Canelo Alvarez has a resume as robust and resounding as any fighter in the sport.
The four-division champion Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) is fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Callum Smith, winning the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine super middleweight championship in the process.
It was Alvarez’s first big splash at 168 pounds, the division of which he plans on exclusively campaigning in 2021.
Alvarez’s high-class efforts in recent bouts have earned him the No. 1 spot on BoxingScene.com’s pound-for-pound list, as ranked by managing editor Cliff Rold.
The Mexican superstar also enjoys top P4P honors from the likes of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, Ring Magazine and The Athletic.
ESPN, however, has a different view on things. In their end of year rankings, the media company that has a TV deal with Top Rank ranked Terence Crawford as the No. 1 P4P fighter in the sport. Alvarez comes in at No. 2.
Alvarez’s trainer, manager and lifelong friend Eddy Reynoso told BoxingScene.com that his pupil should be uniformly considered the sport's top-ranked P4P fighter.
“Saul is accomplishing feats that no one else has had before in boxing. He’s cemented his career and legacy,” said Reynoso. “That’s why he’s the best, pound for pound. The politics of anti-Canelo people is the reason why he’s not No. 1 on some lists. If anti-Canelo people were to vote with their guts, I would acknowledge it.”
Reynoso is biased with his own fighter, of course, but he has a strong and very valid argument.
Alvarez has crusaded admirably through 154, 160, 168 and 175 for the last decade.
Since 2010, he has beaten, in order, the likes of: Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, Rocky Fielding, Gennady Golovkin (one draw as well), Julio César Chávez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito López, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintrón, Matthew Hatton and Carlos Baldomir.
His last three fights have taken place in three different divisions (168, 175 and 160).
His lone career blemish is a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013 when he was still a green fighter. Some detractors also argue that he lost one of the fights against Golovkin.
Crawford, meanwhile, is a three-division champion at 135, 140 and 147. He was a unified and undisputed champion at 140, collecting all four belts from the major sanctioning bodies before moving up in weight.
Crawford is currently the WBO welterweight champion, the division of which he’s campaigned in since 2018, beating the likes of Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez Jr., Amir Khan, Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Kell Brook along the way. He’s still seeking a career-defining fight, namely with Errol Spence Jr.
Reynoso believes the P4P proof is ultimately in the pudding.
“Saul has been fighting better fighters than Terence Crawford, and that’s what really counts,” said Reynoso. “Crawford has not yet accomplished what Canelo has.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com