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Canelo At His Zenith

By: Sean Crose

The truth is the man could have gone the way of countless other Floyd Mayweather opponents, that way being the path to relative obscurity. After all, the pound for pound all time great nicknamed “Money” had made relatively easy work of the 23 year old red haired Mexican called “Canelo” when they met in a 2013 megabout. Canelo, however, wasn’t going to be just an opponent. Nor was he going to let a single loss – to a guaranteed future Hall of Famer, no less – derail his plans for the future. After losing to Mayweather, Canelo continued to face notable opponents – Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto – until he himself was the premiere attraction in megabouts.

And, the truth is, the guy has only gotten better over time. Not that Canelo was ever over-rated. He wasn’t. It’s just that the now 57-1-2 fighter has grown his skill set to a tremendous degree over the years. Take his fights against Amir Khan or Sergey Kovalev, for instance. A keen observer could tell Canelo was having some trouble in those matches. He was up against highly skilled competition, after all. Still, Canelo did what so many fighters don’t – he kept his cool and followed his own process. Needless to say, both bouts ended up earning the now 31 year old Canelo knockout victories.

And now he’s about to face Dmitry Bivol – a serious, skilled and dangerous light heavyweight titlist. Their bout, which goes down this weekend in Las Vegas, is being somewhat overshadowed by the fact that, should he win, Canelo will likely go on to a third match with longtime arch rival Gennady Golovkin. This is a mistake, for Bivol, an undefeated, hard hitting, quick punching sort, is no one’s idea of an easy day at the office. If Canelo wants to win, he’ll have to be at his best come this weekend.

But here’s the thing – Canelo is always at his best. He and Mayweather are completely different people, but the two men do have one thing in common, and that’s a second to none work ethic. That might sound like a trite thing to write, but in truth, it’s what makes Canelo – like Mayweather before him – the stellar athlete he is. Observe the man’s body shots then ask ask yourself if he went to the torso that way ten years ago. Here is a fighter who has worked himself into being a legendary (and that’s no hyperbole) competitor. Canelo also seems to be in his prime. If he doesn’t show signs of aging, I’ve got to give him the nod heading into this Saturday night in Vegas, no matter how on his game Bivol might be.

Enjoy Canelo while you can. Fighters don’t stay young forever.

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