By: William Holmes
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez isn’t a budding star anymore, he is a legitimate star. His popularity is constantly increasing, and it is currently big enough for him to earn a seven figure payday on Saturday despite not fighting as the main event.
On Saturday, Canelo will be fighting future hall of famer “Sugar”Shane Mosley. The following is a preview of Saturday’s bout.
PHOTOs BY Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (39-0) vs. “Sugar” Shane Mosley (46-7); WBC Light Middleweight Title
The 21-year-old Saul Alvarez has been on a meteoric rise since his professional debut at the age of 15.
I repeat, he made his professional debut at the age of 15.
It’s not like he was fed tomato cans early on in his professional career. His third fight was against Miguel Vazquez, who just happens to be the current IBF Lightweight Champion. Canelo comes from a boxing family, as three of his siblings are professional boxers. Canelo just happens to be the best in the family.
Canelo does have some amateur experience. He is a former Junior Mexican National Boxing Champion, and had approximately 20 amateur bouts before turning pro.
Canelo is young and athletic, with decent hand speed and solid defense. He does have good punching power, as 29 of his 39 victories have come by KO or TKO. Alvarez has a tendency to start slow. He has only finished one of his past ten fights before the fourth round. If you look at Alvarez’s record, a vast majority of his victories have come against opponents with winning records, a rarity for a young undefeated boxer.
If there’s a knock against Canelo, it’s that he has yet to fight anybody that can be considered world class competition. Since he first started fighting in the United States regularly in 2010, he’s fought an over the hill Carlos Baldomir, a faded Lovemore Ndou, a game but not as good as his brother Matthew Hatton, a little known Ryan Rhodes, a reality star in Alfonso Gomez, and a shot Kermit Cintron.
Granted, Alvarez beat every boxer Golden Boy puts in front of him like he is supposed to, but he has yet to fight high level competition.
The Shane Mosley of 2012 should not be considered high level competition.
Shane Mosley is nearly twice the age of Saul Alvarez, and started fighting when his opponent was only two years old.
I usually allot space to write about a fighter’s amateur background when previewing fights, but Alvarez wasn’t even born when Mosley began boxing as an amateur. Mosley won his first amateur championship in 1989, when Alvarez was just a twinkle in his father’s eyes.
Mosley has 39 KOs on his record, which is surely an impressive KO rate. He has also gone 2-3-1 in his last six fights, and hasn’t won a fight since his TKO victory over Antonio Margarito in 2009.
Mosley’s inability to finish Mayweather after hurting him badly in the second round of 2010 was the first indication that his skills were eroding quickly. He landed one good punch in that fight, but was unable to pull the trigger when it mattered most and got swept on the cards the rest of the fight.
Mosley drew against Sergio Mora in 2010, a reality star that a younger Sugar Shane would have finished quickly. What made it even worse was that neither fighter appeared willing to fight. The last indication that Mosley was finished was in his fight against Manny Pacquiao, a fight that featured Mosley back peddling and unwilling to engage [and constantly touching gloves — ed].
Mosley is now stepping up a weight class, to a weight class that he hasn’t fought in since 2008, against a fighter that is half his age with 39 victories.
Mosley has a very small chance of winning on Saturday. Unless he lands an early hard shot against Canelo like he did against Mayweather, Mosley will lose. The biggest question is, will Mosley stand and trade with Canelo, or will he backpedal the whole time hoping to survive?
There is no question that Mosley has fought the best of the best, and in his prime was a monster. Shane Mosley deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But he’s in the twilight of his career, and he’s been fed to a young and hungry lion.