Is Canelo more popular than he is talented?
By Dan Ambrose: It was interesting recently to see the unproven but HIGHLY popular red-haired Mexican fighter WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KO’s) trying to throw his weight around to pressure boxing’s #1 fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. into fighting him in September.
It was kind of an odd thing because Canelo, a Golden Boy Promoted fighter, has gotten used to having things his own way due to his huge popularity among Mexican boxing fans.
But the thing is Canelo hasn’t proven himself to be in the same class as Mayweather or even some of the top fighters, and it just seems like Canelo is someone that is getting to the top of the sport more based on his popularity with his diehard Mexican fans than on what he’s actually done in the ring. What has Canelo done during his career?
Not much to be honest. His best wins have come against Ryan Rhodes, Matthew Hatton, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley and Josesito Lopez. The resume just isn’t there for Canelo, and that’s why it seemed so strange that Canelo was trying to make a deal with Mayweather that he would fight on his May 4th card in exchange for Mayweather fighting him.
It just looked someone who hadn’t paid his dues, and was trying to skip to the head of the line without having to prove himself. That move by Canelo came across like he was putting himself in the same class as the pound-for-pound great based on his popularity rather than what he’d done in the ring.
That just seems so wrong. Canelo isn’t yet in the position to be pressuring guys like Mayweather into fighting him. Canelo won his WBC title by facing a welterweight fringe contender Matthew Hatton for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title in 2011. Why Hatton was allowed to skip over the top junior middleweight contenders Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan for Canelo to face him instead of one of them is anyone’s guess.
The World Boxing Council allowed that to happen. Canelo has done very little as the WBC champion in terms of facing quality opponents. He’s defended his title five times successfully against Rhodes, Cintron, Mosley, Lopez and Gomez. Those aren’t dangerous junior middleweights.
Canelo is facing his first real test of his career against Austin Trout on April 20th in San Antonio, Texas. If Canelo loses this fight, and a lot of people think he will, he’s going to look silly given the pressure he was trying to put on Mayweather to fight him. One gets the sense that Trout is going to knock Canelo down a peg by beating him in this fight. Canelo will likely remain highly popular even in losing to Trout.