Canelo Alvarez's five finest performances
By Hector Franco
On Saturday night, Las Vegas will christen its’ newest arena – T-Mobile Arena- with the WBC middleweight title fight between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan. Canelo comes into the bout as a huge favorite to not only win, but to win by knockout. There are many fans and pundits within the boxing industry who feel the match up is even money. Those who favor Canelo will point to Khan’s losses where he lost by knockout. They can also look at some of Canelo’s past performances where he won spectacularly to show that this Saturday night will be no different. Here are five of Canelo’s finest performances.
JOSESITO LOPEZ 09-15-2012
This bout took place on the same day as the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. PPV in Las Vegas. Canelo was originally going to take on Victor Ortiz for this bout. But when Ortiz stepped in the ring that June against Josesito Lopez, his jaw was broken and was unable to continue granting Lopez an upset victory. Instead of facing another top Junior Middleweight, Canelo and team decided to give the young man from Riverside, California a shot. Although Lopez defeated Ortiz at welterweight, he was a career 140-pound fighter who would again move up in weight to face Canelo. They would meet at 154 pounds. Not many expected Lopez to win the bout because of the size disparity. This turned out to be the case. Lopez gave his all in an action packed fight where both men traded punches. The difference was Canelo could take everything Lopez brought to him, but Lopez after a few rounds began to wear down from the attack of Canelo. It turned out to be the mismatch everyone expected, but Canelo showcased his ability to put his punches together while walking down an opponent. Many fans of Canelo believe that the bout with Khan will look similar to this bout.
AUSTIN TROUT 04-20-2013
Before Alvarez’s bout with Austin Trout he was simply seen as an overprotected hype job. Alvarez had the easy road paved for him on his way to boxing glory. His first world title shot was for the vacant WBC 154-pound title was against a career welterweight in Matthew Hatton. The win allowed him to beat Fernando Vargas’ record as the youngest 154-pound champion in boxing history. The win felt manufactured. After the Josesito Lopez bout fans were looking for Canelo to finally step up his opposition. Alvarez chose to take on New Mexico native, Austin Trout. Trout was coming off of a huge victory over Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden. Trout would not only be Canelo’s best opponent to date, but was also a bad style match up for the Mexican. Fans came into the bout expecting to see Trout be the boxer and Canelo the attacker. Canelo instead showcased a new wrinkle in his game by playing defense and counter punching Trout. Trout was the busier fighter throughout the entire fight, but Canelo landed the cleaner, harder punches all night. It was as close a fight that can be. The bout took place in front of 40,000 fans at the Alamo dome in San Antonio, Texas. Texas at the time was implementing an open scoring system where the judge’s scorecards would be read out loud throughout the fight. The judges were heavily favoring Canelo and it took some of the drama out of what seemed like a very close fight. A knockdown in the 7th round by Canelo ended up putting an exclamation point to what turned out to be a unanimous decision victory. The fight is still debated to this day, as many believe Trout outworked Canelo in most of the twelve rounds. Even if you thought Canelo lost to Trout, it was the bout that showed that the young man wasn't a one-dimensional fighter. It was Canelo’s coming out party displaying that he was more than just hype.
ALFREDO ANGULO 03-08-2014
Canelo needed an opponent to look good against after his anti-climatic non-performance against, Floyd Mayweather. It was the biggest stage that the Mexican had ever been on and he failed miserably. In Angulo, he had a fighter that was going to come to him. Canelo didn’t need to find Angulo in the ring. The bout started off rather quickly. Canelo landed some devastating combinations to the head and body. It turned into a one-sided beat down in favor of Canelo. Angulo seemed to have the sting on his punches sapped out of him by the body punching of Canelo. Canelo showcased his ability to put together creative combinations against Angulo. Even while counter punching Canelo put his punches together in combination. Angulo never gave up and even backed Canelo up against the ropes a few times. It was one of the better performances of Canelo’s career and certainly one of his most violent. The end came in the 10th round after the referee had seen Angulo take enough punishment. The sequence in which the bout was stopped was premature, but Angulo stood no chance at winning. The fight was going to be stopped eventually either by Canelo or by Angulo’s corner. The mission had been accomplished against Angulo. With the Mayweather debacle now officially behind him, it was time for Canelo to move on to bigger things.
JAMES KIRKLAND 05-09-2015
After the Angulo fight, Canelo stepped in the ring against Erislandy Lara. It was another close and controversial fight where both fighters didn’t look at their best. Canelo was lucky to get the decision victory and moved on. Canelo would move back to HBO and ran into some roadblocks. He couldn’t secure a fight with Miguel Cotto and a bout with Joshua Clottey was canceled due to a leg injury. Alvarez and his team looked at a potential opponent of the past in James Kirkland for a May return. The bout would take place in Houston, Texas in front of 30,000 fans. Kirkland was coming off of a lengthy layoff and had once again left his trainer, Anne Wolfe. Fans expected Alvarez to win by knockout due to the circumstances. Fans got what they expected, but in spectacular fashion. It was a poor man’s version of Hagler-Hearns. The fighters are in no way the quality of those two Hall-of-Famers, but they provided an action bout for all three rounds. The end came in the third round after Canelo landed an overhand right that spun Kirkland to the canvass. It was the knock out of the year. After the disappointing Mayweather-Pacquiao bout just the week before, Canelo’s fight with Kirkland was a much-needed pick up for boxing fans. Can Khan avoid the same fate as Kirkland?
MIGUEL COTTO 11-21-2015
This for many fans was the most anticipated bout of 2015. It was certainly the biggest fight of the second half of 2015. Fans have wanted a Cotto-Canelo bout for years. After past negotiations going south, it was finally put together for the WBC middleweight title. Canelo in this bout with Cotto once again showcased his boxing skills as he proved to be the sharper puncher. Cotto was unable to hurt Canelo and his punches seemed to have no effect on the Mexican. It was still a close bout as Cotto was able to consistently land his jab all night. The judge’s scorecards saw a wide decision victory for Alvarez in what would be his biggest win thus far. Canelo was now a two-division world champion. The Cotto fight was not only a win for Canelo inside the ring but outside of the ring as well. It sold over 900,000 PPV buys and on the undercard provided the fight of the year with the Takashi Miura-Francisco Vargas bout. It was Canelo’s coming out party as the next cash cow in the sport now that that Mayweather and Pacquiao were making their exit. This weekend Canelo hopes to accomplish the same not only in victory but also at the box office.
Are there any fights that you feel should have been included? Let us know in the comment section.
Featured Photo: HBO Sports