Canelo Alvarez hammers overmatched, undersized Josesito Lopez for dominant fifth-round TKO win

LAS VEGAS — Two words summed up Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"Canelo's badass."

Those were the words out of Josesito Lopez’s mouth after lasting only five rounds in the ring with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in front of a sold out crowd of 14,275.

That 22-year-old redheaded "badass" completely dominated Lopez, who was looking for his second major upset in three months. Alvarez knocked down Lopez in Rounds 2-4 and was on his way to his fourth knockdown before referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight at 2:55 in the fifth.

"I'm really happy about this win," Alvarez said. "I felt very good. Josesito has a big heart and is very brave, but I came in and did what I had to do and finished business. I'm not usually looking for the knockout but this was perfect tonight."

In addition to the win and his $2 million purse, Alvarez walked away with an additional $100,000 from Golden Boy Promotions for knockout of the night as voted on by the fans.

Lopez found himself in a fight against Alvarez after his June upset of Victor Ortiz at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Coming into the fight, Lopez, who was moving up from welterweight to challenge for Alvarez's WBC super welterweight title, knew his size disadvantage would likely work against him and it was evident from the moment the two men stepped into the ring. Alvarez was clearly the bigger fighter and Lopez couldn’t handle his punching power.

"I knew he was a tough fighter and he proved it," Lopez said. "I felt good going in but the size was a big difference. I was hoping to land good punches but he was smarter, strong and patient. I was looking to land a punch and change the momentum."

Following a low blow by Alvarez in Round 4, Lopez did land a series of punches on Alvarez but it changed the momentum in the wrong direction. With Lopez trapped in the corner, Alvarez connected on a flurry of punches, capped off by a right hand to the jaw that put the 12-to-1 underdog on his back for the third time on the evening.

Alvarez landed 52 percent of his total punches (140 of 269) and 64 percent of his power punches (104 of 162) compared to Lopez, who landed only 32 percent of his punches (89 of 279) and 40 percent of his power punches (57 for 141).

Despite showing little in the ring, Lopez felt the fight was stopped prematurely.

"I didn’t want the fight stopped," Lopez said. "I wanted to continue in there. I felt like I could have done a little more."

Lopez's trainer disagreed with his fighter's assessment.

"I didn’t have a problem with it," Lopez's trainer Henry Ramirez said. "I had told Jose that if he didn’t show me something after the fourth round that I was going to stop it. He had a pretty decent fifth round but I didn't have a problem with the stoppage."

After the fight, both fighters appeared to be headed on opposite paths. Lopez said he wanted to move back to 147 while Alvarez is ready to step up the competition at 154 in his next outing.

"I want the big fights now," Alvarez said. "[Miguel] Cotto, [Floyd] Mayweather. I'll fight them all."

In the fight of the night and one of the best battles of the year to date, Marcos Maidana won a testy slugfest over Jesus Soto Karass. The two corners nearly got involved in their own fight at the end of Round 3 when Maidana punched Soto Karass multiple times after the bell. The animosity carried over into Round 4 as both fighters were deducted one point by referee Kenny Bayless for punching out of the breaks and Maidana was deducted an additional point in Round 7 for a low blow. In the end, Maidana, known for his crowd pleasing, aggressive style, was too much for Soto Karass as Bayless called an end to the fight at 0:43 mark in Round 8.

"I didn't care when they took away the points," Maidana said. "I knew I would come back. I knew he was going to be tough but I knew I could win."

In what turned out to be a disappointing fight, Daniel Ponce de Leon defeated Jhonny Gonzalez in a unanimous technical decision to win the WBC featherweight title. Ponce de Leon delivered his second inadvertent head butt of the evening in Round 8, opening up a nasty cut over Gonzalez's eye and forcing Bayless to call an end to the fight. Ponce de Leon was battling with a cut of his own on his head, which he suffered as a result of a head butt in Round 2.

Leo Santa Cruz kept his undefeated record (21-0-1) intact with a fifth round stoppage over Puerto Rican veteran Eric Morel. The 24-year-old Santa Cruz overwhelmed Morel with body punches and might have forced him into retirement in the process.

"I wasn't expecting that kind of pressure," Morel said. "The constant pressure got to me. I don't know if I'm going to fight anymore."

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