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The Ladder To Stardom: Canelo's Ups (Many) and Downs (Few)

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By Michael Rosenthal

Canelo Alvarez has built himself into arguably the No. 1 attraction in boxing on a step-by-step basis over the last decade.

The Mexican outpointed Matthew Hatton to win his first of seven major titles in 2011 and followed with 17 major events – a calculated mélange of mismatches and legitimate challenges, stay-busy fights and superfights – to climb onto pound-for-pound lists and into the hearts of fans.

Alvarez’s next challenge: He faces dangerous Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight title-unification bout Saturday in Las Vegas on DAZN.

Here is a list of those 18 fights (starting with the Hatton bout) and Alvarez’s level of accomplishment in each outing, rated in significance by 1-to-5 stars.

MATTHEW HATTON
March 5, 2011, Anaheim, California
Result: UD 12
At stake: Vacant WBC junior middleweight title
Summary: This was a manufactured title fight, as Hatton hadn’t earned the opportunity. The result – a near shutout – was predictable. It was Alvarez’s first major title, though. That’s something.
Accomplishment: *

RYAN RHODES
June 18, 2011, Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Mexico
Result: TKO 12
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC junior middleweight title
Summary: Rhodes, Alvarez’s second consecutive British opponent, was no more than a solid pro. He certainly was no threat to Alvarez in his first title defense.
Accomplishment: *

ALFONSO GOMEZ
September 17, 2011, Los Angeles
Result: TKO 6
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC junior middleweight title
Summary: Gomez had his moments as a pro (he stopped faded versions of Arturo Gatti and Jose Luis Castillo) but, like Rhodes, he was a fringe contender at best. He was in over his head against Alvarez.
Accomplishment: *

canelo-alvarez (2)_26

KERMIT CINTRON
November 26, 2011, Mexico City
Result: TKO 5
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC junior middleweight title
Summary: Cintron had been a 147-pound titleholder but was in decline by the time he met Alvarez, having lost back-to-back fights to Paul Williams and Carlos Molina shortly before this matchup. No one was surprised when Cintron lasted less than five full rounds.
Accomplishment: *

SHANE MOSLEY
May 5, 2012, Las Vegas
Result: UD 12
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC junior middleweight title
Summary: Mosley was the biggest name on Alvarez’s resume at that time but he was a shell of what he had been. He was 40 and had lost badly to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in two of his previous three fights. Still, dominating a star of this magnitude was a solid statement.
Accomplishment: **

JOSESITO LOPEZ
September 15, 2012, Las Vegas
Result: TKO 5
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC junior middleweight title
Summary: Lopez is a tough guy but he had no business challenging Alvarez at 154 pounds, as he had fought at 140 two fights earlier. The result was all too predictable.
Accomplishment: *

AUSTIN TROUT
April 20, 2013, San Antonio
Result: UD 12
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC and Trout’s WBA junior middleweight titles
Summary: Trout represented the first serious risk of Alvarez’s championship-level career. The WBA titleholder was an unbeaten southpaw coming off a one-sided victory over future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto. He was no joke. Some believe the competitive fight was closer than the scores (115-112, 118-109, 116-111) indicated. Still, this was a significant step in Alvarez’s career.
Accomplishment: ****

FLOYD MAYWEATHER
March 5, 2011, Las Vegas
Result: MD 12
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC and WBA junior middleweight titles
Summary: The philosophy going in was obvious: Alvarez had nothing to lose aside from the “0” in his loss column. If he beat Mayweather, he’d be a conquering hero. If he lost, well, there is no shame in losing to the best in the business when you’re only 23 years old. Still, Mayweather’s utter domination (C.J. Ross’ bizarre 114-114 score aside) was an awful look for Alvarez.
Accomplishment: *

ALFREDO ANGULO
March 8, 2014, Las Vegas
Result: TKO 10
At stake: No titles
Summary: Alvarez’s post-Mayweather bounce-back fight was never meant to be a significant challenge. Angulo was tough but not in Alvarez’s league.
Accomplishment: *

ERISLANDY LARA
July 12, 2014
Result: SD 12
At stake: No titles
Summary: Some of Alvarez’s handlers reportedly didn’t want this fight because of Lara’s impressive skillset but Canelo insisted and it paid off. The scoring (115-113, 117-111, 113-115) was controversial – many believe Lara was cheated – but, at the very least, Alvarez proved he could compete on roughly even terms with a master boxer. Another important step.
Accomplishment: ***

JAMES KIRKLAND
May 9, 2015, Houston
Result: KO 3
At stake: No titles
Summary: This matchup was about fun, not competitiveness. Kirkland’s wildly aggressive style suggested fans would be served an entertaining fight and on one was disappointed, as the underdog went down three times before the “fight” was stopped.
Accomplishment: *

