Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez came through his non-title super welterweight clash with Cuba’s Erislandy Lara at the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday after winning a split decision.
It was the Mexican’s second consecutive victory since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr last year, although it proved a largely frustrating night for the 23-year-old.
As expected, southpaw Lara spent much of the night on his toes, looking to make his rival miss and, for the most part, achieved his objective.
Alvarez swung with several wild shots early on and it wasn’t until the fourth that he began to successfully cut down the ring and find him.
Even then, Lara’s continuous movement meant there was little trading between the two with the pro-Alvarez crowd registering their frustration by the halfway point as they booed the Cuban.
Alavrez did open a cut above Lara’s eye with a left uppercut in the seventh, but as the Mexican continued to chase him to take further advantage in the closing rounds Lara had some success with counter lefts.
At the final bell both men raised their arms, but it was Alvarez who was given the nod on the cards as he claimed 115-113 and 117-111 verdicts, with Lara getting the other 115-113.
The Cuban could scarely believe the result, saying afterwards: “"Everyone knows I won the fight, no matter what they say. I didn't respect him before the fight and that hasn't changed. I don't respect him now."
However, Alvarez countered that view, stating: "You don't win by running, you win by hitting. You don't win a fight like that."
"I wanted to leave a good taste in the mouth of my fans. I came to fight, he came to run."