Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Victorious Canelo Alvarez Still a Work in Fighting Progress

image

By Lyle Fitzsimmons

Given all he’s accomplished, it’s easy to forget Canelo Alvarez is just 26.

He turned pro as a 139-pound teenager, won his first regional title before he could buy a drink to celebrate and was a world champion for the first time at age 20.

It’s a level of prodigy that neither Floyd Mayweather Jr. nor Manny Pacquiao can match.

But while his youth might lead fans to believe there’s still significant room for improvement, there’s equal reason to surmise that after 12 pro years and 51 pro dates, Canelo is what he is.

The truth probably lies in the middle.

Though it’d be ludicrous to expect Alvarez to morph into a swarming aggressor like Mike Tyson or a defensive wizard like Pernell Whitaker, there are still some tweaks that would serve him well as he prepares to compete with the likes of Gennady Golovkin.

SUSTAIN THE AGGRESSION

It’s hard to find real fault with most of his results. And whenever a fighter has the sort of pop that can render an opponent unconscious with a single punch, he’s never prohibitively out of a fight.

Nevertheless, there’s still some reason for concern against top-end foes.

As early rounds against the likes of Amir Khan drifted to the middle, there wasn’t a huge difference in how the sessions looked. The Brit had faster hands and was moving strategically, and while Alvarez was able to intermittently land with blows to the body and occasionally to the head, it wasn’t as if the knockout had appeared at all imminent at any point.

Similar to how he looked against Mayweather in 2013, he instead appeared content to fight at his opponent’s pace with the hope that something would eventually come out of nowhere.

It ultimately did, but a truth serum dose to Team Canelo would have surely revealed a good bit of angst as the rounds piled up.

If the shot hadn’t come, who knows?

canelo-chavez-fight (22)

USE THE JAB MORE

Most would agree that while Alvarez is a proud Mexican, he’s not the typical “Mexican” fighter.

Instead, many suggest, the stratum he occupies is somewhere between relentless and sublime.

He labels himself as a boxer rather than a puncher, but the strategy he executes toward that end –particularly when his foes are not of the straightforward variety – makes those matchups difficult.

There was a noticeable lack of jabbing against Khan, a factor that helped allow the Englishman to control the pace.

It was even more noticeable in 2013 against Mayweather, who was able to keep Canelo’s overall output to barely more than 40 punches a round while winning the 36-minute jabbing contest by a 139-44 count.

Canelo is faster than a lot of Mexican fighters, which allows him to use other shots and masks the fundamental void to some extent. But when the match with Golovkin comes off, keeping the Kazakhstan slugger busy with a punishing range-finder will make the task a trifle easier.

CUT OFF THE RING

Those who remained awake through all 12 rounds of Alvarez’s 2014 track meet with Erislandy Lara will recall the continual trouble he had engaging with the fleet-footed Cuban.

A fighter who’s determined not to engage will be a challenge for anyone, but Canelo spent a significant portion of the fight following Lara’s lead rather than using footwork to limit his routes.

He’s done a much better job of it since, though the strategy of subsequent opponents has been built far more on hand speed and far less on the sort of movement Lara relied upon.

If he finds himself in with another would-be sprinter, Alvarez will be best served by space-saving fundamentals like moving laterally, maintaining effective punching space and varying the power of his shots – using light shots to establish distance and then scoring points with damaging hard shots.

THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE

The bottom line, in Alvarez's case, is ironically simple.

Barring a drastic change in corner staff or a declaration that he wants to take a 180 from an approach he's employed since age 15, it'll be quite difficult to teach a mid-20s dog new tricks.

And given the fact that said dog has won two world titles and reached the top half of most pound-for-pound lists, such full-scale upheaval is really not necessary.

Subtle tweaks would provide situational help for stylistically difficult foes like Lara and Khan. Meanwhile, the acumen he's already proven on the way up will be enough to let him compete with most of the others he's likely to come across as his career evolves through its peak years.

Will he ever be the world's best fighter? No.

But that doesn't mean he won’t be worth watching this September.

* * * * * * * * * *

This week’s title-fight schedule:

SATURDAY
IBF mini flyweight title – Site TBA, Mexico
Jose Argumedo (champion/No. 4 IWBR) vs. Gabriel Mendoza (Unranked IBF/Unranked IWBR)
Argumedo (19-3-1, 11 KO): Third title defense; Seventh scheduled 12-round fight (6-0, 3 KO)
Mendoza (28-4-2, 23 KO): First title fight; Never won a fight outside of Colombia (0-2, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Argumedo has succeeded over the distance against a higher grade of foe. Add the fact that Mendoza’s never won on non-home turf and this one becomes an easy mark. Argumedo in 7

