Bunch of fives: Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez
Luke G. Williams
As his showdown with Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin approaches, Boxing Monthly brings you our selection of the five most significant fights so far in the career of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez...
1. WBC super welterweight title defence vs Shane Mosley, 5 May 2012 – won by unanimous decision
The 40-year-old Mosley with his dulled reflexes was no match for the youth, speed and power of Alvarez, as the Mexican made his second Las Vegas appearance on the undercard of a Floyd Mayweather fight. The 21-year-old scored well to 'Sugar' Shane's head and body with right hands and left hooks and declared confidently afterwards: "Mayweather, Cotto, Pacquiao - I'm ready!"
2. WBC and WBA super welterweight title unification vs Austin Trout, 20 April 2013 – won by unanimous decision
Canelo established his superstar credentials in front of a huge 40,00-plus crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio as he unified the WBC and WBA crowns against fellow unbeaten super welter Trout. In the toughest test of his career to date, Alvarez was rated a comfortable victor by the judges, although most ringside observers had it much closer than their 115-112, 118-109 and 116-111 cards. Compubox stats declared that Trout landed more punches, but Canelo's shots were undoubtedly the more punishing, as evidenced in round seven when he floored 'No Doubt' for the first time in his career with a straight right followed by a jab.
3. WBC and WBA super welterweight title defence vs Floyd Mayweather, 14 September 2013 - lost by majority decision
Canelo entered super-fight territory and was promptly humbled by the pugilistic genius of welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. A purse of around $12million was scant consolation for the fact that Floyd unpicked Canelo bit by bit, round by round, like a concentrated child picking the wings off a fly. Out-thought and out-manoeuvred at every turn, by the end of the fight the Mexican looked thoroughly dispirited. Somehow one judge (CJ Ross) scored the contest 114 apiece while the other cards of 116-112 and 117-111 to Mayweather also looked over generous to Canelo, who was left to muse: "It was simple: I couldn't catch him. He was very elusive ... Honestly, I couldn't find him. In the later rounds, I felt frustrated ... I tried to connect on him, but I just couldn't."
4. 155lbs contest vs Erislandy Lara, 12 July 2014 - won by split decision
Props to Canelo for taking on life president of the 'who needs him?' club in the form of cunning Cuban Erislandy Lara. Two of the three judges favoured the Mexican's more consistent aggression, as opposed to the slick box and move skills of Lara. The split decision was hotly debated ringside, with Canelo defiantly proclaiming: "There’s a saying that to make love, you need a partner, and it’s the same thing with boxing, to make a fight you need a partner.” While the decision could be debated, Canelo's ambition in taking on a much-avoided opponent so soon after his humbling by Mayweather could not be questioned.
5. WBC and lineal middleweight title fight vs Miguel Cotto, 21 November 2015 - won by unanimous points decision
Arguably Canelo's best victory to date, and certainly his most significant, as he overcame the lineal middleweight champion in fine style. Although the scorecards of 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111 were too wide for most observers' tastes, there was little doubt the Mexican deserved the nod against Puerto Rico's future hall of famer. Canelo was not only the more accurate of the two fighters but also seemed to land the heavier blows. "I will always respect him," he said of Cotto, post-fight. "He's a great champion, but now it's my era."