Canelo Alvarez has long been one of the most effective body punchers in boxing.

Jermell Charlo’s former trainer thinks that the undisputed junior middleweight champion must make Alvarez pay to the body, though, to give himself the best chance of pulling off an upset September 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ronnie Shields stressed this strategy because he knows that it’ll be difficult for Charlo, though a hard puncher in the 154-pound division, to hurt the durable Alvarez with head shots in their 12-round, 168-pound championship clash.

Implementing this plan will require the taller underdog to show a greater willingness than most of Alvarez’s opponents to slow down the fully unified super middleweight champion with impactful body blows. Most of Alvarez’s opponents don’t dig to his body because moving close enough inside to employ that strategy can be dangerous.

Shields explained the importance of Charlo committing to attacking Alvarez’s body during a recent virtual trainers’ roundtable hosted by Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions.

“Yes, he has a good chin,” Shields said in reference to Alvarez. “He does. He has that. But, you know, the old saying, ‘Kill the body, the head will die.’ Charlo has to go the body. You don’t see a lotta fighters go to Canelo’s body, and because they know that you have to get close enough to do it. So, they’re gonna have to devise a scheme to where he can get in some body shots and possibly, you know, just wear Canelo down just a little bit, so he can hit him on top.”

Houston’s Shields trained Charlo until the IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO 154-pound champion hired Derrick James to work with him. Shields has been the longtime trainer of Jermell Charlo’s twin brother, undefeated Jermall Charlo, who owns the WBC middleweight title despite that he hasn’t fought since June 2021.

It initially seemed as if Jermall Charlo would move up eight pounds, from the middleweight limit of 160 to the 168-pound division, to challenge Alvarez in this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. Jermell Charlo happily accepted this assignment once Jermall Charlo turned down a shot at Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight crowns.

Guadalajara’s Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) is listed by most sportsbooks as a 4-1 favorite to beat Jermell Charlo in this battle between 33-year-old, fully unified champions. Houston’s Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) has moved up two weight classes, 14 pounds altogether, and he hasn’t fought since he knocked out Argentina’s Brian Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) in the 10th round of their 154-pound championship rematch in May 2022 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.