Canelo Alvarez agrees with his huge, growing group of critics.
The undisputed super middleweight champion admits that he hasn’t looked like the same man in his past “few fights” as the boxer who was generally regarded as the sport’s pound-for-pound king not all that long ago. The four-division champion made that surprising disclosure during Showtime’s second episode of “ALL ACCESS: Canelo vs. Jermell Charlo,” which premiered on the premium cable network recently.
“Boxing-wise, I wasn’t 100 percent,” Alvarez said, according to a translation that scrolled across the screen. “But critics are always looking for something, aren’t they? And obviously, I agree with them, that I haven’t looked the last few fights like I used to. And I don’t want to just give a rebuttal. I’d prefer to show them. And in this fight, you are going to see the difference.”
Alvarez, who turned 33 in July, has won each of his last two fights, both 12-round super middleweight championship matches, by unanimous decision over rival Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder. Dmitry Bivol beat Alvarez convincingly on points in the bout before his victory over Golovkin, but that 12-round fight was contested at the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds, for Bivol’s WBA belt.
A rematch versus Bivol never materialized, which led Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) to agree to a three-fight deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. The first fight of that agreement is a September 30 showdown with Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), the undisputed junior middleweight champion who will move up two weight classes to challenge Alvarez for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound crowns.
Showtime Pay-Per-View will air Alvarez-Charlo as the main event of a four-fight show from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (8 p.m. EDT: 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).
Oddsmakers have established Alvarez as a 4-1 favorite to beat Charlo, in large part because Charlo will move up 14 pounds to face the Mexican superstar. Conversely, Alvarez is 7-0 in super middleweight fights, including four knockouts, and has shown a granite chin even in his two fights contested at the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds.
The Guadalajara native’s loss to Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) seemed more one-sided than the scorecards showed. Alvarez won five rounds apiece on the cards of judges Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld, who all scored Russia’s Bivol a 115-113 winner in May 2022 at T-Mobile Arena.
Alvarez fared better against Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs), who was 40 when they fought for the third time last September 17 at T-Mobile Arena. The former junior middleweight, middleweight and light heavyweight champ defeated Golovkin by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113.
London’s Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs), who was the mandatory challenger for Alvarez’s WBO super middleweight title, got up from a fifth-round knockdown and made it to the final bell May 6 at Akron Stadium in Zapopan, Mexico. Alvarez won by large margins on all three scorecards (120-107, 118-109, 118-109), yet even he was displeased with his first performance since he underwent surgery on his left wrist last October.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.