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Blog: Canelo Alvarez stops Josesito Lopez in the fifth round

Canelo knocks down opponent three times before TKO finish

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Canelo Alvarez salutes the crowd after his fifth-round TKO of Josesito Lopez during their WBC super welterweight championship fight Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Updated Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 | 9:23 p.m.

Canelo Defeats Lopez

Canelo Alvarez connects with a left to the head of Josesito Lopez during their WBC super welterweight championship fight Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Alvarez kept his belt with a fifth-round TKO. Launch slideshow »

To prove he was truly deserving of all the hype leveled his way, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez needed to outclass Josesito Lopez severely Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It was a tall task, but one that Alvarez proved he was up to. After dropping Lopez three times in four rounds, Alvarez finished off his overmatched opponent with 10 seconds remaining in the fifth round.

The referee mercifully stepped in after Lopez took several shots and appeared out on his feet.

“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 — to finish business. I’m not usually looking for the knockout, but this was perfect tonight.”

Alvarez outlanded Lopez 140-89. The 22-year old Mexican stayed undefeated by converting on 52 percent of his punches thrown. Lopez, who was fighting two divisions up in weight class, landed only 32 percent.

Canelo hurt Lopez the first two times with body shots, but was able to find success with whatever he wanted.

“I knew he was a tough fighter and he proved it,” Lopez said. “He’s the better fighter.”

Check back to lasvegassun.com later for full coverage of Canelo vs. Alvarez and find live round-by-round coverage below.

Fifth round Lopez won't quit as he meets Canelo in the middle and lets his hands go. But Alvarez's strength is in another class, as Lopez struggles to take punches for the undefeated 22-year old. Canelo looks on the verge of another knockdown with a classic body-body-head combination, but Lopez circles and recovers. Canelo just batters him on another side of the ring instead. They're back in the middle now and Lopez lands an uppercut. For every one successful punch, however, it seems like Canelo has three or four more to answer. He's pounding Lopez against the ropes and the referee steps in. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez defeats Josesito Lopez by TKO at 2:55 of the fifth round.

Fourth round Alvarez hits Lopez cleanly with an uppercut followed by a straight right. After Lopez lands a jab, Alvarez connects to the body. Lopez takes it better than before and comes forward after his back touches the ropes. Lopez tries to establish his jab, but Canelo counters almost every time. Lopez lands a combination near the midway mark, and this round is going better for him than the last two. Alvarez throws an unintentional low blow, which causes the referee to pause the action. When they re-start, Caneo controls the action until Lopez connects with an overhand right. Alvarez responds by moving forward and scoring his third knockdown of the night. Lopez is back up and the bell rings. This isn't even close. Alvarez leads 40-33 after three straight 10-8 rounds.

Third round Alvarez is careful not to punch himself out, slowly stalking Lopez at the beginning and picking his spots. Lopez swings wildly, but Canelo counters with another left hand to the body. Lopez goes down again. He's back again, but Alvarez must notice he's affected by the same punch over and over. Canelo swarms and unleashes a combination in the corner. Lopez looks woobly on his feet. His face is swelling. They lock up, but it's only a brief sanctuary for Lopez. His pounding continues. Lopez is fighting back, but Alvarez takes his shots well. Canelo dominates throughout to take another 10-8 round. He's ahead 30-25 on the Sun's scorecard.

Second Round Lopez outlands Canelo handily for the first 30 seconds and backs the Mexican star into the ropes for a combination. Alvarez seems unfazed by the multitude of shots, though. He comes back with a right hand and an uppercut that nearly evens the round. Two more left hands from Canelo land on Lopez's temple. Lopez crashes into the ropes as a Canelo combination comes through. Lopez goes to the body near the minute mark, but Canelo's power advantage is apparent. His punches are hurting Lopez more than Lopez is hurting home. Canelo presses forward and knocks Lopez down with a shot to the body. He's back up and the bell rings. Canelo takes it 10-8.

First Round Lopez strikes first with a shot to Canelo's body. Canelo comes back a few seconds later with a left hand to Lopez's chin. A combination works for Canelo, who sends Lopez retreating. Straight right followed by a shot to the body scores for Alvarez. Lopez continues to work for the body and it works this time. "Canelo" chants pick up across the crowd and Lopez lunges forward but misses with a right hand as they die down. A combination from Canelo hits Lopez cleanly. Canelo gets Lopez against the ropes for a second. Lopez is coming up empty with many of his punches, while Canelo looks sharp. It's an easy 10-9 for Canelo to get things under way.

Pre-fight

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez just wants to fight.

He’s expressed some version of that sentiment to anyone who would listen over recent months. Alvarez doesn’t care about the bout down the street on the same night overshadowing his moment. Doesn’t care about the three opponent switches. Doesn’t care that everyone says he has everything to lose and nothing to gain against Josesito Lopez.

The 22-year old undefeated Mexican phemon just wants to step into the ring for the second time of 2012. He’ll get his chance less than an hour from now in the first major headlining contest of his young career.

An upset-minded Lopez, 28, will stand across from him at the other side while the packed MGM Grand Garden Arena raises to their feet and a worldwide audience tunes in on Showtime.

Despite Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., clearly attracting more attention at the Thomas & Mack Center this evening, interest hasn’t waned in Alvarez’s welcome to the big time.

Golden Boy Promotions announced Alvarez vs. Lopez as a sellout. The concourses at MGM were packed two fights ago and now most patrons have made their way to their seats.

The crowd will be decidedly pro-Alvarez, as evidenced by the multiple Mexican flags and national garb spotted in the stands. Mexican Independence Day Weekend is always a big boxing week in Las Vegas, but especially this year with Alvarez and Chavez Jr. in main-event roles.

Alvarez has already discussed the possibility of fighting Chavez, Jr. sometime down the line. There are plenty of major fights available for the rising Canelo, but all the intriguing possibilities will wither away with a loss to Lopez.

It’s not the first time Lopez has entered an event with the massive underdog tag, It’s not even the first time this year, as the Californian broke Victor Ortiz’s jaw to win by TKO earlier three months ago.

That’s what ultimately led him to this opportunity. Let’s see if he can do anything with it.

Follow along with a round-by-round live blog of the action here at lasvegassun.com and check back later for full coverage of the bout.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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