LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez can win a world title in a fourth weight class if he defeats WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on Saturday night.
Alvarez knows, of course, that making this type of history still won’t sway his detractors. In fact, Alvarez realizes that, no matter what he accomplishes for the remainder of his career, he’ll never convert those critics into supporters.
This is especially true of cynics in his native Mexico, according to what Alvarez told a group of reporters prior to a press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand.
“People who don’t support me, who don’t like me, who don’t agree with what I’ve done, they’re never gonna do it,” Alvarez said, according to a translator. “But at the end, they’re gonna see me their entire lives. Therefore, I have nothing to tell them, but simply to continue watching my fights for whatever reason they wanna watch me.”
The 29-year-old Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is listed within the top three on most mythical pound-for-pound lists. He is inarguably boxing’s biggest star outside of the heavyweight division as well.
The polarizing Alvarez has drawn the ire of fierce factions of fans, however, for receiving favorable scores on several judges’ cards during his 14-year pro career.
Most notably, his draw with Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2017, his majority-decision defeat of Golovkin in their rematch a year ago and his split-decision defeat of Erislandy Lara in July 2014 have caused controversy. Judge CJ Ross even scored Alvarez’s fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. a draw in September 2013, despite that Mayweather decisively defeated Alvarez in that 12-round, 154-pound title bout.
Alvarez also has been disparaged for failing a performance-enhancing drug test last year that drew a six-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. His clenbuterol ordeal also forced a four-month postponement of his rematch against Golovkin.
Once he edged Golovkin in their rematch, skeptics lambasted Alvarez’s third-round stoppage of Rocky Fielding last December 15. Alvarez technically became a world champion in a third weight class by defeating Fielding, but England’s Fielding was the WBA’s secondary titlist in the super middleweight division.
The WBA’s true champion at 168 pounds, Callum Smith, knocked out Fielding in the first round of their fight three years earlier.
If Alvarez defeats Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), his win would be received more favorably. The accomplished Kovalev, even at 36, is much more formidable than Fielding and is the WBO’s only light heavyweight champion.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.