“This Canelo, nobody can beat this Canelo,” roared the ever-popular Mexican icon.
He had just convincingly thrashed Jermell Charlo on the scorecards, dropping the Houston man with a big right hand in the seventh before claiming a wide decision 119-108 on one card and by 118-109 on the other two.
Canelo scored his 60th victory, against two losses and two draws. He has won 39 inside the distance.
Charlo lost for just the second time in his now 35-2-1 (19) career, and he did so daring to be great by jumping up two weight classes, leaving 154lbs, where he was the undisputed champion, to challenge the undisputed king at super-middleweight (168lbs).
“I’m a strong fighter, I’m a strong man,” Canelo charged afterwards, when asked if size was the difference. “Nobody beats Canelo. We worked on going for the body, he’s a great fighter, he knows how to move in the ring. I love boxing so fucking much. Boxing is my life. Boxing made me the person I am today. I love boxing that much because of my fans, too. Thank you.”
Charlo wants to return to 154lbs, where he hopes there could be a fight with Terence Crawford waiting for him.
“I feel like I wasn’t me in there,” Charlo said. “I don’t make excuses. It is what it is. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some… You can feel the difference in the weight, I jumped up 14lbs. He hit me with some hard shots, I got some of mine off. I want to fight Terence Crawford.”
The T-Mobile was a pro-Mexico cauldron. Throughout the contest were the three syllable chants of Ca-ne-lo and Mex-i-co, and at times they bordered on ear-splitting.
As you might have expected, nothing really happened in the opener. Canelo swiped and missed with a left hook but looked bullish, while Charlo – understandably – seemed apprehensive. The Mexican managed to track Charlo to the ropes a couple of times and fire off right hands but Charlo took them on the gloves.
Referee Harvey Dock had little to do throughout all 12 rounds.
Canelo, in purple shorts with yellow trim, got through early in the second and the signs were ominous for the man from Houston. Canelo was controlling the distance, dictating the pace and looked more imposing with his punches.
Charlo, in glittery black trunks, was twitchy, but he was not adventurous.
The three syllable Canelo chants were thunderous in the third. Charlo claimed Canelo in close a couple of times, once after shipping a right hand. And while Charlo had some neat successes on the back foot near the end of the round, he landed nothing that troubled the super-middleweight king unduly.
Canelo thumped in some jabs to open his account in the fourth. He hooked downstairs and then up top and any shots that came back his way were little more than irritants.
The Mexican idol then thudded home a right hand, and while he took a left hook as a receipt moments later, Canelo’s was the bigger shot of the two. Canelo was not throwing much in combination, but everything he did throw was hard; single left hooks, solid jabs, big right hands. And there was never much time between the delivery of the blows.
Charlo enjoyed his best round of the fight in the fifth. Although Canelo reached around his guard and helped himself to a left hook in the early going, the Houston champion fired back with a left hook and right hand that got Canelo’s attention if not his respect.
Jermell subsequently popped Canelo’s head back with several rights and left hooks. Would he pay for his incredulity or was he warming into it?
The answer was neither, really.
Although the fighters did not land much in a quieter sixth, that didn’t stop the crowd eating up the occasion and noisily bubbling to a boil. The cheers and shrieks for the Mexican reverberated loudly through the T-Mobile and Canelo responded near the end of the session with enough work to earn the round.
Early in the seventh, Canelo followed Charlo into the ropes and the Texan stopped still long enough for Canelo to fire a right hand over the top. Instantly it had Charlo in dire straits and as Canelo shaped to let shots fly behind it, Charlo sunk to a knee.
The crowd exploded. Charlo scrambled back to his feet but the fans pleaded with Canelo to close the show. He didn’t, but for the Mexican fans the show happily went on.
It’s worth mentioning here that Canelo’s left hook to the body, so often a feature of his attack, had been regularly deployed through the fight, and he swiped away with a couple only seconds apart trying to take Charlo’s legs away from him to make him an easier target.
This might not be a prime Canelo, but the performance was better than we had seen in his three previous fights. How much of that was down to Charlo and facing someone who competes two divisions lower, only time will tell.
Canelo was imperious. Charlo’s infrequent bursts were never enough to even win him rounds, let alone change the trajectory of a one-sided fight.
Canelo won the 10th big. Despite having trainer Derrick James and former champ Joan Guzman in his corner, very little Charlo was doing was working. Occasionally his speed would catch Canelo out, like when Canelo seemed a little too emboldened with his success in round 10, but the Charlo punches were like bugs flying off a windshield.
Credit to Charlo for not folding nor breaking, but what he was trying in round one didn’t work and the same thing still applied through the 11th. It was a landslide.
Fans started to make their way to the exits through the last round. Canelo didn’t look like being able to put the exclamation point on his dominance, and Charlo deserves credit for that. Charlo also deserves credit for taking the fight, stepping up two divisions in his pursuit of greatness. Sure, he was well compensated, but he made no argument at the negotiating table. He earned the chance, brought his four belts and took his shot. It was not to be. Canelo was not just too big. He was too good.
Sure, questions had been asked of Canelo after he failed to dazzle, losing against Dmitrii Bivol and then outpointing Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder. He claimed it was because of a damaged left hand, and there was no sign the damaged left mitt was a factor as he fired power shots from start to finish.
Charlo was making a huge jump in class, having beaten the likes of Tony Harrison and Brian Castano, but Canelo was on another level to Charlo’s previous victims.
Fans will hope David Benavidez could be next, but Canelo would not name names about whom he hopes to fight.
Of his future plans, he shouted: “Cinco De Mayo…. Whoever. I don’t care. I don’t fucking care.”