SAN ANTONIO — It's one thing to talk.
The great ones back it up.
In avenging his brother's loss and letting his fists fly against a respected, defense-based, unbeaten world champion, Mexico's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez unified the super-welterweight division Saturday night by defeating Austin Trout by decision.
Before a massive Alamodome crowd that saw Trout knocked down for the first time in his career in the seventh round, the 22-year-old Alvarez (42-0-1) was given a unanimous decision by scores of 115-112, 116-111 and 118-109.
After adding the World Boxing Assn. belt to his World Boxing Council title, Alvarez dedicated the victory to his brother, Rigoberto, who lost a decision to Trout two years ago.
"I was smart," Alvarez said in the ring afterward. "Little by little, I figured out how to fight him. I was connecting with my right and my jab.
"I learned a lot from this fight."
While statistics showed Trout (26-1) landed 154 punches to Alvarez's 124 and out-jabbed him by a 59-28 margin, Alvarez's power proved decisive.
Although he managed just a 96-95 edge in power blows, the Mexican clearly hurt Trout at times with blows to the belly, chest and face.
Trout was backed to the ropes in the third and fifth rounds, then was floored early in the seventh by a straight right to the chin. Trout endured the round on shaky legs.
"He caught me with his best shot, there's nothing else I can say," Trout said.
Employing a sometimes fierce jab and remaining active (769 punches to Alvarez's 431), Trout kept the bout competitive as he tried to follow up his December upset of Miguel Cotto in New York.
But Alvarez fought like it was his show, shuffling his feet, bobbing his head to dodge punches and then landing a hard left to Trout's head in the ninth.
"He was better than me, I have no excuses," Trout said.
Alvarez also gained a huge popularity boost by opting to fight in San Antonio rather than participate on the undercard of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. event in Las Vegas next month without the security of a promised next fight.
"Of course I want Mayweather next," Alvarez said.
Trout and his team were unhappy with the condition of the ring mat during a pre-fight inspection.
Complaining that the canvas was "spongy" and "like running in quicksand," the Trout camp asserted that not altering the mat gave Alvarez an advantage due to Trout's tendency to punch and escape.
The bout, coinciding with the Fiesta San Antonio civic event, drew 39,247 to the Alamodome and promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions said he expects to make the city at least an annual stop based on the turnout.
The main event was preceded by a lightweight bout between unbeatens Abner Cotto and Omar Figueroa, who scored a first-round knockout.
Cotto, the cousin of former world champion Miguel, was swarmed by fan-favorite Figueroa (21-0-1, 17 knockouts) of Weslaco, Texas. Figueroa knocked down Cotto (16-1) two minutes into the fight with a hard left to the body and right to the head.
"I knew he was hurt, I could tell my body shots hurt him," Figueroa said. "So I was waiting for the next opportunity."
Figueroa struck Cotto in the head again, then delivered a defining wicked left to the gut that dropped his opponent.
Cotto didn't rise, the bout ending with three seconds remaining in the first round as Miguel said to Schaefer, "Wow! What a puncher."