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How Good is Canelo Alvarez?

By Kirk Jackson

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Boxing’s rising Mexican Superstar. This generation’s incumbent “Golden Boy” if you will.

A promoter and network’s dream fighter. The young fighter, who turns 23 years old later this year, Alvarez has the unique look; spicy red hair that noticeably stands out. He has a fan friendly style of fighting, as he does like to mix it up from time to time. He also has nice knockouts on his resume and a huge Mexican following.

Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Sugar Shane MosleyWorld WBC Junior Middleweight ChampionshipMay 5, 2012Las Vegas, NevadaPhotos By Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos

There have been some comparisons to his promoter Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas. The comparisons may be drawn from not necessarily the fighting style, but more so from the popularity aspect and potential that lies within Alvarez.

He aims to embrace the role as ambassador of Mexico, a role that seemingly has been bestowed upon fellow Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez. And like Marquez, Alvarez does not have a stereo-typical Mexican based fighting style.

A machismo kind of thing, where a fighter will stand there and trade punch for punch. A style that requires a tremendous amount of heart, will and durability. There’s high pressure, a high punch rate, solid body punching and not too much defense involved as well.

Alvarez does possess some of those qualities, he has also refined his technique and has displayed the ability to fight defensively for stretches and be an effective overall fighter. The only problem is his limited level of opposition.

Alvarez has the nice knockouts and other things going for him, but looking at his track record, credible opponents are certainly absent from his resume.

He has some big names on his resume, but a majority of his opponents have been either past their prime, at a weight disadvantage, or outclassed altogether.

For example, take Alvarez’s last fight against Josesito Lopez. Lopez, regularly fights at 140, the junior welterweight limit. Lopez moved up to welterweight (147) to basically be an opponent and scored an upset over Victor Ortiz, in what was supposed to be a warm-up for Ortiz before his scheduled fight with Alvarez.

After his upset victory over Ortiz, Lopez, then moves up again in weight and fights the naturally bigger Alvarez at junior middleweight (154). In less than a year, Lopez moved up two weight divisions and had to pack on 14 pounds. Doesn’t sound like a fair fight.

One of the other notable names Alvarez has faced is the undersized Matthew Hatton, the younger brother of Ricky Hatton, who spent a majority of his career at junior welterweight and welterweight. Their fight was for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight Title and I’m uncertain how that fight was even sanctioned for a title with Hatton lacking any kind of experience in the division.

After some initial struggle, Alvarez defeated former “Contender” star Alfonso Gomez who is the only guy arguably who is naturally bigger than Canelo.

Alvarez has faced Jose Cotto, the older brother of Miguel Cotto who took the fight on a week‘s notice, Kermit Cintron who is far removed from his championship days and Alvarez also faced Shane Mosley, who hasn’t won a fight since January of 2009.

Can’t entirely place the blame on Alvarez, because he has expressed interest in fighting better opposition. He has expressed the desire to fight Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather, and it doesn’t get any tougher than facing the likes of Mayweather and Martinez.

Saying one ting and actually doing it is different, as we all know actions speak louder than words.

Alvarez is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and they probably want to protect their most valuable asset and bring him along carefully which is understandable.

But he has the experience of 42 fights, with a record of 41-0-1 (30 Ko’s), has 6 title fights and is one of the youngest super welterweight titlists of all time. It’s been time to step up.

And compared to contemporaries Vargas and De La Hoya, the resume of Alvarez is not as impressive. By age 23, De La Hoya already defeated the likes of Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas, John John Molina and Jeff Mayweather. The following years he would face Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time Pernell Whitaker and the late Hector Macho Camacho. The latter three mentioned were not in their primes unfortunately, but still had enough in the tank to challenge De La Hoya.

Vargas at 23 years old was fighting guys like Raul Marquez, Ike Quartey, Winky Wright and Felix Trinidad.

Alvarez has a fight on April 20th against WBA Super Light World Champion Austin Trout, in looks to be the first time he is actually stepping up against elite opposition.

Alvarez has shown signs of potentially becoming a really good fighter. With the step up in competition and the world will see how Alvarez responds.

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