Over the last few years, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has transformed into the face of boxing. He’s become the biggest star in a sport that has often been labeled as “dying,” and deservingly so.
At just 27 years of age, Alvarez possesses a wealth of experience, owning a 49-1-1 professional record. He’s an entertaining fighter with legitimate finishing ability, which can be seen in the fact that 34 of his victories have come by way of knockout. This style, in addition to his beloved Mexican fanbase, has launched Canelo into superstardom, but with this rise to fame has also come a plethora of criticism.
Much of this criticism aimed at Alvarez came after he handily defeated the legendary Miguel Cotto in November 2015 to win The Ring, lineal and WBC middleweight titles. After the victory, boxing fans had expressed their interest in a bout between Canelo and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, the man many consider to be the very best Middleweight in the world.
Despite saying that he would indeed fight Golovkin next, Canelo elected to take on natural Welterweight Amir Khan in May 2016. Alvarez won that fight by way of knockout before bringing GGG into the ring to promote the fight the boxing community had been longing for.
However, shortly after his win over Khan, Canelo vacated his WBC Middleweight title, which was then given to Golovkin, and announced that he would be dropping down to Light Middleweight to take on Liam Smith.
As many expected he would, Canelo stopped Liam Smith in their September 2016 bout before dishing out a one-sided beating on Mexican rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. this past May.
And now, Alvarez is finally set to square off with Golovkin, who currently holds the WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO Middleweight titles. The pair will do battle this coming Saturday, September 16, 2017, live on HBO Pay-Per-View from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some have argued that Canelo only accepted the bout at this time because Golovkin looked somewhat human in his last performance, a closely-fought decision victory over Daniel Jacobs in March 2017, but the fight represents a clash between two of the best fighters in the world nonetheless.
Due to the high stakes surrounding the bout, Canelo has a chance to silence the doubters. If he can put on a noteworthy performance against Golovkin, perhaps he can put to rest the idea that he had been ducking the Kazakh slugger.
In addition to that, Alvarez has a chance to score the type of marquee victory that every fighter of his magnitude needs.
Throughout the lead-up to this bout, much of the attention has been focused on the fact that after fighting simply anyone who was brave enough to step in the ring with him for the last few years, Golovkin has finally landed the big fight he’s been waiting for, but the same can be said for Canelo in a way.
Now, to make things clear, Canelo has had the big fights. He hasn’t, however, necessarily had that big win.
The most lucrative fight of his career resulted in a one-sided loss to all-time great Floyd Mayweather in 2013. His biggest wins, on the other hand, have come over an aging and overmatched Cotto and an undersized Khan. The Mexican star has also scored close decision victories over Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout in recent years, and while those two are skillful fighters, I’d argue that that they too are a level below Golovkin.
With that being said, Canelo has the chance to establish himself as not only one of the best fighters in the world, but likely the best Middleweight in the world as well in his upcoming fight.
Given his unbeaten professional record, it’s obvious that beating Golovkin is no easy task, but if Canelo can do so, he’ll reap the rewards for years to come.
His legacy will be set in stone.