gave a good account of himself. The left-handed fighter used his right jab to establish his presence throughout the match. He appeared to keep Alvarez off balance in many of the rounds.
Alvarez was content to bide his time for much of the fight and look for openings to land big shots. He got enough solid shots in to earn the decision he received from the judges. However, Alvarez may not be quite as good as his fans think he is.
Alvarez looked uncomfortable throughout much of the fight. Trout had his jab and quickness working for him, and Alvarez was looking for his big shot. When he threw it and did not land it, he looked awkward, bending over at the waist to keep his feet under him
He has an impressive record, and he may be in a position to get in the ring with Floyd Mayweather at some point before the end of the year, but he would have to improve quite a bit if he intends to have a chance against the Money Man.
Mayweather is simply too quick and instinctive, and the only way he would have a problem with Alvarez is if he were to become careless in the ring with his clowning and showboating.
That's certainly a possibility with Mayweather, but he has never lost a fight. While Mayweather could make a mistake or two, it wouldn't cost him in the end against Alvarez.
Holding the undisputed junior middleweight title is obviously an impressive accomplishment for Alvarez, and he should feel confident about how he handled this fight. His head movement caused Trout to miss a lot of punches. That emboldened Alvarez and frustrated Trout.
Alvarez also showed intelligence in the later rounds. He knew he was ahead convincingly in the fight, according to Showtime announcer Al Bernstein, so he did not take unnecessary chances in the final two rounds.
He did not run and hide or fight defensively, but he did not put himself at risk, either.
Alvarez is bull-strong, and his fans wanted to see a powerful fighter end the bout with a punishing knockout. He didn't do that.
Aside from appearing awkward throughout, he also looked tired from the sixth round on.
That caused him to pick his spots. Alvarez would flurry and then rest; flurry and then rest.
That was plenty enough against a good fighter in Trout. It would not be enough against a great fighter like Mayweather.
The feeling here is that a Mayweather-Alvarez fight will be scheduled. If Mayweather can take care of business against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, Alvarez would likely be next in line.
Remember, Mayweather has a 30-month contract with Showtime that could result in as many as six bouts (source: ESPN.com).
Alvarez is undefeated, powerful and has the looks to draw a lot of non-boxing fans' interest. That would sit well with Mayweather.
He also knows that Alvarez has flaws.
They showed in a blase performance against Trout. They would be exploited badly in a fight with the best fighter on the planet.