By: Hans Themistode
Whether you hate or criticize Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican star is revered in the sport of boxing.
Although several fighters in or around his 168 pound weight class have attempted to chastise him, former WBO featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson has nothing but praise but for the pound-for-pound star.
“I’m a big Canelo fan,” said Stevenson during an interview with Fight Hype. “You’re not going to hear me say anything bad about Canelo.”
Stevenson’s refusal to throw any dirt on the name of Alvarez is due to the work he has done inside of the ring. With world titles in four different weight classes, Stevenson can’t help but get excited when describing the attributes and mentality of the unified super middleweight champion that makes him so special.
“Canelo goes up in weight and fights whoever, he goes back down in weight and fights whoever. He got real good skills and if we’re talking about the best defense in boxing, besides myself, I think Canelo is the best defensive fighter in boxing. Canelo uses a lot of waist movement. He knows how to make you miss with his waist. It’s a lot of good things that Canelo does as a fighter and I respect Canelo a lot.”
Alvarez, 30, is currently sitting in his presidential suite in a Miami hotel as he prepares to take on mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at the Hard Rock Hotel. Many, if not all, are expecting Alvarez to have a quick and easy night before moving on to face WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders and possibly IBF belt holder Caleb Plant.
But while Stevenson respects every single fighter who steps into the ring, he doesn’t believe any of those aforementioned names will hand Alvarez a loss.
No, to the 23-year-old, you would have to be an all-time great to beat Alvarez. Ironically enough, Stevenson just so happens to be close friends with one.
“The only fighters that will beat Canelo is the special and different kind of fighters. If Andre Ward was still boxing, I would say Dre would beat Canelo. Dre knows boxing. Canelo wins these fights because he’s more knowledgeable then a lot of these other fighters but Dre is really knowledgeable too and a great fighter. Andre would be the only person I would say right now that could beat Canelo.”
Currently, Ward has shown little to no interest in lacing up the gloves again. After closing the chapter on his rivalry with Sergey Kovalev by knocking him out in the eighth round of their 2017 contest, Ward subsequently closed the door on his career as he retired immediately after.
With an unbeaten record through 32 fights, world titles in two divisions and several big wins, Ward was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020.
Still, at the age of 37, Ward continues to stay in good shape and is constantly in the gym. Both fans and boxing pundits have reiterated that they would love to see him return to the ring to take on Alvarez. Stevenson is amongst that very group. However, the window on that mega showdown is closing and if Ward doesn’t take the opportunity soon, then Stevenson believes he should just leave it alone.
“Yea as of right now,” said Stevenson when asked if Ward would beat Alvarez currently. “But Dre can’t take too much years off. It would have to be like right at this moment.”