Will Canelo Finally Receive Credit if he Beats Golovkin?
By Amir Mustafaa: Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Shane Mosley, Amir Khan, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr are names that would appear on the resume of a hall of fame veteran on his way to retirement, yet this resume belongs to a twenty-seven-year-old with years left in the gas tank. Canelo Alvarez isn’t a perfect fighter; he lost against Floyd Mayweather, and people have criticized some of his recent fights. Nevertheless, he deserves a lot more credit from the boxing community than he’s getting now.
How could a young fighter with a great resume be ranked lower among fans and the media than fighters with less than stellar resumes? Vasyl Lomachenko is a great fighter with a bright future, but he’s ranked higher than Canelo Alvarez on almost every pound for pound list with only ten fights. Let’s also compare Alvarez’s resume to Gennady Golovkin, the person he’s fighting on Saturday. Is Daniel Jacobs, Dominic Wade, and David Lemieux really a better group of opposition than Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, and Austin Trout? Even with lesser competition, Gennady Golovkin is ranked a lot higher than Canelo Alvarez on ESPN and Ring Magazine’s pound for pound list. Also, Canelo Alvarez can’t escape the accusation that he’s a hype job being protected by Oscar De La Hoya.
I’m not the biggest Canelo Alvarez fan, but I still can’t wrap my head around why fans and the media still give Canelo Alvarez a tough time. A few years ago, I was suspicious that Canelo Alvarez was just another protected fighter who would never face elite competition, but my suspicions evaporated when he faced Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather back to back. It’s almost unheard of for a young boxer to put his undefeated record on the line in this era of boxing, but Canelo Alvarez took on two great opponents knowing his career and hype would be derailed if he lost. I thought that was enough for fans to stop saying Oscar De La Hoya protected him but it wasn’t. Alvarez did something most fighters below twenty-five would never think of, yet he still struggled to gain respect among boxing fans and the media. Then he took an even bigger step to earn respect within the boxing community. In 2014, he decided to take on Erislandy Lara against his team’s wishes and common sense. Lara was a skilled boxer that was feared by most people in the junior middleweight division, but Alvarez decided to take him on to prove he wasn’t afraid to take a step up in competition.
As you all know, that fight didn’t help Alvarez in the eyes of the public. He beat Lara in a close fight, but that wasn’t enough for the boxing community. Instead of being applauded for winning a close fight with someone he could’ve easily avoided, the dominant storyline was that Lara was robbed. Yes, there was the ridiculous 117-111 score, but the fight was close enough for Alvarez to get the nod. Nevertheless, the boxing community couldn’t come to grips with the fact that a close fight doesn’t equal a robbery, so Alvarez didn’t get the amount of praise Golovkin got in his recent close fight with Daniel Jacobs.
The weirdest part of all of this is how the networks and media treat Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez is one of the biggest pay per view stars in boxing. His fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. drew over one million paper view buys, which is almost unheard of outside of Mayweather and Pacquiao. With numbers like that, you would think it would be in the best interest of boxing to push Canelo Alvarez as the next all-time great. Alvarez brings in more money for HBO than any fighter in their catalog, yet they don’t praise him as much as Golovkin or Lomachenko. Why does HBO proclaim that fighters like Golovkin and Lomachenko are the best in boxing over their biggest cash cow? I’m not saying Alvarez should be number one on everyone’s pound for pound list, but isn’t it good for the business of boxing to at least put him in the top three?
Canelo Alvarez has his work cut out for him on Saturday. Gennady Golovkin is a powerful and skilled puncher who could easily give Alvarez his second loss. Alvarez must be his best self if he wants to win this fight, and if he wins the fight, it’s time to finally give him his credit. Gennady Golovkin is currently ranked number two on ESPN and Ring Magazine’s pound for pound list, and if Alvarez doesn’t take those spots if he wins Saturday night, then those companies and the boxing community risks losing legitimacy.