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Canelo’s Gift Decision Proves he is not yet Elite

Canelo Alvarez Erislandy LaraBy Anthony Mason: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) got a win over Erislandy Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs), but it was far from legitimate. Alvarez had his chance to prove himself, but once again he failed to legitimately win against a truly elite boxer. Canelo, regardless of what the judges said, in reality has lost to the only two elite boxers that he has faced.

Lara clearly won the early rounds, but Canelo came back to make it an even fight after eight rounds. However, Lara definitely won the majority of the later rounds with his footwork and counterpunching. Canelo did land the harder shots, but the majority of them were in the middle rounds. There were also times where Lara was retreating without throwing many punches, but again, those were in the middle rounds, and there were not enough of those rounds to give Canelo the victory.

Lara was more consistent than Canelo, and was definitely robbed of a close, but clear decision. Canelo did look to press the fight, but in the same way that rounds are not won by retreating, rounds are also not won by pressing the fight and not doing anything else. It’s called effective aggression for a reason. A rematch would be the best option going forward, but judging from Canelo and Oscar De La Hoya’s comments it seems unlikely.

Fortunately for Canelo, he has been given yet another gift in avoiding another potential loss.
Canelo has been given praise under the guise of his popularity rather than his accomplishments, and that is why he is perceived to be elite. The top stars in the sport need to earn their praise instead of getting it handed to them on a silver platter. With Lara’s close, yet clear victory, he showed that Canelo has a long way to go from being truly elite, and that his praise is unfounded. If Canelo was elite, he would have legitimately beaten a truly elite boxer such as Lara, having beaten the likes of Paul Williams, only to get robbed in the same way he was against Canelo.

Canelo will in all likelihood continue to be a major attraction in boxing and eventually become a big pay-per-view star, but that will not hide his status as a non-elite boxer for the time being. Popularity, marketability, and selling tickets are great for the business side of boxing, but those are not necessarily the characteristics of an elite boxer, and definitely not in the case of the still-unproven Canelo Alvarez.


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