Canelo Alvarez looking slow but powerful in training

By Boxing News - 08/29/2020 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose: Superstar Canelo Alvarez is putting in the work in staying ready for his next fight in 2020 or 2021. Unfortunately, the 30-year-old Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) looks slower and heavier since his last fight against WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on November 2, and there are concerns whether age is starting to show for the Mexican star.

Like Roy Jones Jr and many other fighters that have depended on their hand speed and reflexes to help them win fights, Canelo is reaching the end of his prime.

We know what happens to fighters when they lose their momentum and reflexes, don’t we?

Is Canelo losing speed?

If Canelo has lost speed, he’s going be easy pickings for Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin when he faces him in May 2021 for their trilogy fight. Nevertheless, that fight isn’t a given, as Canelo may choose to go in a different direction.

He’s already made DAZN and Golovkin wait two years for the trilogy match by fighting Rocky Fielding, Daniel Jacobs, and Sergey Kovalev.

The hand speed isn’t there anymore for Canelo, which you can argue makes it even more necessary for him to fight guys like Avni Yildirim and Billy Joe Saunders. Boxers begin losing their fast-twitch speed in their late 20s, and by the time they hit their early 30s, it becomes noticeable.

Image: Canelo Alvarez looking slow but powerful in training

With Canelo, he looks like he’s skipped from the late 20s straight to his mid-30s in terms of losing speed.

It could be bad for Canelo if DAZN can get him to face a talented opponent for his next fight instead of Yildirim. Canelo can beat that fighter no matter how much hand speed he loses, but not someone with talents like Golovkin, David Benavidez, Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, Caleb Plant, Gennady Golovkin or Jermall Charlo.

Golovkin wanted to face Canelo right away after losing to him by a controversial 12 round decision in 2018, but he’s been left waiting for the last two years. All we can hope for is Canelo decides to face GGG in 2021. If not, then we’ll likely see Canelo face Billy Joe Saunders and possibly Callum Smith.

Neither of those fights will do much in terms of moving the needle for DAZN. Unfortunately, they won’t bring in new subscribers or the ones that have left due to the pandemic.

De La Hoya working on Alvarez’s next opponent

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya says he’s “working day and night” tirelessly with DAZN to find an opponent for Canelo’s next fight in 2020. De La Hoya conveniently didn’t mention the name of the fighter that he’s attempting to line up for Alvarez’s next match this year, but we’ve already heard that it’s Avni Yildirim.

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The World Boxing Council let the cat out of the bag by revealing that Canelo put his name in as a candidate to face Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs). Canelo and Yildirim will be fighting for the vacant WBC super-middleweight strap that was stripped from David ” El Bandera Roja” Benavidez this month after he failed to make weight for his title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo on August 15.

“I have been working tirelessly day and night with our partners at DAZN to get a Canelo fight done ASAP and get our sport back on track,” said De La Hoya on his Twitter.

“If anyone doubted how badly boxing needs Canelo – the sport’s biggest star – back in the ring, look no further than the terrible ratings from boxing on network TV the last few weeks.”

It’s good that De La Hoya is working with DAZN to set-up Canelo’s next fight, but it might be a waste of time if his opponent is Yildirim. The only reason Canelo would be facing Yildirim is to another title to his collection in going after the vacant WBC 168-lb strap.

Why the need for the WBC 168lb title?

Canelo already has the WBA ‘regular’ super-middleweight strap that he won from Fielding in 2018, and he hasn’t even defended it. That’s why it seems a little crazy for Canelo to be looking to capture the WBC super-middleweight belt. What’s the point?

If Canelo thinks that casual boxing fans will be impressed at learning that he’s fighting for that vacant belt, he’s mistaken. The fans don’t care. When titles are mentioned to casual fans, that’s just background noise that they tune out. Fans only care about good match-ups, and Canelo vs. Yildirim doesn’t mean that description.

Image: Canelo Alvarez looking slow but powerful in training

That’s what you call a BAD match-up, and it’s not worth his or DAZN’s time to put it on. You would hope that Canelo isn’t milking his DAZN contract by fighting the guys that barely pass muster because that would be disappointing. DAZN is paying Canelo $365 million as part of their deal with him, and thus far they’ve gotten these fights:

  • Rocky Fielding
  • Daniel Jacobs
  • Sergey Kovalev

Fielding and Kovalev were what you would call ‘paper champion’ in that they weren’t viewed as the best or even the best belt-holders in their division. Fielding was considered the worst at 168, and Kovalev the same at 175.

If Canelo gets his way and is given the green light to fight Yildirim, DAZN won’t bring in a lot of new subscribers for that mismatch. From Canelo’s standpoint, he has a contract with DAZN.

Does DAZN have a say-so in who Canelo faces?

If they don’t have any say-so on the level of opponents that Canelo faces, then it makes sense for him to milk the contract by fighting the likes of Yildirim, Fielding, and an over-the-hill Kovalev. It’s not good for the boxing fans to see Canelo facing guys he can beat with ease, but it will prolong his career.

If Canelo had to fight quality guys that could potentially beat him like Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, and Jermall Charlo, he might not have much time left.

Those guys would put some wear and tear on Canelo, and they would take advantage of him if he’s starting to lose hand speed. That seems to be the case based on his recent workout and his last fight against 36-year-old Kovalev.

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Canelo was losing to the shell of Kovalev when he came back to knock him out in the 11th round. Imagine if that had been Beterbiev or Bivol who were sharing the ring with ‘The Face of Boxing’ Canelo, it would have gone badly for him.

If DAZN had a choice, I’m sure they would have preferred that Canelo fight Beterbiev or Bivol rather than Kovalev, but that’s who he ended up fighting.

Saunders pointed out on social media this week that it seems odd that Canelo is choosing to go after the vacant WBC super-middleweight title now after the belt was stripped from David Benavidez. Canelo only took up an interest in fighting or the WBC after the belt was stripped from David.

Image: Canelo Alvarez looking slow but powerful in training

Canelo’s fans are defending his slow hand speed today on social media by speculating that his workout video was done at the end of his workout. That would sound like a reasonable excuse if not for the fact that Canelo looked slow in his last fight against Kovalev.

It’s plausible that the punishment that Canelo took in his second fight against Gennady Golovkin and his match against Daniel Jacobs may have done a number on his speed. However, fast-twitch fiber is lost through aging, not from taking a beating. But it probably doesn’t help Canelo that GGG and Jacobs hit him a lot in those fights in 2018 and 2019.