Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez claimed it is now his “era” after outlasting Miguel Cotto to become the new WBC middleweight champion in Las Vegas.
Alvarez emerged victorious via a unanimous points decision in an entertaining fight that went the full 12 rounds on Saturday.
The Mexican’s brute strength was rewarded by the judges as they scored the fight in favour of Alvarez 117-111, 119-109, 118-110.
And Alvarez said he was thrilled with the victory against the Puerto Rican legend.
“It’s an emotion I can’t put into words,” Alvarez said through a translator. “I’m very happy, and much respect to Miguel Cotto. I will always respect him and he’s a great champion, but now it’s my era.
“I was fully prepared for what Cotto was going to do in the ring, whether that was take a defense stance or be the aggressor.
“It’s a great victory for me; not just for me, but for all of my country, for all my people, and especially for my team.
“I have a great trainer [Eddy Reynoso]. He brought me here from nothing. I didn’t even know what a jab was. That I’m at this level shows the quality of my trainer.”
Cotto put in an admirable effort but did not conduct a post-fight interview following the drama surrounding the sanctioning fee on Tuesday, in which he was stripped of his belt by the WBC.
“We thought it was much closer than the scorecards showed,” said Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, who is Cotto’s trainer. “It was a competitive fight. Miguel’s defense was unbelievable all night long.”
Alvarez must now face interim titleholder Gennady Golovkin, and the Mexican is not afraid of the Kazakhstani.
“I’m not afraid of any fighter. GGG is a great fighter, and he is my friend,” Alvarez said.
“I have respect for him, but if we do fight it’s going to be at my [natural] weight class [of junior middleweight]. I’m the champion. I don’t have to do what he wants.
“With all due respect, if he wants to fight right now, I’ll put the gloves on and fight him.”