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Saul Alvarez vs. Cuello this Saturday

By Chris Williams: Unbeaten highly ranked welterweight contender Saul Alvarez (32-0-1, 24 KO’s) takes a slight step up in competition this Saturday night against 26-year-old Argentinean Luciano Leonel Cuello (26-1, 12 KO’s) in a scheduled 12 round bout for little known Word Boxing Council (WBC) Silver light middleweight title at the Arena VFG, in Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s surprising that they’re even bothering to fight for this obscure trinket, because it seems hardly worth it and few boxing fans will care about the made up title. Alvarez, 19, will be turning 20 later this month on July 18th.

He, like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., is incredibly hyped and ranked far higher than he probably should be given his lack of notable opposition. And like Chavez Jr, Alvarez, if you’ve actually seen any of his fights, is horribly flawed in many areas of his game. His hand speed is slow, he has no left hand at all, his defense is nonexistent, and his composure under fire is lacking. He’s been matched ever so carefully against a huge number of soft opponents that he’s been able to build up an impressive record against.

Alvarez’s best opponent of his five year pro career, sadly, was lightweight Jose Miguel Cotto, who Alvarez struggled badly against in his last fight in May. Alvarez was staggered by the 5’5” Cotto, and tagged often until the much bigger 5’9” Alvarez was able to take Cotto out in the 9th. Alvarez is a light middleweight now, and looked like a middleweight against Cotto.

On Saturday night, Alvarez won’t have to worry too much about the power of Cuello, because he’s not a real big puncher, which isn’t that surprising. If he was, chances are good that he wouldn’t be matched against Alvarez. Cuello was beaten by Chavez Jr. by a 10 round decision last year in March 2009. Need I say more? Alvarez should win this fight but will probably continue to slow, sloppy and overly reliant on his right hand. At welterweight, Alvarez was more of a threat because he could overwhelm most of his opponents with his right hand, but at light middleweight, he could be a middle of the road fighter, someone who doesn’t have the ability do really stand out from the crowd.

Since Alvarez is about to turn 20, he’s probably not going to be going back to the welterweight division and will likely continue to fill out as he gets older. It’s doubtful that Alvarez will grow much, if at all. This could mean that we might be seeing the 5’9” Alvarez at middleweight and super middleweight before we know it. At those weights, I see Alvarez having huge problems because he likely won’t have the size or the power to dominate and his speed and defense will likely remain being just as bad as they are right now. I see Alvarez as another Chavez Jr., a good B class fighter but not one that’s able to rise above the hype.

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