Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez is quickly becoming one of the most established pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Having already entered the ring three times this year, the Mexican is riding the crest of a wave — as devastatingly powerful as he is methodical in his approach to fights.
Quickly building a reputation as one of the best in the sport at the moment, he enters Las Vegas with all the belts on the line against Caleb Plant, who will be hungry to continue his unbeaten run, having not fought since January.
Canelo’s ability to finish fights abruptly as well as pick apart his opponent and dominate through every round will make him a favourite, and you only need to look at the trail of destruction, which includes 53 wins before the age of 30, to see why. With that in mind, we thought it was appropriate to run through three of his best career victories so far.
Callum Smith (2020)
At the end of a difficult year for boxing, largely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Álvarez made himself the number one super middleweight with a commanding victory over Callum Smith.
The scouser had earned a controversial victory over Jon Ryder the year before but was simply outclassed in Texas, as the Mexican swooped in and picked up the vacant WBC title.
Despite being the shorter fighter and lacking the physical presence, in comparison to his 6ft3inch opponent, the intelligent movement and timing of strikes allowed Canelo to earn a victory via unanimous decision — one where he controlled almost every round and established his dominance over the division.
Ryan Rhodes (2011)
Perhaps an underrated Canelo performance, but an integral one nonetheless.
Considering how much more experience Ryan Rhodes had over his opponent, you would think it was the Yorkshireman who was still in his early stages of a pro career the way Canelo picked him apart.
The former EBU European Champion looked out of his depth as Álvarez inflicted a number of devastating blows, studying him round by round in a manor akin to Mayweather in his prime — through each round his confidence grew, showing great maturity despite being just shy of his 21st birthday.
Miguel Cotto (2015)
The biggest scalp on Canelo’s list of victories, the win over Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto was comprehensive and despite not getting the knockout against a champion of four different weight classes, this win put his name in the spotlight. You can argue that Amir Khan has a greater attraction with the casual fan in the UK and is more well known, but his skill set pales in comparison to Cotto.
With Canelo’s loss to Mayweather having narrowly passed its 2-year anniversary, the Mexican had nothing to lose heading into the ring in Nevada. The fight was toe-to-toe in its latter stages but purely down to the desperation of Cotto, who threw everything he had at Canelo but couldn’t find the right answers. It would be another nine months before Alvarez stepped in the ring again, beating Khan and then Liam Smith to set up his feud with Gennady Golovkin.