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Canelo Moves To 168

Although a great in his own right, the quality of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez' most recent fights leaves questions unanswered.

Escapes Hungry Andrade and Charlo At Middleweight

Since his completely one-sided defeat to all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr. on September 13 2014, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has still somehow ascended to almost legendary status and amassed a resume that spans from the impressive down to the sub-mediocre. You can’t overlook Canelo’s accomplishments to judge his legacy, especially at a time when his accomplishments are beginning to fade compared to those of his contemporaries; his signature win in the rematch over GGG becomes diminished every time Golovkin fights. Kazakh Thunder, once sharp and cracklingly menacingly close overhead, now has faded to muffled grumbles seemingly from beyond the nearby hilltops.

Alvarez’ fights against Callum Smith, Avni Yildrim, and Rocky Fielding weren’t his most impressive to spectate, but there was never any real expecation among fight fans that they would be. The Danny Jacobs fight was a much more exciting bout to watch, but since Canelo somehow negotiated such a lucrative deal with DAZN, he’s being paid so much that you’d think he’d be forced by the contract to face more challenges in all his fights.

But he wasn’t, so it doesn’t look like he’ll actually have to; even though the fans want to see him against Charlo, Spence, Derevyanchenko, and Benevidez, Canelo has transcended the tribulations of the sport in the eyes of bigger interests to become a symbol of Mexican overall fighting greatness. It seems the only fights we’ll get to see of his until he retires are against foes who’ll be cooperative to the narrative.

Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildrim was a lackluster one-sided affair.
Avni Yildrim, despite being ranked in the top 10 by the WBO, appeared unprepared for Canelo Alvarez in their 2021 matchup, another indication that competition for the Mexican superstar has been lackluster in many of his recent fights.

Canelo Alvarez Next Fight

Although there are big fights yet to be made for Alvarez, fans likely won’t get to see Canelo fight Spence, or Charlo, or Benevidez. As long as DAZN can convince viewers that their content is worth the constant monthly expense this problem might contain itself, but it becomes more and more difficult to see how the illusion will fare given the pattern of lackluster matchmaking we’re seeing.

The fact of the matter is that regardless of how padded Canelo’s record will be by the time he retires from this european vacation, his record will have at least one loss, and probably only one, with the competition he’s likely to face for the duration of his career. It really shows how much more impressive Mayweather’s 20 year professional career was as a boxer. When Floyd fought Canelo, he was already past his prime, just taking on another challenger in a young, oversized opponent with speed, power, and skills. Floyd was already in his 5th weight class in September 2013 at 150lb.s in a bout with a 154 lbs. weight limit. Now at 168 lbs., Canelo is in his 4th.

Canelo Alvarez lands a right hand against Rocky Fielding.
Despite the height and reach disadvantage, Canelo Alvarez picked Rocky Fielding apart in their 2018 match.

It’s hard to say whether Canelo’s prime was at 154, 160, or is now at 168 lbs, but Floyd’s prime was actually well below 147, the division in which he reached the the majority of the undeniable international acclaim that he now enjoys. Accounting for weight ‘s relationship with the age of each fighter, a prime Floyd, which would be at or close to 130 lbs., beats Canelo at his absolute smallest/youngest, 147 lbs., but it’d be the closest fight.

You could just as easily say it’s impossible to know for sure, but in a fantasy style matchup with both fighters rehydrating to the same weight, prime Canelo doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell against prime Mayweather.

Canelo Alvarez added to the Floyd Mayweather record of victories early in his career.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather lands a hard right hand in his win over Canelo Alvarez in their 2014 match, in which Floyd won decisively despite a 13 pound weight disadvantage.

It’s still possible to see Canelo fight at least one of the best active current fighters, but it’s unlikely any incentive would force him into the ring against any real danger at this point. His reputation among the majority of fans won’t dip much more if he continues this fascinating display of risk averse, predatory behavior, avoiding legitimate challenges at 160 lbs and 168 lbs and instead choosing to hunt UK fighters and cherry pick other more vulnerable opponents.

To his credit, Canelo’s schrewd negotiating skills have given his family and close associates financial security. He’s had well over fifty professional fights and he’s shown that he’s likely the best Mexico has to offer at the moment, taking into account his career as a whole as well as his current marketability.

Jermall Charlo lands an uppercut on Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Jermall Charlo displayed accuracy with the uppercut in his title defense against the supremely skilled Sergiy “The Technician” Derevyanchenko.

But until Canelo takes the challenge in David Benevidez, or at least wins against a top contender in his current division, any claims to being the best super middleweight currently fighting ring hollow. There’s no denying that Canelo Alvarez is an excellent fighter; perhaps the best fighter at 154 lbs outside of Floyd, and while he was there, maybe the best at middleweight except for Jermall Charlo, and might be the best at 168 lbs. currently, except for David Benevidez.

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