Was Canelo daring to be great, or was he simply deluded?

By Gerardo Granados: A couple of days ago, we all witnessed how Russian WBA titleholder Dimitri Bivol took challenger Canelo Alvarez to school, right here on American soil. The scorecards given by the fight judges had it 115-113 x3, which does not show the reality of what had happened. I scored bout 117- 111 for Bivol, and I believe that I was generous to Canelo.

We also witnessed how once again, the fight judges made a mockery out of their duty when all three delivered the exact same scores by round; the odds for that to happen are really small. To be honest, at the end of the fight, I thought they were gonna rob Bivol by what I call a fair robbery giving it a draw.

Bivol had a smart game plan and was able to execute it without much trouble, even less when Canelo’s corner was missing in action all night long.

His footwork, his guard, and timing allow him to block most of Alavarez´s punches. Dimitri put up nice 3-4 punch combinations and pressed Canelo at times. Most of his previous opponents just watched him catch his breath.

I doubt Bivol beat Canelo based on his size. Was it in the tenth round that Canelo raised Bivol over his head during a clinch? It only showed how frustrated Canelo was for not being able to do what had worked for him in the past. No, no, Bivol beat Canelo using boxing skills and ring smarts. Round after round, Canelo became repetitive and predictable, and his corner failed to give him proper advice on what to do.

Eddy Reynoso has a losing streak that I blame only on him. When Julio Cesar Martinez was taken to school by a veteran Chocolatito Gonzalez, it was Reynoso who had to prepare the game plan and give advice to his pupil on how to adjust, but all we saw was Martinez do pretty much the same from round one to twelve.

When Shakur Stevenson took Oscar Valdez to school, it happened the same thing, as Valdez came into the fight with the wrong game plan, did the same thru twelve rounds, and never was able to adjust.

Let’s not forget that Caleb Plant outboxed Canelo until Alvarez landed a lucky freaky power punch to end the bout. In that fight, Canelo fought the same way; Alvarez has developed various tendencies that you can see in his last five fights. It is clear that his fighting style only works against flat-footed – straightforward fighters. Not against slick boxers or the ones who have good footwork – ring smarts.

I bet the reader heard how it was reported that Canelo asked for a fight against Oleksandr Usyk at 201 pounds; previously, we were shocked to hear that Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso asked the WBC permission to get a shot at their cruiserweight belt holder Ilunga Makabu. How can a trainer believe it is normal for a former 147 to go up so damn much in weight without no risk? And yes, Canelo is a former 147 who got a free shot at a vacant 154 paper belt.

A friend of mine asked me why I don’t believe it is normal for Canelo to go up and down in weight with such success? He thinks Canelo´s win versus an old past prime 175 WBO belt holder Sergey Kovalev was legit. So I showed him what Oscar De la Hoya has recently stated in an interview about offering Canelo to be his promoter once again and what he responded concerning the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight. My friend is a Canelo fanboy, so he got pissed and cursed me after I told him that Canelo has never been half as good as the major boxing media puppets have told us he is.

If statistics are definitive to give all-time great status, then Julio Cesar Chavez is the greatest Mexican fighter ever, with 37 title fights, 31 wins, four losses, and two draws through four weight divisions. Held an undefeated 89 wins record streak through three weight divisions. So how can Canelo fans dare to argue that Alvarez is the best Mexican fighter? The only reason I keep hearing is that Alvarez has won tons of money.

But who is to blame if Canelo has been deluded to believe that he is the greatest ever boxer to ever lace a pair of gloves? Alvarez doesn’t even belong to the top ten all-time Mexican greats; yes, he has made a ton of money but cannot say the same about prestige and recognition from real fight fans around the world, even less from Mexican fight fans who are really demanding on regards of a boxer attributes to become great.

Is there any reason why to believe that Canelo is better than Sugar Ray Robinson, Archie Moore, Muhamad Ali, Roberto Duran, or Henry Armstrong? If you think so, it must be because you are his fanboy.

How can Canelo believe he can go up to 201 and beat Oleksandr Usyk? Yeah, sure, Usyk would have to drain himself back to that weight, but man, let’s get real, Usyk is a complete all-around boxer, and Canelo isn’t. Oleksandr would murder him for sure, even at that weight. If Anthony Joshua was not able to deal with him, how can Canelo beat him?

Many of Canelo’s wins came against names but not against boxers at their peak, and he has at least two gifts from fight judges. But somehow, he cannot see it.

When Mantequilla Napoles challenged Carlos Monzon, I was a kid, but even back then, I knew he was biting something too big for him to chew. It was a 147, a really good one, perhaps a top ten all-time welter, against a really good one 160, Monzon, I believe, is a top-five all-time middleweight. We all saw what happened; it was a normal thing to see. Only a few have done it with success based not only on natural ability but also with the help of elite boxing skills.

Canelo is a good boxer, but he is not great. Eddy Reynoso is a good trainer, but he is far from being great. Canelo is strong and possesses freak punch power, but he is a short boxer with short arms and legs, so he has limitations when he fights other boxers who are bigger, rangier, and are all-around better boxers than him. Matchmaking is key for him to look good, so his team has to bring him back to earth, be honest and tell him what are his limitations and also which are unnecessary risks to take.

Canelo should have stayed at 160, but instead, he moved up to 168; well, he had success there, so why not stay there? I don’t believe that Canelo is 5´9¨ he might be a lot shorter. To be a great fighter, there is no need to move up so much in weight; all he needs is to dominate the top fighters available at his time. For years fight fans have wanted him to fight Jermall Charlo, and Demetrius Andrade, same for Gennadiy Golovkin but Canelo waited until GGG had slowed down to fight him.

So far I have zero Canelo fights to remember, I remember scandalous score cards for sure. I do remember many epic battles from mexican fighters such as Julio Cesar Chavez, Siri Salido, Bandido Vargas, Yaqui Lopez, Sal Sanchez, Pipino Cuevas, Lupe Pintor, Carlos Zarate, Chiquita Gonzalez, Jorge Arce, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez, Jorge Paez, Chon Zepeda, Miky Roman, Bazooka Limon, Finito Lopez, Gilberto Roman, Mantequilla Napoles, Little Red Lopez, Johnny Tapia, Mando Ramos, Sugar Ramos, Daniel Zaragoza, Vicente Saldivar, Alfonso Zamora, Jose Luis Castillo, Michael Carbajal, … I hope Canelo delivers at least an epic battle for fight fans to enjoy and to remember.

Perhaps Canelo is daring to be great only in the eyes of his loyal fans. Maybe I am too adamant about seeing him do what Salvador Sanchez did before his car accident took place. But for sure, I don’t believe Alvarez is daring to be great; instead, he is being deluded by his own team. Do you agree?

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