SAUL ‘CANELO’ ALVAREZ’S team didn’t want him to take this fight and they have must feared the worst as the scores were being announced. With each fighter collecting a nod from the opening two cards, Cuba’s Erislandy Lara stood on the ropes in preparation for the final tally, arms aloft and expecting to be named the split decision winner.

But it was Alvarez, the more aggressive during battle, who was declared the victor, much to the delight of the majority in attendance in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. The flame-haired Mexican triumphed via scores of 113-115, 115-113, and a too-wide 117-111.

“I came to fight,” Alvarez said. “I didn’t come to run. You don’t win by running, you win by hitting. He definitely has a great jab, but you don’t win a fight by running. He just ran. I wanted to leave a good taste in the mouths of fan fans and I came to fight.”

Lara certainly moved a lot. Agile and elusive, the Cuban definitely paid the price for his lack of aggression despite out-landing Alvarez 107 t0 97 according to the punch stats.

“I think 100 percent I won the fight,” Lara said. “I was totally in control. It didn’t seem like he was doing anything. I know one thing: I made him look bad in front of all his people.”

The contest did little to soothe the bad feeling between the pair with both frustrated by the other. The two fighters, however, deserve credit. Alvarez showed lessons had been learned from his loss to Floyd Mayweather, as he cut off the ring in an effort to pin down his slippery foe after being dominated over the first three rounds. Lara should take pleasure from the fact he is one of the toughest men in boxing to defeat. Paul Williams is the only other man to beat him, and that too, was controversially.

Despite the close nature of this fight, you can bet there won’t be a rematch. Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, spoke of Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, and Gennady Golovkin as future rivals. Not surprisingly, there was no talk of fighting a fleet-footed, fast handed boxer. Even though he won this time, Alvarez has certainly had his fill of those.