by David P. Greisman
“I don’t see a whole lot of guys out there beating this kid. I really don’t.”
That was Ronnie Shields’ opinion less than 48 hours after watching Saul Alvarez defeat a fighter he trained, Kermit Cintron, by fifth-round technical knockout.
With what he saw in a Mexico City bullring fresh on his mind, Shields spoke to BoxingScene.com about the 21-year-old called “Canelo” and where the young titleholder stands in the junior-middleweight division.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on Saul Alvarez after seeing him up close?
Shields: “He’s a lot better than I thought he was. Looking at him on tape and looking at him fight live, he’s a very different person. When you see him on tape, you see a lot of mistakes that he does make. But in the ring, he looks so different. He’s a lot better than I thought he was.
“He goes for the knockout with every punch. Every punch he throws is a knockout shot. Kermit was catching the left hook like he was supposed to, but he wasn’t firing back. So the kid didn’t really have nothing to fear, because he didn’t have nothing coming back at him.
“But also, watching him, he’s a lot faster than I thought he was. When he started letting combinations go, the kid’s hands are really fast. And, like I said, every punch has knockout written all over them. People sleep on this kid. He’s definitely a sleeper. If you sleep on him, he’s going to knock you out, because he has power in both hands.”
BoxingScene.com: Alvarez called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. after the fight…
Shields: “I think if this kid fights a guy like Floyd Mayweather, I think Floyd would out-point him, just for the simple reason of styles. Floyd can counter, he can get out of the way, he has the defense and everything to make this kid miss a lot. But I don’t see a whole lot of guys out there beating this kid. I really don’t.”
BoxingScene.com: What about Alvarez against the other junior middleweights out there, such as James Kirkland?
Shields: “I think Kirkland has the best chance to beat him, because Kirkland is not going to show him any respect whatsoever. Kirkland’s going to run out there and jump on top of him. I don’t see him fighting Kirkland because it’s too hard of a fight right now.
“Maybe in a year or two, the kid may have a chance against Kirkland. But right now I don’t see the kid having any chance against Kirkland. Kirkland can back him up and Kirkland hurt him. I don’t think they’ll fight Kirkland. The kid better lose his belt [rather] than fight Kirkland right now.”
BoxingScene.com: What about Alvarez against Erislandy Lara, Paul Williams or Alfredo Angulo?
Shields: “I think the kid will knock Angulo out, too. Angulo can only fight one way, and you have to do be able to go more than one way with this kid. You either have to out-power him or you got to outbox him, and I don’t think Angulo can do either one with this kid right now.
“Angulo better stay away from this kid unless he’s just going for a big payday. That’s going to be the end of his career, because this kid’s definitely going to knock him out.
“Lara, I’d love that fight because Lara is a differe species than Kermit and Angulo and than Kirkland, because Lara has the ability to out-box this kid. I would love that fight for Erislandy Lara.
“But other than Mayweather, Lara and Kirkland, this kid is going to be hard to beat. Paul Williams wouldn’t stand a chance with this kid, because Paul Williams, he has no defense, and he would come in and this kid would hit him with the hooks. And that’s what you don’t want to get hit with, and against a southpaw, hooks work tremendously well.
“With this kid’s power, the way he throws his body into those hooks, I don’t think Paul Williams is going to be able to get out of the way. I don’t think Paul Williams wants to go that route.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]