MIGUEL COTTO
November 21, 2015, Las Vegas
Result: UD 12
At stake: Vacant WBC middleweight title
Summary: Cotto, 35, made for an important fight because of his name recognition but he wasn’t the threat he might’ve been at one time. His KO victory over Sergio Martinez two fights earlier was sensational but also an illusion, as Martinez was fighting on only one good leg. Still, many considered Cotto a good test for Alvarez. And he passed it. Some believe the scoring (118-110, 119-109, 117-111) was too wide in Alvarez’s favor but few credible sources questioned the decision.
Accomplishment: ***

AMIR KHAN
May 7, 2016, Las Vegas
Result: KO 6
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC middleweight title
Summary: Khan had the ability but not the size – or chin – to tangle with someone at Alvarez’s level even though this was an interesting matchup. The fight was competitive until Alvarez ended matters with a single blow, an overhand right hand that put Khan to sleep.
Accomplishment: *

LIAM SMITH
September 17, 2016, Arlington, Texas
Result: KO 9
At stake: Vacant WBO junior middleweight title
Summary: Alvarez gave up his WBC 160-pound title rather than be forced to defend against Gennady Golovkin, which was really the only interesting thing about this matchup. Smith was another of those solid guys who had no chance of competing with a fighter of Alvarez’s abilities.
Accomplishment: *

JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR.
May 6, 2017, Las Vegas
Result: UD 12
At stake: No titles
Summary: The all-Mexican showdown had been talked about for years but everyone knew this was an easy payday for Alvarez, who seemed to win every second of every round en route to a shutout decision (120-108 on all three cards). The fight took place at a catch-weight of 164 pounds.
Accomplishment: *

GENNADY GOLOVKIN I
September 16, 2017, Las Vegas
Result: SD DRAW 12
At stake: Golovkin’s IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Summary: This long-awaited matchup was supposed to determine once and for all how good Alvarez was. In the end, it raised as many questions as it answered. Alvarez was competitive with Golovkin but most observers thought the judges stole a victory from Triple-G, with most ire focused on Adalaide Byrd’s ridiculous 118-110 score for Alvarez. The challenger did prove he could fight on roughly even terms with the champion, which reaffirmed his place among the best in the business.
Accomplishment: **

GENNADY GOLOVKIN II
September 15, 2018, Las Vegas
Result: MD 12
At stake: Golovkin’s WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Summary: The rematch, postponed because of Alvarez’s suspension for a failed drug test, resembled the original in that it was a competitive, give-and-take fight that arguably could’ve gone either way. This time, Alvarez emerged with a defining victory even though many thought Golovkin again did enough to win. At least the scores were palatable: 114-114, 115-113, 115-113. The main thing missing for Alvarez? A clear victory.
Accomplishment: ****

ROCKY FIELDING
December 15, 2018
Result: TKO 3
At stake: Fielding’s worthless WBA “regular” super middleweight title
Summary: This was a sneaky way for Alvarez to win a title in a third weight division because Fielding, another fringe contender for actual major titles, was nowhere near Alvarez’s class.
Accomplishment: *

Michael Rosenthal was the 2018 winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Nat Fleischer Award for excellence in boxing journalism. He has covered boxing in Los Angeles and beyond for almost three decades. Follow him at @mrosenthal_box.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Bjl12 on 05-04-2019

Michael Rosenthal is a d[I]ick[/I] sucking fa[B]gg[/B]ot [MENTION=10981]BIGPOPPAPUMP[/MENTION] you [I]fu[/I]cking CHODE using little pansies to write for you. Lil White Breadman whines about the cancer of boxing fans, but uses diverse and polarizing bloggers like this jerkoff. Man suck a…

Comment by kushking on 05-04-2019

[QUOTE=Elastic Recoil;19713561]He took clenbuterol when he didn't need to He forced his opponents to fight at catchweights when he didn't need to He avoided Golovkin and vacated the WBC middleweight title when he didn't need to Seemingly gifted decisions by…

Comment by Elastic Recoil on 05-04-2019

[QUOTE=aboutfkntime;19713026]he selected Trout, when he didn't have to..... he selected Lara, when he didn't have to..... he selected Golovkin in his first real fight at 160, when he didn't have to..... and he selected Danny Jacobs, when he didn't have…

Comment by mxtali on 05-04-2019

[QUOTE=Robertthebruce;19712949]His PED conviction hangs over him. He is a cheat like Miller. His excuse is just as bad as Furys eating uncastrated wild boar lol. P4P Lomachenko is the best without question he is 100% clear cut best in his…

Comment by mxtali on 05-04-2019

[QUOTE=TheCell8;19712841]Here's what Canelo is missing and what hurts in P4P discussion: He lacks a signature win over an A level opponent. By signature I mean clear cut decisive victory where he wins at least 8-9 rounds. His 4 biggest victories:…

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