LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya don’t have the close relationship they once had.
That didn’t prevent Alvarez’s promoter from continuing to tout his fighter’s greatness Saturday night.
After watching Alvarez knock out WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round at MGM Grand Garden Arena, “The Golden Boy” declared Alvarez the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport. De La Hoya contended during a post-fight press conference at MGM Grand that Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) has surpassed anything Vasiliy Lomachenko and Terence Crawford have accomplished.
Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), a three-weight world champion who holds the WBA, WBC and WBO lightweight titles, and Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), another three-division champion who owns the WBO welterweight crown, typically are ranked ahead of the Mexican icon on pound-for-pound lists.
“We couldn’t be happier with Canelo’s performance,” De La Hoya said. “You know, his calculation, his game plan, what he was trying to accomplish, we all knew, within Golden Boy, that this fight wasn’t gonna end in one, two, three, six, eight rounds. We knew that this fight was gonna end in 10, 11 rounds, and that’s exactly what happened. Canelo is a fighter who will continue to prove everyone wrong. And I have to admit, at times he proves me wrong. But that’s who Canelo is. Canelo is a fighter who is special, and therefore we must appreciate, we must acknowledge that he is one of the best, if not the best, Mexican fighter [ever].
“But he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. And we have to give him that acknowledgement. We have to understand that Canelo moved [up] two weight divisions. To fight at light heavyweight, you can’t tell me that Crawford or Lomachenko or anybody else in boxing is daring to be great, like Canelo. Is anybody else moving up in weight class? Is anybody unifying titles? No. Canelo is, because he wants to be great. He wants to leave a legacy, and that’s what legends do, is leave a legacy and take risks. You know, if you wanna become a great fighter, you have to take risks, and that’s exactly what Canelo did tonight. Yes, it was difficult, but he did a hell of a job.”
The 29-year-old Alvarez added a world title in a fourth weight class by beating Russia’s Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs).
His critics contend that his super middleweight championship victory over Rocky Fielding 10 ½ months ago wasn’t legitimate because England’s Fielding only owned the WBA’s secondary 168-pound title. The WBA’s true 168-pound champ, Callum Smith, stopped Fielding in the first round of their November 2015 bout.
Nevertheless, Alvarez now owns titles in three divisions – light heavyweight (WBO), super middleweight (WBA) and middleweight (WBA, WBC franchise champion). Alvarez is ranked No. 4 on BoxingScene.com’s pound-for-pound list, and No. 3 by ESPN.com and The Ring magazine.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing