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Saul Alvarez vs. Carlos Baldomir on Saturday night

Canelo Alvarez Carlos BaldomirBy Jim Dower: Unbeaten junior middleweight contender Saul Alvarez (33-0-1, 25 KO’s) faces the biggest test of his career on Saturday night against former World Boxing Council welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir (45-12-6, 14 KO’s) in a 12 round bout for the WBC Silver junior middleweight title on the undercard of the Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora bout at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California. This is a big leap up for the young 20-year-old Alvarez to be taking, because he looked pretty beatable two fights ago beating Jose Miguel Cotto, older 33-year-old brother of WBA light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto.

Alvarez was staggered in the 1st round of that fight and was hit regularly by Cotto until Alvarez, with his bigger size, was able to wear down the little 5’5″ Cotto and get a stoppage victory in the 9th. Alvarez is clearly a fighter destined to be a champion some day at either junior middleweight or middleweight. However, Alvarez has got to make big improvements on his defense if he wants to beat the better fighters in the junior middleweight division. I think he would have big problems against guys like Alfredo Angulo, Sergeii Dzinziruk, Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland. He might be able to beat one or two of them, but maybe not. Alvarez needs a lot of work on defense and he gets hit flush quite often in his fights. He punches hard with both hands, but Alvarez has got to improve if he wants to beat the better fighters in boxing.

The good news for him in this match-up with Baldomir is that Carlos is39-years-old now, has lost three out of his last five bouts and hasn’t been fighting all that often in the past three years. Baldomir should be degraded enough for Alvarez to get by this Saturday night, but that’s still not a sure thing. Dan Rafael of ESPN is reporting that Baldomir looks to be in excellent shape for this fight. If that’s the case, Alvarez may have a fight on his hands and could possibly end up losing the fight. Even if he wins, it won’t look good if Alvarez has to go life and death with the old Baldomir. With as much hype that surrounds Alvarez, he should blow Baldomir out of the ring.

However, Alvarez has only been fighting 2nd tier opposition during his career and is so utterly hittable it’s not even funny. He’s like a walking punching bag when he fights. It’s good that Alvarez can punch, because if he couldn’t he’d getting drilled to pieces in his fights. But, his defense is beyond bad. It’s really dreadful. Alvarez has got to make huge improvements on defense otherwise he’s just going to be yet another hyped fighter that couldn’t live up to the big expectations for him. Alvarez doesn’t have Kirkland type power, so he’s going to have to stay away from Kirkland once he makes his comeback later on in this year. I doubt he’ll ever be nearly as good as Kirkland, but I think he’s good enough to beat guys like Kermit Cintron if he can improve his defense and foot work.

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