BROCKTON, MA – The public is wondering why the best pound for pound fighter on the planet beat up a Turkish man with all the name recognition of a chart at an eye doctors office last weekend. The long answer requires a PhD in boxing history and intimate knowledge of the sanctioning bodies. The short answer is easy money. It’s hard to hold it against the ginger pound for pound king from Guadalajara. At almost every opportunity he’s chosen a hard nights work.
It started at age 22 when he took the only loss of his career to Floyd Mayweather who’s name and style are both spoilers. Fighting 38 year old Floyd at 22, is akin to Luke Skywalker crashing his X-wing into the swamp then trying to murder Yoda on first sight. Canelo learned his lessons from Floyd. Refined his style and fought the hardest fight he could at every opportunity.
Even guys many felt were being ducked and shut out by the boxing establishment. Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout were both slick lefties. Nobody looks good against these types of fighters. Neither did Canelo. But he fought ‘em and beat ‘em. Putting himself through school.
With Floyd’s retirement in 2015, Canelo was a welcome replacement as boxing’s best defensive fighter. 2016 he also posts the KO of the year. Five rounds of body punching culminated in Amir Khan out cold when Canelo finally decided to go upstairs.
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It put him on a collision course with Khazak wrecking machine Gennady Ganadovich Golovkin. GGG was a technical, powerful immensely skilled and experienced middleweight. Their first clash saw GGG try to chase down Canelo, his excellent jab the only thing able to land consistently on Canelo’s fluid defense. Canelo counter stuck to the rope a dope, trying to draw Golovkin in to find clean counters.
It was a fight worthy of the old days. Deserving to be mentioned along with other middleweight classics like Hagler vs Leonard or Robinson vs Lamotta. It would have been fight of the year if not for the controversy of a draw and similarly amazing clash at heavyweight.
2018 saw the rematch. Which would better the first somehow and earn fight of the year honors. The roles were reversed from the first fight. Canelo stood his ground and GGG boxed. Both did so with complementary competence. Canelo came out ahead the 2nd time around.
2019 Saw him go up to 175lbs and absolutely ice WBO champ Sergei Kovalev. At just 5’7” he was comically undersized at light heavyweight. He dropped back down to 168 and took on Callum smith. A 6’3” Englishman who owns the record at the weight for most jabs ever thrown in 12 rounds. Again Canelo walked him down and while he couldn’t finish Smith he posted landslides on all three cards.
So forgive the red headed Mexican sitting on the pound for pound throne. It’s a long way up. Hard to blame him for the soft touch after a half decade of classics. Almost as an apology it was announced that Canelo would once again take on a horrible stylistic match up in the fleet footed Billy Joe Saunders this coming May. There’s a hundred knives for every king. Canelo has chosen to face them all head on.