By: Sean Crose
A lot can change in less than a decade. If nothing else, Covid-19 has made us blisteringly aware of that fact. Yet other things around us can change that aren’t quite as earth shaking as a global pandemic. One of those things is of particular interest to fight fans – the course Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’ career has taken since he was bested as a young man by the great Floyd Mayweather. Back in their 2013 bout, Canelo found himself well over his head against the prime fighter of his generation. It only made sense afterward that Canelo would forever be known as a notch on Mayweather’s belt.
If that were supposed to be the case, however, someone forgot to give Canelo the message. After coming back to best Alfredo Angulo in his next fight, the red haired burgeoning star fought one challenging opponent after another. Canelo also got bigger – and better – as a fighter. Now the man is considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer on earth, a guy whose resume is already Hall of Fame worthy. There’s even a question as to whether a prime Canelo could have actually bested a prime Mayweather.
It’s a silly argument, of course, as Canelo at his best is far too heavy to have logically faced Mayweather, who pretty much got as big as he could get at junior middleweight. Still, the question, sometimes bandied about, tells us just how far Canelo’s reputation has risen since the Mayweather fight. Now, as the most popular and respected fighter on earth, Canelo is ready to face to face fellow super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant this weekend just outside of Vegas. The winner will be the division’s undisputed titlist, another feather in Canelo’s hat, should he win as most expect.
On top of all his other accomplishments, Canelo has proven that having a perfect record isn’t the most important thing in the world. Boxing fans – at least a good amount of them – seemed to feel that was the case during the Mayweather era. And, unlike Mixed Martial Arts, boxing still gives perfect records way too much weight to this day. That’s too bad. Perfect records may indeed be symbolic of greatness, but they don’t elevate fighters by default. Great boxing does. And Canelo has indeed grown into a generation defining boxer – that will remain true even if Plant upsets him this weekend.
Legendary boxers have a way of dusting themselves off and moving on.
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