Canelo Stands Alone as the Best Boxer in the World
By Matthew Reyna (@MatthewReynaTX): After his destructive stoppage victory over Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night, it’s clear that Canelo Alvarez is at the peak of his powers. He is racking up high-quality wins at a rate that hasn’t been seen in boxing in decades.
Canelo isn’t just winning these mega fights, he is dominating them. He is flipping a switch and deciding how and when to pick apart top-level fighters like Saunders, Callum Smith, and Sergey Kovalev.
Saunders was regarded as a skilled boxer with a lot of heart and determination. After Canelo fractured his orbital bone with a counter uppercut, he was forced to make the smart decision and retire on his stool.
Canelo utilizing his opponents’ best weapon against them is a familiar story: Kovalev, the power puncher, was brutally knocked out. Smith, the counterpuncher, was on the receiving end of powerful counter hooks all night in his lopsided decision loss in San Antonio.
To be clear, in the middle rounds Saunders looked as good against Canelo as anybody has in recent years. He was down 77-75 on my scorecard when his corner stepped in to stop the fight at the end of Round 8.
After arguably losing rounds 5, 6, and 7, Canelo adjusted and was dominant in Round 8. He hurt Saunders multiple times and finally landed the counter uppercut that he had been setting up throughout the fight.
Canelo made the mid-fight adjustments that separate good boxers from great boxers. He was never phased by Saunders’ best work and remained patient while looking for the shot that would end the fight.
By comparison: Tyson Fury, Terrence Crawford, and Errol Spence are all great fighters, but their resumes are not yet on the same level. Canelo should be unanimously considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world—and it’s not even close right now.
At 30, Canelo is in his prime. He will be a heavy favorite in his anticipated Fall unification fight with the undefeated Caleb Plant. After that, he has no shortage of potential resume-enhancing match-ups including David Benavidez or a rubber match with his longtime rival Gennady Golovkin.
Whatever happens in the future, it’s clear that for now, Canelo stands alone as the best boxer in the world.
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