At the age of twenty-three years old most boxers are looking to build their resume to enhance what is expected to be a long career. It’s the stage in ones boxing career where each win is a learning experience. Opponents are picked carefully with each one presenting a different sort of threat than the previous foes, and testing a young fighter against mild opposition in the hopes of building them into a household fighter in the years to come. This is how most fighter’s are built.
Saul Canelo Alvarez is not most fighters. He turned pro at the young age of fifteen years old in Mexico with a mere 20 amateur bouts. Alvarez managed to rack up 23 wins, 0 losses, and 21 knockouts in his first two years as a professional fighter in Mexico, however ten of those fights were not recorded properly in the record books according to his trainer. On the record, he was 13-0, 11 KO’s in his first 19 months as a professional. Not a bad start for a 15 year old fighter.
There was no question that Alvarez was on the fast track as soon as he turned pro. His Mexican fan base exploded into the US, and at just the age of 20, when he made his first PPV appearance on the Floyd Mayweather vs Shane Mosley undercard where he defeated Jose Miguel Cotto, the Mexican fans were already staking their claims that one day he would face Floyd Mayweather.
After Canelo defeated Joseito Lopez in 2012 at the age of 22, many fans were calling on him to step up in compeition. Canelo answered that call when the undefeated Austin Trout upset Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden. Many thought that Canelo would choose a less dangerous opponent after the Lopez fight, especially knowing that a fight with Floyd Maweather was looming. The Trout fight was one that could ruin his shot at Mayweather with many seeing it as a 50/50 fight. Canelo didn’t dodge the fight, and in fact, he asked to face Austin Trout. Canelo won the fight setting himself up for the showdown that most fighters dream about.
In his next fight at the age of 23 he found himself fighting the number one pound for pound boxer in the world, and one of the biggest selling stars in the history of boxing. The fight against Mayweather was a disappointing one for Canelo, but the doors opened up for the young star to shine. The lopsided loss was the first blemish on Canelo’s record. Golden Boy’s young star may have been no match for the 38 year old Mayweather but his name was still branded. Many thought a tune-up fight would be next as it was much deserved after spending 2013 in the ring with two very dangerous fighters.
However, Canelo chose a different path. While Alfredo Angulo wasn’t expected to beat Canelo in their March 8th bout earlier this year, taking a fight against a hard hitting pressure fighter like Angulo is never an easy task. Angulo’s power is a threat to anyone and some wondered if Canelo was going to be able to handle that type of power. Canelo rose to the occasion in his first solo PPV headliner, drawing in 350k viewers and showing the world that he was ready to put the Mayweather fight behind him by sealing a 10th round TKO victory over Angulo.
“I want to fight the best. I want to fight the most dangerous fighter’s our there.” The words of Canelo couldn’t have been more clear, and even against the advice of promoter Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo has now signed on to face one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport of boxing, Erislandy Lara. A guy that no one wants to fight. It will be the fourth time in four fights that Canelo will have signed on to face a dangerous fighter, and one that he can easily lose.
“I told him that I don’t like this fight.” De La Hoya stated. “But he wants to show the world he is the best. He wants to fight the best. But this is a dangerous fight.”
The Cuban sensation Lara brings in a record of 19 wins with 1 loss and 2 draws. That one blemish on his record came at the hands of Paul Williams, but if you ask anyone that saw that fight Lara dominated Williams in every way. In many eyes, Lara brings in an undefeated record and is coming off two very impressive wins, one over Angulo and one over Austin Trout in which he decimated Trout. The Cuban southpaw is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the game. Yet again, Canelo finds himself in another 50/50 fight.
Canelo hasn’t chosen the easy path. At the age of 23 he’s accomplished more than most dream of in an entire career. With each big fight he follows up with a dangerous opponent. It could be the pressure of the fans, it could be that he needs big fights to make big money, and it could be just what he says, that he wants to fight the best guys out there. In the light middleweight division he has not held back. Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, Alfredo Angulo, and Erislandy Lara are four of the top fighter’s out there, and Canelo will have fought all four in his last four fights after this weekend. That’s a hill to climb for any fighter, but for a 23 year old, it’s more than just a hill, it’s a mountain. Caneo has at least ten more years in the fight game. If he can continue to face the best and not got to worn down in the process who knows what type of fighter he can become when he’s finally hung up the gloves for good. Right now his resume speaks for itself with plenty of more fights to come for the young fighter.