By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez admitted he was a bit frustrated on Saturday night. Fighting to win the undisputed super middleweight championship of the world, perhaps the most popular boxer on earth was having a challenging time with his opponent – undefeated fellow titlist Caleb Plant. Highly skilled and possessing a notable height advantage, the slippery Plant jabbed well, landed well, and successfully managed to frequently keep Canelo at bay. Other fighters, when confronted with the frustration of a slick opponent, might try to change things up a bit, alter their game plan, if you will. Still others might lose patience and double their efforts in an increasingly desperate attempt to catch their man on the fly. Canelo, however, stuck to his original plan – and that decision paid off prettily on Saturday night, just as it had before.
Canelo might not be the smoothest boxer in history. Nor might he be the most powerful. What the man might well be, however, is the most patient, for patience has allowed Canelo to emerge victorious against high level competition repeatedly. Whether it’s Erislandy Lara, Sergey Kovalev, Amir Khan, or his latest victim, Plant, Canelo makes it a point to remain disciplined even when it looks like this time he just might be watching the fight slip away from him. There is, however, good reason for the fighter to stick with the style he and Eddie Reynoso have carefully crafted.
For one thing, Canelo is powerful. Extremely so. He’s a guy who likes to break down the man in front of him, wreaking his prey before, lion-like, he moves in for the kill. Even though he may look like he’s falling behind on rounds to a slickster and/or a craftsman, Canelo can always be guaranteed to land a few crunching body shots a round. Those body shots inevitably take their toll on his opponent, weakening and sapping energy from his foil. If and when a Canelo fight goes to the later rounds, there’s a very good chance Canelo is going into them with the bout well under control.
In this, of course, Canelo is not alone. Mike Tyson was nearly impervious to scientific fighters. It’s hard to beat a man through speed and timing when – like Iron Mike – the man’s speed and timing is superior to your own. Canelo’s arch rival, Gennady Golovkin, has also proved to be impervious to slick fighters, though in fairness, he’s never faced any who were of the caliber Canelo has. In fact, the only true defensive master to best Canelo is the only man to have beaten him in the ring – Floyd Mayweather. The Mayweather fight, however, went down nearly a decade ago, and Canelo has improved greatly since that time. The day may come when a scientific practitioner of the fight game bests Canelo – but that man will have to best one of the all time great pressure techniques in history – as well as the disciplined patience that goes with it.
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