By: Hans Themistode
At one point, the blueprint to defeating unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez was clear as day.
Keep your distance, incorporate a lot of movement and pot shot him all night long. In short, the Mexican star could be thoroughly outboxed.
Floyd Mayweather was the first to give users the key to open the door to beating Alvarez in 2013. Despite the suspect scorecards, Mayweather won in lopsided fashion. Erislandy Lara attempted to use the same tactics when they fought one year later. But while Alvarez was given the nod, the vast majority of the boxing public believes that he was given a huge gift when the Judes ruled their bout in his favor.
With Alvarez announcing that he will be taking on WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th, many are under the assumption that Alvarez could be in true danger of picking up the second loss of his career.
While the skills of Saunders did at one point open the door to defeating the Mexican star, at this stage, Alvarez has changed the locks.
“I’m way better. Way better,” said Alvarez following his win over Avni Yildirim.
Alvarez, 30, made things look entirely too easy at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida last night. Yildirim, his WBC mandatory challenger, was thoroughly beaten down over the course of three rounds. Although it was impressive, supporters of Saunders will point to the pure boxing style of Saunders as opposed to the plodding, come-forward style of Yildirim.
The British native is fresh off a one-sided unanimous decision victory over former title challenger Martin Murray in late December. Following the win, Saunders did what he always does, meaning, he dared Alvarez to step up and face him.
For years now, Saunders has insisted that the pound-for-pound star built his resume on the backs of great fighters who were no longer at their peak by the time Alvarez got his hands on them.
At 31, Saunders is smack dab in the middle of his prime. That, along with his tricky style, is the reason why he believes Alvarez was always hesitant to face him.
Those sentiments however, were always considered laughable to Alvarez. If Saunders, or anyone else for that matter, believes that he has the same weaknesses that he had as a young fighter, they must not have been watching his progression all of these years.
“I’m a more mature fighter, I’m more a complete fighter. I have much more experience. I’m in my best moment.”
By: Hans Themistode
Erislandy Lara has always found himself in the most intriguing matchups in the Jr middleweight division.
Two years ago in 2018, Lara (26-3-3, 15 KOs) and former unified champion Jarrett Hurd gave fight fans their money’s worth when the two went head to head. One year later, Lara and his dance partner in Brian Castano gave one helluva performance.
Even Lara’s most recent ring appearance against Ramon Alvarez brought a bit of buzz seeing how Ramon is the older brother of pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez.
This Saturday however, the buzz is relatively low for what many expect to be a truncated night the moment Lara lands a significant punch against Greg Vendetti (22-3-1, 12 KOs).
Taking a backseat is something that the Cuban born fighter isn’t accustomed to, but even he knows there is a much more significant contest taking place in the very weight class that he’s presided in seemingly forever.
On September 26th, a pair of title holders in Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosario will meet up in a Fox Pay-Per-View unification bout. Lara, 37, believes he knows who the winner will be, but that won’t stop him from tuning in on the night with popcorn in hand.
“That’s going to be a good fight,” Lara told BoxingScene,com. “Rosario will not back down to Charlo and that makes for an exciting fight because we all know Jermell is a powerful puncher. I have to give the edge to Charlo because of his experience.”
Lara’s choice of Charlo stems from both respect for his skills and a once close friendship. The two formerly trained under the guidance of trainer Ronnie Shields until Charlo abruptly left to partner up with Derrick James.
The move proved to be a sagacious one as Charlo went on to become a world champion two times over and developed from a pure boxer, to a jaw breaking knockout artist.
While working under the same umbrella, a matchup between the two seemed as likely as Tyson Fury taking on Floyd Mayweather. But now that they haven’t worked together for years, both fighters have been more than receptive to the idea of a showdown.
In a perfect world for the former title holder, he’ll blast out Vendetti in short order then sit back and wait for the winner on September 26th.
“Of course, I want the winner of Charlo-Rosario because I want to fight the best. I’m ready to face anyone in the world.”