Canelo Christmas: He Is A Gift To the Sport



Canelo Christmas: He Is A Gift To the Sport

For a guy who has stayed out of trouble, had very little controversy (the 6-month PED suspension in 2018, notwithstanding) in his career, has a ton of quality scalps on his resume, and fights at an unusually high pace for top-flight boxer, Canelo Alvarez is a surprisingly polarizing figure.

Now, part of this I chalk up to fight fans gonna be fight fans.

Too many of us watch the game (both inside and out of the ring) with our hearts and not our eyes and brains.

I don’t mean that as an insult to anyone reading this, I’ve been guilty of that too.

But Canelo hate can get a little goofy. For a guy who fought Floyd, GGG three times, foolishly moved up in weight to fight Dmitry Bivol, Kovalev, Cotto, and Shane Mosley, he has a curious reputation as a guy who ducks top-tier competition.

And yes, for the record, David Benavidez should absolutely be his next fight.

But I want to get at something else when it comes to Canelo.

I don’t want to talk about his signature wins, his two losses and two draws, the questionable judging of his first two fights with GGG, or how many times he’s moved up in weight, or how many belts he has won.

I want to talk about volume.

Canelo has it over his contemporaries in spades. Let’s do a little math, shall we? At 33 years old, Canelo has fought 68 times.

And yes, I know he started boxing professionally when he was just 15, but if you think that’s a demerit, you might want to sit down and ponder what you were doing before you had reached the age of becoming a legal driver.

I’m betting it wasn’t getting hit in the face for money.

Let’s do a little comparing and contrasting with a good chunk of current champions / big names in the sport at this moment.

Looking at the list below, I have listed the boxer’s name and then the number of fights they’ve had followed by their present age.

Here. We. Go.

Oleksandr Usyk: 21 / 36
Tyson Fury: 35 / 35
Dmitry Bivol: 22 / 33
Arthur Berteviev: 19 / 38
David Benavidez 28 / 27
Jermall Charlo 33 / 33
Erislanday Lara 35 / 40
Jermell Charlo 38 / 33
Terence Crawford 40 / 36
Errol Spence Jr. 29 / 33
Jaron Ennis 30 / 26
Devin Haney 31 / 25
Teofimo 20 / 26
Gervonta 29 / 29
Shakur Stevenson 21 / 25
Naoya Inoue 25 / 33
Gennady Golovkin 45 / 41
Vasilily Lomachenko 20 / 35

So, what do we take away from this quick and dirty bit of data?

Looking at the first number beside each fighter’s name (again, the number of official bouts in their career), the next closest fighter is GGG with 45 fights, and then Terence Crawford with 40.

No one on this list of champions has as many as 60 fights. None of them crest 50 either. Only two have reached 40.

Both of them (GGG and Crawford) are older than Canelo (GGG by eight years, Crawford by three).

Why do I mention their ages? Because neither has a snowball’s chance in Hades of coming anywhere near the number of times Canelo has entered the ring as a prizefighter.

Not if Canelo quit right now and the both fought another ten years each (highly unlikely).

Behind GGG and Crawford are a bunch of champions who are in the thirties and twenties in number of fights, and one (Bertebiev) who isn’t even at 20.

Of those 16 men, ten are as old or older than Canelo. They aren’t getting to 60 fights either. I doubt any of them get to 50.

Of the fighters on that list who are younger than Canelo, only two (Ennis and Haney) have fought as many as 30 times.

What I’m getting at here is no other great boxer in this modern age is ever going to eclipse the number of bouts that Canelo Alvarez has taken on.

Hell, we have to go back multiple eras to create a list of former championship fighters who have eclipsed 68 ring walks.

Of Canelo’s time, Manny Pacquiao sits at 72. A number that Canelo will pass if he continues his two-fight per year average for three more years.

But what about boxing methuselah Bernard Hopkins, you might say? Nope.

B-Hop fought forever, but only climbed through the ropes 65 times. Shane Mosley just 61. Juan Manuel Marquez 64. Erik Morales 61. Floyd? Just 50 bouts on his resume.

You have to get down to fellow Mexican warriors like Marco Antonio Barrera (75 fights) and the insanely active and long-running south of the border legend Julio Caesar Chavez (a whopping 115 bouts) to find fighters who not only surpassed Canelo’s number of 68, but also might not be bested by the ginger-haired Guadalajara native (although I would not bet against him catching Barrera).

Going back even further, Canelo has already fought more times than the following legends:

Wilfred Benitez – 62
Marvin Hagler – 67
Muhammad Ali – 61
Thomas Hearns – 67
Sugar Ray Leonard – 40

You do have to give your props to George Foreman and his 81 trips to the ring, and the Panamanian wild man Roberto Duran with his staggering total of 119.

And look, the history of boxing is long, and I’m not saying I didn’t miss a great fighter or two who may have a few more bouts on their ledger than Canelo while making this list (I’m sure my research isn’t perfect). But that’s not the point.

The greater point is that what we are seeing now, in this era, from Canelo Alvarez in terms of activity and volume is staggering—at least on the sport’s highest rungs.

Say what you will about who Canelo has fought, beaten, lost to, or tied, he’s as old school as it gets when it comes to lacing them up.

He has fought and fought relentlessly. In his 33 years on earth he has averaged more than two fights per year.

That’s starting from birth. The truth is, his kind will likely never orbit our lifetime again—not the way the sport of boxing is currently constructed (and will likely to continue to be).

Love him, like him, or hate him, that fact must be recognized.