MEXICO CITY — Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez played matador tonight in the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City, beating Kermit Cintron up for five rounds before stopping him. Cintron looked to be in over his head from the start and treated the junior middleweight bout like a painful sparring session. This fight probably said much more about Cintron than Canelo, unfortunately.
Before the fight, there was some speculation that Cintron’s right hand might test Canelo. Instead, it was Alvarez’ that did all the damage. Despite being the shorter man, Alvarez consistently landed it over the top of Cintron’s pawing jab.
Alvarez (39-0-1) won the largely conservative opening round with a couple of left right combinations while a listless looking Cintron wandered around the ring. Cintron (33-5-1) already looked to be lost and in discomfort in the 2nd, while Canelo continued to land the harder punches. The Puerto Rican seemed more motivated at the start of the 3rd, landing a straight right that momentarily gave Alvarez pause for thought. However, it was the Mexican who consistently got the best of the early going.
In the 4th, Alvarez caught Cintron with a series of chopping right hands, forcing the Puerto Rican to a knee in his own corner. He followed up with a two fisted assault across the ring, leaving Cintron hanging between the ropes, seemingly unwilling to continue, as the bell rang.
To Cintron’s credit, he came out swinging in the 5th — at least for a time. He caught Alvarez with with a big left hook that had the Mexican star banging his gloves together in spite. Cintron couldn’t keep his momentum, though, falling victim a series of powerful combinations. Eventually another arcing right caused referee Hector Afu to end matters. Cintron may have been able to continue, but he was not throwing back. His way of bending at the waist leaves him open to the kind of dangerous-looking, downward punches that get referees jumping in.
It’s unlikely that Canelo will have convinced his doubters tonight. For the second time in a week, it’s time for a young Mexican star to step up in class. The crowd in Mexico City know what they want to see, judging by the chants of “Julio, Julio.” While the post-fight interviews were not audible in the Plaza de Toros, Alvarez reportedly called out Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Fights against other top 154-pounders would be more desirable to boxing fans.
On the undercard, James Kirkland conqueror Nobohiro Ishida (24-6-2) scored another improbable 1st round knockout against Mexico’s Edson Espinoza. Well, it wasn’t that improbable — Espinoza was on debut and Ishida has had 29 fights.
Salvador Sanchez II, the nephew of the original, was a flashback with his afro and red velvet shorts, at least until he started boxing and showed very little of his uncle’s ability. Sanchez (27-4-3) fought a messy looking fight against tough Columbian featherweight Alexander Monteroza (17-8-3). Both men got tagged and Sanchez was knocked down in the 8th but escaped with a split decision.
Touted junior bantamweight prospect Leo Santa Cruz (18-0-1) did the predictable with local opponent Jorge Romero (9-48-1). He didn’t look particularly impressive to TQBR.