The fight opened the televised portion of the huge Mayweather v Canelo card, with murmurings of a possible world title opportunity for Theophane if successful. But this was a massive ask - Cano's last two fights have been narrow 12 round points losses to Shane Mosley and Paulie Malignaggi. In contrast, since losing the British light welterweight title to Darren Hamilton in May last year, Theophane had fought only twice, against much lowlier opposition. This would be his first fight of 2013.
Cano (10st 1lbs 8oz) was powerful and dictated things in the first round with Theophane (10st 2lbs) fighting on the back foot and trying to get his jab going. The Londoner had a much better second, outmanoeuvring the Mexican somewhat, but it was already evident that Theophane would be unable to match Cano for power - he was being forced back by much heavier shots, and shipped a big right hand early in the third which rendered him passive as Cano chased him down and looked to inflict more damage. Little came back from the Londoner, and a left hook shook him and forced him onto the ropes towards the end of the round.
Theophane regrouped, and his higher workrate made the fourth much closer, but the Mexican increased his efforts in the last minute of the round and put Theophane under considerable pressure again.
After a good start to the fifth, a solid right hook dipped Theophane's legs, but he avoided Cano's follow-ups and eventually responded later in the round. After Theophane's corner told him he was losing the fight, he began to load up with punches in the sixth, trying to match Cano's power with partial successes until Cano's counter-jab caused Theophane problems later in the round.
A more composed Theophane shaded the seventh and eighth rounds, and he was clawing his way back into the fight, but had a torrid time again in the ninth when Cano found him with a right and piled on the pressure in the last minute. Some very low punches from Cano should have prompted a warning, and could have seen a point taken off.
Both put a good effort in the closer and while Theophane's work was prettier, Cano was much heavier handed, which was the story throughout the fight. One judge, somewhat inexplicably, scored the fight 96-94 in Theophane's favour, with the other two scoring 97-93 and 98-92. BoxRec News had it 97-93 for Cano.
The fight opened up the TV broadcast of the massive Mayweather v Alvarez card, in which Lil' Floyd gave the considerably younger and much heavier Canelo a thorough boxing lesson. Before that, however, Cano's display against Theophane handed the Mexican fans something to cheer about, and won't do his chances of another crack at a world title any harm. For Theophane, that's a now a long shot, but he's a determined fighter and one should never say never in boxing.
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