Showtime’s “Knockout Kings” delivers on their promise

He (Saul “Canelo” Alvarez) didn’t look that big at the weigh-ins thought Josesito Lopez on Friday, September 14, 2012. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

On Saturday night, Canelo Alvarez knocked Josesito Lopez down three times en route to a dominating fifth round technical knockout defense of his WBC Super Welterweight World title in front of a sold out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Saul “Canelo” Lopez (R) is shown lowering the boom on Josesito Lopez (L), Saturday night, September 15, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Alvarez was the headliner on Showtime’s Championship Boxing series which had the nerve, the effrontery, to not only go head to head with HBO’s offering of the Martinez vs. Chavez Jr. mega fight, they had the foresight to name their show “Knockout Kings” which meant they were boldly predicting lots of fireworks – the fireworks that have boxers lying face down on the canvas. Well, the promotion lived up to its billing and produced three entertaining knockouts and not one of the scheduled 12-round bouts went past the eighth round.

Marcos Maidana (L) is shown landing a damaging left uppercut to the chin of Jesus Soto Karass (R). Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

In what surely will be considered a Fight of the Year candidate, former world champion Marcos Maidana (32-3, 29 KOs), of Jose Leon Suarez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, scored a knockout at 0:43 of the eighth round to defeat perennial contender Jesus Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KOs) of Los Angeles, CA by way of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico to capture the vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Title.

He was a big man yesterday, but boy you ought to see him now.                 Saul “Canelo” Alvarez turned pro at the age of 15. He fought as a super lightweight. Seven years and 41 successful fights later, he’s grown up and become the WBC Light Middleweight Champion of the World. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

As promised, Golden Boy Promotions awarded a $100,000 bonus to the knockout of the night, which was decided via a text-to-vote competition. In a decision that thrilled his legions of screaming fans inside the arena, Canelo was awarded the check for his performance.

President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya then made a surprise announcement and awarded each victorious fighter an additional $25,000 for their impressive showing.

Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs), of Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico, scored knockdowns in the second, third and fourth rounds before referee Joe Cortez stopped the bout at 2:55 of the fifth round when a defenseless Lopez was visibly hurt against the ropes and could not fight back.

“I’m not always looking for the knockout, but this was perfect tonight,” said Canelo. “This weekend, I had a big responsibility fighting for my fans around the world and I think I made them happy. I now want the big fights – Cotto and Mayweather.”

Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) of Riverside, CA, was impressed by Canelo’s performance. “I knew he was a tough fighter and he proved he’s a better fighter,” said Lopez. “He was smarter, stronger and patient. I felt good going in but there was a big size difference. I was hoping to land a good punch to change the momentum.”






On Saturday night’s undercard, Daniel Ponce De Leon (r) defeated Jhonny Gonzalez to capture the WBC Featherweight World title. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

In the other bouts, Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) of Colonia Cuauhtémoc, Mexico registered a technical decision victory in Round #8 of 12 over defending champion Jhonny Gonzalez (52-8-0, 45 KOs), of Mexico City, Mexico to capture the WBC Featherweight World title.

Also on this star studded undercard, you had Leo Santa Cruz (R) defending his IBF Bantamweight World title against Eric Morel (L). Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

In the opening bout of the telecast, Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KOs) of Lincoln Heights, CA by way of Huetamo, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico defended his IBF Bantamweight World Championship against former two-time world champion Eric Morel (46-4-0, 23 KOs) of Madison, Wisconsin by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico with a TKO victory in the fifth round when Morel’s corner threw in the towel.

Also on the undercard, lightweight Sergio Thompson (23-2-0, 21 KOs) of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico scored a second round TKO victory over Carlos Claudio (15-9-3, 8 KOs) of Kissimmee, Florida by way of Arroyo, Puerto Rico; light middleweight Eddie Gomez (10-0-0) of Catano, Puerto Rico by way of the Bronx, New York got a third round TKO victory over Quinton Whitaker (9-10-0, 5 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas; featherweight Andres Gutierrez (23-0-1, 19 KOs) of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico defeated Carlos Valcarcel (12-6-4, 5 KOs) of Miami, Florida by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico by an unanimous decision; and super featherweight Francisco Vargas (13-0-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico won an unanimous decision victory over Victor Sanchez (3-4-1) of Houston, Texas.

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