There is no doubt that Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is one of the greatest fighters of his generation. The Mexican has won multiple titles in four different weight classes, ranging from light middleweight to light heavyweight, and while he doesn’t have an unblemished CV, the 33-year-old’s 59-2-2 record is to be desired.
Some pundits and fans alike are starting to question whether Canelo’s powers in the squared circle are starting to diminish, however. He suffered a shock defeat to Dmitry Bivol when trying to strip the Russian of his WBA (super) light-heavyweight belt at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in May, losing via unanimous decision.
Canelo has bounced back since, beating Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin for a second time last September to put their thrilling trilogy in the middleweight division to bed and he defeated Londoner John Ryder earlier this year in his typical Cinco de Mayo bout.
The Mexican did not look convincing in those unanimous decision victories, appearing to run out of steam in the latter rounds while he blamed his hand injury for a below-par showing against Ryder — who not many would have given a chance to go the distance when toe-to-toe in the ring with Canelo at the T-Mobile.
Not many have bought into Canelo’s excuse regarding his performance last time out, with the consensus being that his hand will have fully healed from his surgery, and if it was still causing him bother, he shouldn’t have taken the fight.
Regardless, the 33-year-old has a big point to prove in his upcoming bout against Jermell Charlo in Vegas on September 30. Canelo is, of course, the heavy favourite in the boxing odds at 1/4, while his American counterpart is as far out as 3/1 with some operators.
However, Charlo cannot and should not be overlooked that easily. The Louisiana native is the current undisputed light middleweight champion of the world and has a very respectable record in the ring of 35-1-1, with his last defeat coming against Tony Harrison at the Barclays Center in New York back in 2018 — but he later redeemed himself when beating his compatriot to win back his belt in 2019.
Charlo has rarely put a foot wrong in the squared circle throughout his career, and while Canelo will be his toughest opponent to date, the 33-year-old will be more than up for the task, and his sizeable height and reach advantage over the Mexican could give him the upper hand on the night.
Bivol used his height, range, and jab to beat Canelo and cause one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. While the Russian (6ft) is a couple of inches taller than Charlo (5ft 11in), he still has a notable height advantage over Canelo (5ft 8in) and the American actually has an inch longer reach at 73in.
If Charlo can follow a similar tactic to Bivol, then he has every chance of pulling off a similar upset. But Canelo should be better prepared for that to be the case as he admitted that Charlo’s ability to use distance makes him dangerous, while the Mexican is hoping to use his ‘experience and boxing skills’ to win the fight.