For the untelevised portion of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz undercard, I’ve already made a number of catty and brilliantly insightful remarks on Twitter, but for the main pay-per-view undercard fights — Saul Alvarez vs. Alfonso Gomez, Erik Morales vs. Pablo Cesar Cano and Jessie Vargas vs. Josesito Lopez — we’ll just update with fight results after each bout concludes. So keep checking back. Here’s my preview of said undercard, for background.
In the opening fight of the card, junior welterweights Jessie Vargas and Josesito Lopez gave us the nice brawl we expected, and the end results reflected what most everyone thought was a 50-50 fight: Vargas took it very narrowly on the scorecards. Most everyone whose scorecard I saw, including my own scorecard, had Lopez winning narrowly. Lopez was the harder puncher, and the one moving forward; Vargas was the classier of the two brawlers, busier and faster, but not as well-conditioned. It went back and forth in many, many close rounds. For me, the difference was a point deduction from Vargas by referee Tony Weeks for low blows that struck me as premature. But Vargas’ movement left Lopez unable to throw at times, so it’s not as if I can’t see a close Vargas win. The judges had it 95-94 Lopez, 96-93 Vargas (not sure about that one) and 95-94 Vargas. I’ve already dismissed the whole Floyd Mayweather “Amir Khan has to beat Vargas to fight me” as the talk of a promoter, given his interest in Vargas, but if he means it, Khan could make easy work of Vargas and Vargas could get himself a nice paycheck. I’ve always thought Vargas could be a factor at 140, although how much of one, I am not sure. I’m less sure than before, but then, we knew Lopez would be a trial by fire. In the end, both entertained. I like the idea of seeing either man in a meaningful fight whenever I can.
Erik Morales had to fight hard to earn his whole fraudulent “only Mexican to ever win championships in four divisions” designation, as young junior welterweight Pablo Cesar Cano gave him a very stiff challenge. But Morales is a living example of the advantage of being an old-school motherfucker, because you can overcome up-and-coming talents just based on technique and hard-assedness, even when you look like a borderline fattie. In the 10th, Cano trainer Rudy Perez favored stopping the fight, and while I initially objected, looking at how busted up Cano’s face was in close-up, it wasn’t so bad. But really. Cano’s length and youth early made Morales look old, and it was virtually even through 10. It’s just that Morales is gritty, and knows how to fight, becauese he started landing hard shots when he wasn’t pivoting to roll with Cano’s jab and straight right. That said: Morales isn’t the “champion” of the junior welterweight division. He’s in the top 10, and only barely. As champion means “first place,” that means Morales as champion is bunk. But Morales is an admirable figure for so many other reasons, among them his effort tonight.
Saul Alvarez looked like absolute shit before getting a questionable 6th round stoppage over Alfonso Gomez. The referee stepped in too early, and this is coming from someone who tends to favor preamture stoppages over stoppages that come too late. Alvarez scrored a knockdown in the 1st that didn’t seem like much, and then wasn’t working hard enough and got beaten for most of the next several rounds by a blue-collar brawler in Gomez. But Alvarez had a big uppercut and right hand in the 6th that wobbled Gomez. The referee stepped in after Gomez’ follow-up assault even though Gomez was still defending himself and had the wherewithal to be disappointed a split second later by the referee stepping in. The rumors of Alvarez’ head getting the best of him, given his popularity? Those looked legitimate. And given his lack of pure natural physical ability, that’s a dangerous mindset. We might have to downgrade “Cinnamon” to “Nutmeg,” if this trend continues.