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Canelo Alvarez: ‘I became a legend’

Canelo Alvarez Sergey Kovalev

By Sean Jones: Saul Alvarez is calling himself a “legend” after beating Sergey Kovalev by an 11th round knockout to grab his WBO light heavyweight world level strap last Saturday evening at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s an accomplishment for Canelo or any fighter to win four division world titles, but his selection process has been questionable to some.

It’s a little off-putting for some boxing fans to see Canelo referring to himself as a “legend” after beating the 36-year-old Kovalev. It’s unclear if “legend” is the right description of the status Canelo has achieved in boxing at this early stage of his career.

Some fans weren’t happy with how Kovalev fought. He wasn’t sitting down on his shots, and it looked like he was taking it easy on Canelo. The fans expected more from Canelo than a fight with Kovalev to become a four division world champion, as they wanted to see him fight the best. Kovalev was one time considered the #1 fighter at 175, but he’s not that guy anymore.

Is Canelo making too much of his accomplishment?

For a lot of boxing fans, they likely would have preferred that Canelo be a little more low-key about his win over Kovalev. After all, this was the weakest of the 175-lb champions that Canelo just beat. The Golden Boy star Canelo DIDN’T take on the best champion at 175. He fought arguably the worst. It’s the same thing Canelo did at 168 though in beating WBA secondary super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding rather than WBA Super World champ Callum Smith.

At 160, Canelo fought 35-year-old Miguel Cotto rather than Gennadiy Golovkin, who was 33 at the time and still in top form. At 154, Canelo fought fringe welterweight contender Matthew Hatton for the WBC junior middleweight title. It’s still unclear why the World Boxing Council sanctioned the Canelo vs. Hatton fight for their WBC 154 lb. title. The British welterweight wasn’t ranked at 154, and had never fought in that weight class. Nevertheless, the WBC let Canelo and Matthew Hatton fight for their vacant WBC junior middleweight title.

Winning four division world titles would mean a lot more if Canelo had faced the best each time, but he hasn’t done that. With the watered down divisions in boxing nowadays, it’s not difficult for popular fighters to capture multiple division world titles by picking the weakest champions.

Canelo could get away with calling himself a “legend” if he’d beaten the top guy at 175 in IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev, but NOT Kovalev. Alvarez referring to himself as a “legend” after beating the over-the-hill Kovalev is embarrassing.

The Russian fighter came into the fight with a 4-3 record in his last 7 contests, and he almost got knocked out in his last fight by Anthony Yarde.

Canelo joins TRUE legends as a 4 division world champion

The win over Kovalev made Canelo a four division world title holder, and while that’s been done before by a number of fighters, they didn’t receive the same attention that he has in doing so. It seemed more effortless when Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales and Oscar De La Hoya did it. Canelo had a lot of problems in beating the 36-year-old Kovalev, who gave him fits with his jab.

Even though Kovalev was throwing jab with only a fraction of the power that he normally, he was able to keep Canelo bottled up through 10 rounds. A lot of boxing fans saw Kovalev had in the fight going into the 11th round. Even more had the fight a draw. Canelo didn’t look like he was winning. DAZN had Canelo up, but the boxing media saw it as a draw or Kovalev ahead.

It would have looked far better if Canelo had fought Beterbiev to earn his 4th division world title rather than selecting the lowest hanging fruit in Kovalev, who is long in the tooth. The way that Canelo is bragging about his win by calling himself a “legend” is a bad look on his part.

Canelo-Kovalev was close until KO says Dmitry Bivol

“It was a good performance by him,” said WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol to Fighthype in reacting to Canelo’s win over ‘The Krusher.’ “Kovalev is one of the best light heavyweights. He’s a big name, but he’s older than most of us in the light heavyweight division.

“The fight was close but Canelo moved forward, but didn’t throw the punches. Kovalev threw more punches. Maybe Canelo’s punches were more powerful, but I think the score was too close. And it looked like Canelo controlled the fight for me,” said Bivol.

Kovalev was busier with his jab, but he had nothing on the bunches. He was just touching Canelo with them lightly to the face, and treating the match like an amateur bout. For the boxing fans that remembered Kovalev when he was at his best seven years ago, it was sad to see him looking so old and depleted.

Bivol wants Canelo at 168 or 175

“Of course, he can fight in the light heavyweight division. He has good power,” said Bivol about Canelo. “We saw this, and he’s smart and has good defense. Maybe he has a little bit of an advantage for his speed. He has good speed. I saw this today. Why not?” said Bivol when asked if he’d like to fight Canelo. “I think it’s the best fight for me. He has a belt, he has a name, and I can earn money against him. I can make a big name in this fight.

“Yes, of course [Bivol wants to take the fight with Canelo]. Yeah, I can make 168. I’d like to fight him at 168 too or 175 or cruiserweight. I don’t know what he will do,” said Bivol about Kovalev’s next move with his career. “He’s still the champion for Russian people. He achieved a lot, and all people respect him. He showed us a lot of great fights. Maybe he has a family. He’s earned enough money. Maybe it’s a better way to enjoy the family now. But boxing is like a drug,” said Bivol.

Canelo would be showing some real courage in fighting Bivol in a unification fight at 175, but that’s so unlikely to happen that it’s not worth discussion. His fight with Kovalev was a one and done situation, and he’s not going to dare take on the lions in the 175-lb division.

“I thought he was going to do it a little earlier, but he got it in the 11th round,” said Mikey Garcia to esnewsreporting. “He’s very strong, and it was a well planned out fight.”

“It was a great performance by Canelo in becoming light heavyweight champion of the world making history,” said Andy Ruiz’s trainer Manny Roblems to Fighthype after Alvarez stopped Kovalev.”

Gilberto Ramirez says Canelo should return to 168

“It was a good fight. Canelo, he won. The people were expecting that Canelo would win, and he did good,” said former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez to Fighthype. “That was pretty close but he was able to knock him out. He looked really good there. Those two punches were strong punches. Hopefully he keeps winning. I don’t think so. He should go back down to 168,” said Ramirez.

Former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez will be Canelo’s mandatory challenger if he keeps his WBO 175-lb title. Ramirez might not be aware of that. He would be better off saying that Canelo should stay at 175, but obviously he’s looking at it from his perspective. Canelo is not cut out to be fighting at light heavyweight. We saw that with the way he struggled to beat the over-the-hill Kovalev.

If it was that hard for Canelo to beat the shot Kovalev, what happens when he gets in there with a prime Beterbiev or Dmitry Bivol? It’s obvious what would happen to Canelo if he dared to fight either of those guys, which is probably why he chose not to fight them. If Canelo fancied his chances of beating the undefeated Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs), he would have challenged them instead of Kovalev.

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