Who Was the best at 168 Calzaghe or Alvarez?
By Ken Hissner: In comparing former WBO, WBC, and WBA World Super Middleweight champion Joe “Pride of Wales” Calzaghe and current WBO, WBA, WBC, and IBF World Super Middleweight champion Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who was the best at 168?
Calzaghe was trained by his father, Enzo, and promoted by Frank Warren. He was inducted into the International Boxing Federation and retired in 2008 after boxing for 15 years retiring with bad hands with a 46-0 record with 32 stoppages. He had 21 title defenses.
Alvarez has been trained by Jose and Eddie Reynoso. He was promoted by Felix Zabala, Sr. in 2008 and 2009, then promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
Calzaghe boxed in Denmark, Germany, and twice in the United States both in his final two bouts. Alvarez boxed in Mexico and the United States.
Alvarez also held the WBC, WBO and WBA Light Middleweight titles and the WBC, WBA, and IBF Middleweight titles. He also held the WBO Light Heavyweight title with approximately 15 defenses and a current record of 58-2-2 with 39 stoppages. He is 32.
In November of 2007 Calzaghe made his final defense defeating WBC and WBA world champion Denmark’s Mikkel “Viking Warrior” Kessler, 39-0 in Wales.
Calzaghe came to the United States with a 44-0 record in April of 2008, winning a split decision coming off the canvas in the first round over the former WBA. WBC, WBO, and IBF Middleweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 48-4-1, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hopkins would go on to win the WBA, WBC, and IBF World Light Heavyweight titles. In other words, he wasn’t over the hill.
In Calzaghe’s next and final fight again, he came off the canvas in the first round to defeat former four-division world champion Roy Jones, Jr., 52-4, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He would go on to post a 14-4 record in his final 18 fights. Though a former world champion, he wasn’t over the hill but past his prime.
Upon retiring in 2009, Calzaghe had the following to say: “I’ve had more broken bones than I can remember. My hands are crippled. They ache every single day from all the breaks. I have a really bad back too. I’m on painkillers a lot, and I’m going to have bad arthritis when I’m older. I was happy to retire. I retired at the top. Yes, it was hard to fill the adrenaline rush for a while, and that passes you off, but it’s nice to just be normal. He was 36 when he retired.”
Alvarez had 5 title defenses when he lost to Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr., 44-0, by majority decision in September of 2013 at the MGM’s Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, losing his WBA and WBC Super Welterweight titles. He was 42-0-1 at the time.
In November 2015, Alvarez won the WBC Middleweight title defeating Miguel “Junito” Cotto, 40-4, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino’s Events Center in Las Vegas.
In September 2016, he won the WBO Super Welterweight title, dropping in weight from 160. He had approximately 12 title defenses.
In September of 2017, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, he fought a highly controversial draw against WBA & WBC Middleweight champion Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, 37-0, that most thought Golovkin won; it would be a year before he fought again and that was the rematch defeating Golovkin by majority decision at the same arena.
In December 2018, Canelo won the WBA World Super Middleweight title, stopping Rocky Fielding 27-1 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He would drop back to 160 and make his only middleweight defense defeating Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, 35-2, at the T-Mobile Arena.
Why Canelo didn’t give Golovkin a rematch, who, by the way, had defeated Jacobs, is unknown. It would be four years before their third match.
In November of 2019, Alvarez would again go back to light heavyweight, stopping WBO champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 34-3-1; in his next fight, he would add the WBA and WBC titles defeating Callum “Mundo” Smith, 27-0, at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas.
In May of 2021, Alvarez added the WBO title, stopping Billy Joe Saunders, 30-0, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In November, he added the IBF title, stopping Caleb Plant, 21-0, at the MGM Grand, Grand Garden, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Alvarez was 15-0-1 since losing to Mayweather when in May of 2022, he lost to Dimitry Bivol, 19-0, at the T-Mobile Arena. In his next and most recent fight, he defeated WBA and IBF Middleweight champion Golovkin, 42-2-1, at the T-Mobile Arena, this time at super middleweight, unlike the previous two at middleweight.
Well, you‘ve seen how Calzaghe and Alvarez’s careers went for the most part. So, who was the best at 168 between the two of them?
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