Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez recorded a unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto to win the WBC middleweight title at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas on Saturday.
In what was latest installment in the boxing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico, the 25-year-old Alvarez took the fight an opponent 10 years his senior from the opening bell and never relinquished his advantage.
The Mexican landed big right hands and uppercuts with regularity and while the veteran Cotto's ring-craft ensured his had his moments throughout; Alvarez was the clear winner on everyone's scorecards.
The official judges' scores were 117-11, 119-109 and 118-110, while the Associated Press adjudged Alvarez a 116-112 winner.
Canelo's victory means a unification bout with WBA, IBF and interim WBC champion Gennady Golovkin – who was watching at ringside – is on the horizon.
Alvarez won the title that Cotto had vacated last week for not paying sanctioning fees, after the WBC ordered the winner of Saturday's fight to take on the 33-year-old from Kazakhstan.
"It's an emotion I can't put into words," Alvarez said. "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."
"We thought it was much closer than the scorecards showed," said Cotto's trainer, Freddie Roach. "It was a competitive fight."
Whilst the fight was for the 160-pound title, it was actually fought at a 155-pound catchweight. The Mexican weighed in at exactly that on Friday, but appeared bigger than Cotto – who weighed in at 153.5 – after rehydrating.
Cotto threw 629 punches to the 484 of Alvarez, but landed only 155, while Alvarez connected with 129 punches which seemed far more significant.
The first couple of rounds took place at a sedate pace, as Cotto attempted to use his movement to gstay at range and away from Alvarez's power – a strategy that proved reasonably successful at times. Nevertheless, by the third round, Alvarez started to land some of his bigger punches and took control of the fight.
The action picked up significantly from the eighth round, with both fighters trading blows, but Alvarez continued to land the harder shots – his uppercut proving particularly successful.
With the victory Alvarez improved his career record to 46-1-1, his only defeat coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.