Canelo Alvarez earns split decision

So while Lara still holds his belt, Alvarez gets the glory of the victory against the fighter who insulted him time and again during his attempt to land the fight, and then throughout the promotion.

Lara said he would take Alvarez "to Cuban boxing school," but that never materialized.

"If this is a school of boxing, that's a poor school," said Chepo Reynoso, Alvarez's trainer.

Lara spent much of the fight running from Alvarez. He put his back against the ropes time and again and slid along them around the ring as Alvarez chased after him and ultimately scored his most significant victory.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Alvarez landed 97 of 415 punches (23 percent), including 73 percent of his power shots to the body, and Lara connected on 107 of 386 blows (28 percent). Alvarez's shots were clearly heavier as he attacked, attacked and attacked.

In the first round, he landed a right hand to the body that sent Lara into the ropes, and he never stopped going after him. When he landed an overhand right in the second round, the crowd erupted with chants of "Canelo! Canelo! Canelo!"

Alvarez, who earned at least $1.5 million plus a share of the pay-per-view profits, also landed a lot of hard body punches, hoping to slow Lara down and get him to stand still and fight. But Lara, who made a career-high $1 million, wanted no part of that. He virtually sprinted around the ring often and threw his punches off his back foot.

"He hit me with some body shots but those things had no force. They had nothing on them," Lara said.

Lara's track meet style was frustrating to watch, but not for Alvarez.

"I wasn't frustrated," Alvarez said. "I came to pressure him and that's what I did."

Lara managed to land a few stiff straight left hands, which raised swelling around Alvarez's right eye in about the fourth round.

Alvarez had been trying to land an uppercut and finally nailed Lara with one in the seventh round that cut him over his right eye; Lara immediately dabbed at the blood.

"No, the cut didn't bother me," Lara said. "This is not baseball, this is boxing and it happens."

A body shot in the eighth round buckled Lara against the ropes as he began to slow down.

In the 10th round it was more of the same with Canelo chasing Lara around, but he did land an uppercut as Lara was backing up into the ropes.

"You're always worried about a boxer who is literally running," De La Hoya said. "Lara is an excellent boxer, he's a very dangerous boxer. I respect him because his ability to not engage in a fight is probably the best in boxing."

Alvarez was going for a knockout in the 12th round as he came out blasting. He landed a hard right hand that ignited the crowd and continued to pressure Lara. But Lara responded with a clean right hand in one of the most action-packed sequences of the fight as the crowd chanted for Alvarez again.

After the fight, Lara continued with the same disrespect toward Alvarez that he showed before the fight.

"I didn't respect him before the fight and that hasn't changed," he said. "I don't respect him now. I want a rematch."

De La Hoya said Alvarez would return to action in November, although who he will face is unclear. A potential showdown with Cotto could happen next spring, but is unlikely for this year. Big puncher James Kirkland could be an option.

There's plenty of time to figure out what's next.

"Right now I'm just gonna enjoy my birthday," Alvarez said.

"He's gonna enjoy his 24th birthday next week and then we'll sit down with his team next week," De La Hoya said. "I will fly to Mexico and talk to him about it."

One thing you can take to the bank is that Alvarez won't be facing Lara again.

"I'll give him the rematch," Alvarez said mockingly, "when he learns how to fight."

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