by Cliff Rold
But can he take a shot?
There are a lot of questions about young fighters on their way to bigger things, but the biggest one is often about the beard. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, probably because some chicks dig him, maybe because he’s getting star treatment on a thin resume, is getting more questions than most 21-year olds.
Making the 40th start of his career this Saturday, Alvarez might get a chance to answer the big one. His opponent has his flaws but in a tenure full of ups and downs one thing has remained true.
Kermit Cintron can toss bombs.
And Saul Alvarez? That ain’t no Willie Pep. This one has all the makings of a test.
Let’s go the report card.
Current Titles: WBC Jr. Middleweight, 2011-Present, 2 Defenses
Previous Titles: None
Weight: 154 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 151.7 lbs.
Hails from: Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico
Record: 38-0-1, 28 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #6 at Jr. Middleweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 3-0, 2 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Carlos Baldomir, Lovemore N’Dou)
Previous Titles: IBF Welterweight (2006-08, 2 Defenses)
Weight: 154 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 151.25 lbs.
Hails from: Houston, Texas
Record: 33-4-1, 28 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: 3-2, 3 KO, 2 KOBY (3-2-1 including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Lovemore N’Dou)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat or Draw: 3 (Antonio Margarito, Sergio Martinez, Paul Williams)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Alvarez B; Cintron B
Pre-Fight: Power – Alvarez B+; Cintron B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Alvarez C+; Cintron B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Alvarez B; Cintron B
Could the whole power question be misleading? It’s possible. Cintron really doesn’t have many big knockout wins in terms of names. His biggest win in years was upsetting unbeaten Alfredo Angulo and that was in 2009, by decision. It seems ultimately that his power may not quite match his stats. Those shots clearly still kick and Alvarez hasn’t been hit by anyone like Cintron. Taking Cintron’s shots and winning won’t put him on the level of the men who have bested Cintron, but it clears a hurdle to getting there.
Alvarez’s defensive liabilities are part of the fun. He is okay at blocking shots but his head movement is average at best. Add in the offensive mindset that marks him a crowd favorite and he’s got all the ingredients for a matinee idol type fighter, exactly what he is. He’s also a dedicated body puncher with heavy hands, a stiff jab, and firm balance.
Cintron, of the two, is a little better at boxing and moving. He played counterpuncher against Angulo all night. He could try to do the same here and play to some of his strengths. Cintron is taller. Slightly slower of hand, he also has longer arms and can connect from greater range. If he can use lateral movement and that range to get Alvarez to come to him, Cintron can time shots and collect points. Alvarez struggled with the boxing of Alfonso Gomez last time out. Cintron would be wise to go technical.
Even if he does, he’s added miles since Angulo and Alvarez presents a tougher athletic package. Does he have the legs to go late if Alvarez goes to work on his body? Was his lackluster loss to rising contender Carlos Molina earlier this year a sign that his better days are past?
In contrast, does Alvarez have the dimensions to solve a taller man if Cintron can get into any sort of his better, awkward, boxing rhythm?
The intangibles for both men reflect the many questions there are for both.
The thinking here is Alvarez can answer any questions Cintron provides. Alvarez may not be Willie Pep but that’s not what his fans would pay to see anyways. He may not even be Danny Lopez but he might make a run. He’s got the chance for those sorts of action chops over time. He’s going to take some shots this weekend. He’ll survive and, when he does, Cintron will wilt after a decent start. Look for Alvarez to pull through a clear decision.
Report Card Picks 2011: 39-14
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com