Saul Alvarez impressed many last night against Jose Miguel Cotto. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images)
Since we didn't get into the undercard from last night too much, let's do that now. It was, frankly, a very entertaining undercard. These were not fights that are going to get the attention of the casual fan, but honestly knowing what we know about how boxing PPVs are put together, all I really ask for is some fun action for a couple hours, and we got that.
Saul Alvarez TKO-9 Jose Miguel Cotto
I actually just talked about this fight tonight on the radio with Luke Thomas of BloodyElbow.com and MMA Nation, who was highly impressed with the 19-year-old Alvarez, and I've seen a lot of people around the web who didn't know much of Alvarez (or even who he was) come away really liking this young man. And they should, because I think Saul has the goods.
Alvarez (32-0-1, 24 KO) is not a blue chipper in a traditional sense, perhaps. This is not a Floyd Mayweather or a Sugar Ray Leonard. But he has a lot going for him. He's really young, for one thing, which will give him time to overcome the deficiencies he has. He's not a perfect-looking young fighter by any means. But he's a fighter. He was rocked bad by Jose Miguel Cotto (31-2-1, 23 KO) last night in the first round, but came back with a lot of fury and showed he can mix it up. Cotto may be small for a welterweight, but his hands have some sock in them.
After it settled down following the first two rounds, Alvarez mostly took the fight over, and eventually stopped him (arguably a bit early) with a big barrage in the ninth round. There's a ferocity to the way he fights, a real hunger evident in him. He wants to be one of the best. This isn't Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., this is a kid born to fight. I think Alvarez would fight anyone they told him to next, but of course Golden Boy will be smart and bring him along. But if they told him to fight Pacquiao, I think he would. He wouldn't do well, but he's got some sand.
Team Cotto sent out a press release announcing that Jose Miguel Cotto has signed a deal with Golden Boy Promotions after last night's fight and that Golden Boy has plans for him at 140 pounds. They may well just see him as a guy that Amir Khan, Nate Campbell or Victor Ortiz could fight, but that's hardly a bad position for JMC. Cotto can fight. He's been really inactive the last few years and was out of his weight class last night, but he showed some good stuff. He was happy with his performance, he said, and feels the weight was the biggest issue. At 32, it's time to get a move on. But the former Olympian has skills and might be a sleeper at 140.
Daniel Ponce de Leon UD-10 Cornelius Lock
BLH's Matt Miller remarked in one of last night's threads (they all blur together a bit for me right now) that Ponce de Leon looked good, but showed his ceiling. I couldn't have said it better. Ponce de Leon was impressive in that he boxed better than normal. But he was throwing with less intent than he used to, as well. His lefts seemed more like arm punches than they did in the past. To get better at something he stunk at (boxing), he may have sacrificed some of what made him a viable contender in the first place (raw power).
The win doesn't really elevate Ponce in my view. He's still a back-end top 10 guy at featherweight, which is one of the best divisions in the sport. He was already trounced by Juan Manuel Lopez at 122, and I can't see it changing at 126. He's also already lost to Caballero, and that wouldn't change either. Chris John may be a bit vulnerable (Rocky Juarez hurt him in both fights), but I think he'd cruise over Ponce. And then there's Yuriorkis Gamboa, who I believe would flatten Daniel in short order.
Ponce de Leon against Cristobal Cruz could be a lot of fun, though. And for Lock, this is just what it is. He's 34 years old and a gatekeeper. I think until he's a shot fighter, there's a chance that on any night he can do some damage. For that reason, it might be hard for him to get proper gatekeeper fights against rising young fighters.
Said Ouali TKO-1 Hector David Saldivia
Ouali went down, but wasn't hurt too bad. Then Saldivia really did hurt him. Then Ouali put Saldivia on his ass. Then Ouali finished him off. Two minutes of mayhem. I'll never argue with this as a PPV opener. Ouali is a welterweight fringe contender, but he gave Selcuk Aydin a decent run for his money and really knocked the crap out of Saldivia last night. The Argentinean fighters are experiencing a good run overall right now, but I wondered before the fight if Saldivia was Marcos Maidana or Walter Matthysse. We got our answer. Ouali probably guaranteed himself another Mayweather PPV slot, and the way he fights, I don't mind at all. Alvarez-Ouali might make sense by the end of the year, even.