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Is This Boxing’s “Canelo Era”?

By: Sean Crose

As we head into 2022 it’s almost hard to imagine Canelo Alvarez’ career continuing on its current trajectory. The man not only wins over and over and over again. He dominates. And against excellent competition, as well. There are those who can’t stand the guy – it’s lonely at the top, after all – but make no mistake about it, Canelo is the premiere boxer in the world right now. Others may be ranked higher on the pound for pound lists. Still others – Anthony Joshua, perhaps – may have more fans. But make no mistake about it, Canelo’s is the biggest name in the sport.

Is boxing in the Canelo Era, though? Is the red haired star so dominant that his is the face that comes to people’s minds when they think contemporary boxing? Perhaps not. He may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s a good chance more people on planet earth knew who Floyd Mayweather was than didn’t during Mayweather’s peak years. The same, of course, could be said of Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard, and, of course, Mike Tyson. The truth is that Canelo just isn’t at that level of fame. Not yet at least. Perhaps not ever. In fact, it seems Canelo himself is indifferent to such things.

It’s worth noting that there’s a distinct difference between fighters who dominate an era and fighters who are the best of their era. Mike Tyson was arguably NOT the best boxer of his day – but that didn’t matter. The guy was still legitimately great. What’s more, he was great in a way that simply sponged attention. That’s just how it goes with fighters who define entire eras – they don’t have to be the absolute best of their time and place, they simply need to be close to the top and interesting enough to take all the oxygen out of the room for everyone else. Ken Norton may have had Ali’s number, but it didn’t matter. Gene Tunney certainly had Jack Dempsey’s number, but that didn’t matter, either. Ali, and Dempsey were the one’s who ruled their respective landscapes, and that’s all there was to it. Something to consider.

Canelo, it should be stated, is most certainly one of the top boxers in the business right now. He may even be the best boxer out there. He’s not a showman, though, and never has been. He’s a serious professional, polite in conversation, and nothing short of brilliant in the practice of his craft. And he seems to like it that way, which in a sense is refreshing to see. Simply being a master is good enough. Or at least it should be.

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