WBA super flyweight title – Birmingham, United Kingdom
Khalid Yafai (champion/No. 6 IWBR) vs. Suguru Muranaka (No. 10 WBA/Unranked IWBR)
Yafai (21-0, 14 KO): First title defense; Two KOs in three Birmingham fights (3-0, 2 KO)
Muranaka (25-2-1, 8 KO): First title fight; First fight scheduled for 12 rounds
Fitzbitz says: The challenge has a decade’s worth of experience, though none of it comes on a particularly high level or away from his backward. That’ll show when adversity arrives. Yafai in 8

Last week's picks: 1-0 (WIN: Parker)
2017 picks record: 31-10 (75.6 percent)
Overall picks record: 853-284 (75.0 percent)

NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by whoseyourdaddy on 05-09-2017

[QUOTE=bluemax;17657655]Fighting GGG should prove interesting. Although GGG is a little past his prime it will still be the first time in quite a while where Canelo is fighting in a boxing match where he isn't fighting an opponent who is…

Comment by Mexican_Puppet on 05-09-2017

[QUOTE=Progrssive_Jedi;17657668]Canelo fight with Lara and Floyd will his last real threats, and it's been years. Kirkland, Cotto, Khan (I can't believe that's real), Smith and Zombie Chavez. That's a whole lot of easy fights for the heavy Canelo. Brook likely…

Comment by Blue Heffner on 05-09-2017

[QUOTE=Mexican_Puppet;17656636]Great article. Canelo is better than the young fighter of 2012 than fought with Floyd. He looks like a experienced champ right know.[/QUOTE] Lol...you're trippin. While I give Canelo credit for getting better. He looks much improved from 2012. But…

Comment by Progrssive_Jedi on 05-09-2017

Canelo fight with Lara and Floyd will his last real threats, and it's been years. Kirkland, Cotto, Khan (I can't believe that's real), Smith and Zombie Chavez. That's a whole lot of easy fights for the heavy Canelo. Brook likely…

Comment by bluemax on 05-09-2017

Fighting GGG should prove interesting. Although GGG is a little past his prime it will still be the first time in quite a while where Canelo is fighting in a boxing match where he isn't fighting an opponent who is…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (21)
Top Headlines Bradley Skeete Vows To Chase Down Jeff Horn Title Fight Arum Eyes Joseph Parker vs. Bryant Jennings, Next Spring on ESPN 30 Day Weight: Gennady Golovkin Comes in at 170-Pounds McGregor: I Don't Even Believe Mayweather Will Exit Round One! Alamo-Vaas, Ortiz-Lavinanza: WBC Belts at Stake in Puerto Rico NSAC Head: Glove Change Was in Best Interest of Fighters, Fans Dana White: May-Mac 'Biggest Fight Ever,' Will Break All Records McGregor To Malignaggi: Shut Up & Join the Queue to Fight Me! Video: Miguel Cotto Discusses His Long Career, More Mosley Explains That Botched Surgery Forced Retirement Decision Roach is Confident That Miguel Cotto Will Knock Kamegai Out Conor McGregor Reacts To Boxers Doing The 'McGregor Challenge' Photos: Miguel Cotto Putting in Work For Kamegai Showdown McGregor: Mayweather Fight Isn't a 'Black Versus White' Thing Ellerbe: Smaller Gloves Will Have Impact on Mayweather-McGregor Photos: Bryant Jennings, Gvozdyk, Shakur Stevenson - Workouts Photos: Terence Crawford, Julius Indongo - Putting in Work Terence Crawford Didn't Know Who Julius Indongo Was a Year Ago Frampton Reportedly Close To Parting Ways With Barry McGuigan Joseph Diaz vs. Jorge Lara in Play For Canelo-Golovkin Ellerbe Confident: Mayweather-McGregor Ends in KO, Likely Early Photos: Luis Nery Shocks Shinsuke Yamanaka For WBC Crown Yunier Dorticos vs. Dmitry Kudryashov - Ticket Information Michael Bisping Willing To Do 'Boxing Match' With Tony Bellew Mayweather vs. McGregor: NSAC Approves Use of 8-Ounce Gloves Mayweather-McGregor: Robert Byrd as Referee, Judges Selected Indongo in Great Shape For Crawford, No Issue With Weight Mayweather: I Won't Be Cautious, Fans Deserve a Blockbuster Michael Conlan Excited, Details a Very Active Fight Schedule Oscar Valdez Wants to Fight Winner of Santa-Cruz-Mares Rematch Abel Sanchez Has Seen 'Tremendous Improvement' In Canelo Crawford Would Favor Keith Thurman to Beat Errol Spence Frank Warren: Billy Joe Saunders is Back in Business! Luis Nery-Shinsuke Yamanaka: Post-Fight Report Card Anthony Mundine Very Serious About Rugby League Comeback Shane Mosley Retiring From Boxing, No Plans To Fight Again Mayweather Sr: Pacquiao Lost Legit, Horn Will Beat Him Worse! Malignaggi: McGregor Fans Adorable - Jump on His Every Word! Jeff Horn vs. Manny Pacquiao Rematch Inching Closer To a Deal Bryant Jennings Embraces Return: It’s Definitely Back To Business
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement