The 18th anniversary of Canelo Alvarez’s pro debut will come a little less than a month after his fight with Jermell Charlo.
Alvarez was only 15 years old when he fought for the first time as a professional. The Mexican legend weighed in at 139 pounds, one below the junior welterweight limit, for that fourth-round technical knockout of Abraham Gonzalez in October 2005 at Arena Chololo Larios in Tonala, near his hometown of Guadalajara.
The undisputed super middleweight champion will fight for the 64th time as a pro when he defends his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound crowns against Charlo on September 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. With two fights left thereafter on his three-bout agreement with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, the thought of retirement hasn’t even entered the 33-year-old Alvarez’s mind.
Though critics contend that boxing’s former pound-for-pound king has shown signs of slippage in each of his past three fights, Alvarez assured Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores during his open workout Wednesday that he has plenty of elite-level prizefighting left in him.
“I still feel young, fresh, and I never think about the end of my career,” Alvarez said. “I just train and fight every year and we’ll see. We’ll see in the future, but [I’m] still young. I feel great, I feel strong, and I feel [I’m at] my best.”
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) has won back-to-back 12-round, 168-pound title bouts by unanimous decision since unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol beat him decisively on points in their 12-round, 175-pound championship match 16 months ago at T-Mobile Arena. Those two victories over rival Kazakhstan’s Gennadiy Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) and England’s John Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs), who was the mandatory challenger for Alvarez’s WBO belt, haven’t convinced fans and media that Alvarez is the same fighter that he was when he was commonly considered the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport prior to his loss to Russia’s Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs).
Handicappers have nevertheless established Alvarez as a 4-1 favorite to conquer Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs). Houston’s Charlo is the undisputed 154-pound champion, but he has moved up two weight classes, a total of 14 pounds, to battle Alvarez and he won’t have fought for 16 months by the time he enters the ring for their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
A hand injury primarily has kept Charlo from fighting since he knocked out Argentina’s Brian Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) in the 10th round of their 154-pound championship rematch in May 2022 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Charlo suffered two fractures in his left hand during a sparring session a few days before last Christmas, which led to the postponement and ultimately the cancelation of his WBO-mandated 154-pound championship defense against Australia’s Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.