Alvarez Shows Growth in Stopping Cintron

By Nat Gottlieb

Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

There are at least three things you can say about Canelo Alvarez after his fifth-round TKO of former champion Kermit Cintron Saturday night: He is still unbeaten, still an alphabet champion and still untested.

The 32-year-old Cintron was supposed to be a step-up fight for Alvarez, but the Puerto Rican, while game, was clearly a shadow of himself as he took a steady, patient beating from the red-haired young fighter. What seemed inevitable fifth-round stoppage thrilled a big crowd in a Mexican bull ring but left many questions unanswered. Namely, just how good can this 21-year-old prodigy, who began fighting at 15, become?

Read More at HBO.com

CompuBox Analysis: Canelo Alvarez vs Kermit Cintron

By CompuBox

Although Saul Alvarez is 38-0-1 (28 KO) and will be making the third defense of his WBC super welterweight title against Kermit Cintron, many still consider "Canelo" a work in progress. After all, the 21-year-old is boxing's youngest champion and the only one born in the 1990s.

Will Alvarez brighten his star with a victory over the seasoned Cintron or will the Puerto Rican become a two-division titlist and turn Alvarez's star into a black hole? Only they can answer those questions, but their respective CompuBox histories offer these factors:

> Read more CompuBox analysis of Canelo Alvarez vs Kermit Cintron on HBO.com

Styles Make Fights: Pacquiao, Marquez, Mayweather and More …

By Kieran Mulvaney

In the wake of Manny Pacquiao’s controversial win over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday, promoter Bob Arum underlined the old boxing adage that ‘styles make fights.’ He reminded media at the post-fight press conference that George Foreman thumped Joe Frazier both times they fought, Frazier went nip-and-tuck three times with Muhammad Ali, but Ali took apart Foreman. So what, if anything, does that mean for the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry, any upcoming HBO clashes and, down the road, a possible Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather superfight?

Pacquiao-Marquez

Photo Credit: Will HartThe third fight underlined what had been well established by the previous two: that Marquez and Pacquiao have each other’s number. Marquez is sufficiently effective to nullify Pacquiao’s strengths, but his style in doing so is unlikely ever to be enough to render him an obvious winner. He is at his best when his opponent comes at him, enabling him to return fire with counterpunching combinations. That can disrupt his foe’s aggression, but sometimes a reliance on sitting back and waiting for your opponent to make his move first, no matter how effective, can make it difficult to clearly elevate yourself over him, at least in the eyes of the judges.

Upcoming HBO Fights

Photo Credit: Ed MulhollandWhat can the ‘styles make fights’ dictum tell us about upcoming HBO matchups? Frankly, that the bouts may be more closely-fought than is immediately apparent. Both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Saul Alvarez enter their contests as big favorites over Peter Manfredo Jr and Kermit Cintron respectively. But both Mexican fighters are more comfortable against opponents who are there to be hit and willing to exchange, and while Manfredo does not have the quick hands of Sebastian Zbik, who gave Chavez all he could handle recently, he doesn’t have clay feet like Andy Lee, whom JCC Jr sent into retirement last year. And if Alvarez can have early-round problems against blown-up welterweight Alfonso Gomez, he could be in a world of hurt against Cintron – who, as Alfredo Angulo can testify, can be surprisingly dangerous when allowed to box and move. Conversely, Cintron has been known to fold mentally under pressure of the sort Alvarez brings. It all promises genuine intrigue …

Pacquiao-Mayweather

Photo Credit: Ed MulhollandMarquez is a counter-puncher. Mayweather is a counter-puncher. But they are different sides of a similar coin. Marquez thrives on being attacked and responding with flurries; Mayweather seeks to stymie his foe’s offense entirely and pick his man apart with lightning-fast solo punches. Will that have the same effect against Pacquiao as JMM’s counter-combinations? As the dust settles over the coming weeks and months, we should learn whether or not we will soon have the chance to find out for sure, the only way that matters: In the ring.

Sergio Martinez vs. Darren Barker Preview: On KOs, Seen and Unseen

By Kieran Mulvaney

Left Photo: Will HartA round may last three minutes between rings of the timekeeper’s bell, but punches can come flying at any time. Hence boxing’s primary injunction to protect yourself at all times. It was a lesson young Victor Ortiz learned last Saturday at the readied hands of Floyd Mayweather, and one that British fighter Paul Samuels would likely impress on anyone who listened.

In 2006, middleweight Samuels, a ten-year veteran on the comeback trail after three years out of the ring, cracked his undefeated young opponent halfway through the opening round with a right hand to the temple. His foe’s legs briefly disappeared from under him; he touched the canvas with his gloves, but swiftly leapt back into the vertical position and, before referee Dave Parris could step in to call the knockdown, uncorked a left hand that landed flush on Samuel’s jaw and knocked him out cold.

That undefeated young opponent was Darren Barker. On October 1, slightly more than five years on from that brief but memorable contest, Barker steps onto his biggest stage yet when he confronts world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Like Barker and Mayweather, Martinez possesses his own highlight reel knockout, but there was nothing controversial about the left hand that blitzed Paul Williams, also at Boardwalk Hall, eleven months ago. It was a thing of beauty to most, yet from Williams’ perspective, it was unleashed from the very depths of hell, a blow of lightning speed and immeasurable force that sent Williams down face first onto the canvas, his eyes wide open but sending no signals to his unconscious form.

There are many things that can be said about Sergio Martinez: that his success is all the more remarkable given his late start to the sport, that he is fighting more consistently at a higher level against a higher caliber of opponent than just about anyone else in the sport, or that he is ridiculously and enviably good-looking. As much as all of those, though, is this: The man can flat-out punch.

So great is his punching power, in fact, that when he floored Kermit Cintron for the count in February 2009, Cintron refused to believe it. He simply couldn’t accept that a man could hit him that hard, and so forcefully and persuasively did his argue his case that referee Frank Santore Jr. accepted the assertion that the concussive blow must have been delivered by way of a head butt and, after a confusing delay, allowed the contest to continue. Having dodged a proverbial bullet, Cintron made it to the end of twelve rounds, but promptly ducked a second incoming projectile when what appeared a clear Martinez win was adjudged to have been a draw – making Martinez possibly the only man in boxing history to have won the same bout twice without being awarded a victory.

He’s unlikely to need three, or even two, bites of the cherry against Barker, who will come to fight but seems likely to find himself outgunned. It seems reasonable to assume that Barker will at least, unlike Ortiz, keep his hands up at all times.

Whether that will be enough to save him from joining the likes of knockout victims Ortiz, Samuels, and Paul Williams is a different matter.

Trading Shots: Raskin & Mulvaney Play the Percentages

By Eric Raskin

CompuBox has compiled an innovative new data set for HBO.com, ranking active fighters according to a “+/-” stat derived from their offensive and defensive connect percentages over their last five fights. HBO.com’s Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney stepped away from the free media buffet long enough to huddle up in the MGM Grand press room and dissect what the numbers mean and how they might impact several upcoming bouts:

Raskin: The first thing that jumps out at me, Kieran, is that Floyd Mayweather’s score of +30 is more than double the next closest figure. Does this surprise you? And does it make a case that he’s the best boxer in the business?

Mulvaney: What’s interesting to me is that he is number one in both columns. It isn’t a surprise that opponents have a lower connect percentage against him than against anyone, but it’s very interesting that his own connect percentage is so high. It shows how precise, how selective, and how smart he is with his punches.

Raskin: I notice you avoided my question about whether these numbers suggest he might be boxing’s best, and I’m not letting you duck that one. If there’s another surprise on here, it’s that Manny Pacquiao is only a +8. What do you make of that?

Mulvaney: I do think Mayweather is the bext boxer, if not necessarily the best fighter, of this generation. I’m not terribly surprised by Pacquiao’s numbers; he’s always taken one to land one, which is one reason why fans love him.

Read More