Abner Mares floored defending champion Jesus Cuellar and won a split decision to earn the WBA featherweight title Saturday night in Los Angeles. Mares (30-2-1, 15 KO’s) had the upper hand in a fast-paced fight that thrilled the fans at the Galen Center on the USC campus.
Cuellar (28-2, 21 KO’s) put together a good stretch in the middle rounds where he was able to back Mares up at times and make it a close fight. But, the game-changer came in the 11th when Mares caught Cuellar on the way in with a big right hand the scored a knockdown.
Official scores were 117-110 and 116-111 for Mares while one judge scored it 115-112 for Cuellar. The Mares scores correctly reflected who won the fight and by how much.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision Saturday night, further staking his claim to be the best fighter in the post-Mayweather world. Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KO’s) turned back a strong attack from Cotto (40-5-0, 33 KO’s) and won by comfortable margins of 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111.
InTheCorner.net had it a little closer at 116-112 for Alvarez.
It was a very interesting fight, worthy of the pay-per-view buildup, with Cotto attacking and moving, at time controlling the fight, while Alvarez countered well. Neither fighter was in serious trouble but it was an action fight throughout.
Down the stretch, Cotto’s attack was unable to sustain any effectiveness and Alvarez finished well.
Both fighters’ resumes feature some of the biggest names in the sport. While Cotto has lost three of his last six fights, all against big-name opposition, Alvarez continues his run that was only slowed down by a decision loss to Mayweather in 2013. This was a fight where Alvarez was too young and strong for the aging Cotto, who did nothing to embarrass himself.
Deontay Wilder outclassed Bermane Stiverne over 12 rounds Saturday night to lift the WBC heavyweight title by unanimous decision. Wilder (33-0, 32 KO’s) dropped the now-former champion at the end of round two, though it was not ruled a knockdown, and controlled the fight thereafter. Official scores were 120-107, 119-108 and 118-109.
InTheCorner.net scored the fight 116-111 for Wilder, eight rounds to four, with one two-point round.
The fight started slowly, despite the widespread expectation of a firefight, and business didn’t pick up till the waning seconds of round two. With Wilder controlling the action behind a solid jab and good movement, he connected with power shots that rocked Stiverne in the final seconds. Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KO’s), wobbled forward and slipped as Wilder moved back towards a corner to try to get more punching room. Several power shots landed and Stiverne went down as the bell sounded and referee Tony Weeks ruled it was not a knockdown. All three judges scored the round 10-8 for Wilder, however.