Alvarez, Calzaghe, Ward or Who Best at 168?

By Ken Hissner: Who was the best at 168, Alvarez, Calzaghe, or Ward? Certainly, Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 59-2-2 with 39 stoppages, who holds the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO Super Middleweight titles, is one of them.

He won the WBA in 2018 and added the WBC in 2020, the WBO and IBF in 2021, and 17 defenses. He won titles at Super Welterweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight, and Light Heavyweight.

Alvarez fought to a draw in his fifth fight with Jorge Juarez, 3-5. He won the WBC World Super Welterweight title in March of 2011, defeating Matthew Hatton, 41-4-2. He was 42-0-1, losing his first fight to Floyd “Money” Mayweather, 44-0. In November 2015, he won the vacant Middleweight title defeating Miguel Cotto 40-4.

In September 2017, he drew with Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, 37-0. Though he didn’t deserve the draw, it was a big boost to his career. He won the immediate rematch but didn’t fight the third fight for another four years. He won the Super Middleweight title in December of 2018, stopping Rocky Fielding 27-1.

He then defended his middleweight title, defeating Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, 35-2, in his only middleweight defense. He won the Light Heavyweight title by stopping Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 34-3-1, never defending it.

In September of 2022, he lost to WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitrii Bivol, 19-0.

Looking back at others holding titles at that weight which comes to mind like Wales Joe “Pride of Wales” Calzaghe, 46-0 with 32 stoppages winning WBO in 1997, IBF in 2006, and both the WBC and WBA in 2007, and with 21 defenses.

Calzaghe came to the US, winning his final two fights defeating former Middleweight and Super Middleweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 48-4-1, in April 2008, who went on to win the Light Heavyweight title. In Calzaghe’s last fight, he defeated Roy Jones, Jr. Hand injuries caused his retirement.

Oakland, California’s 2004 Light Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist Andre ”S.O.G.” Ward, 32-0 with 16 stoppages and 7 defenses. He came down in weight as a professional to 168.

In November of 2009, he won the Super Middleweight title, stopping Mikkel Kessler, 42-1. In December 2011, he defeated Carl Froch 28-1. He made six defenses.

In 2016 he won the light heavyweight title defeating Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 30-1-1 in a disputed decision, and made 1 defense in a rematch, stopping Kovalev.

As an opponent of Alvarez, you make more money than with anyone else. They are lining up with such challengers as WBC Interim champion David Benavidez, 27-0, WBA Super Middleweight champ David Morrell, 9-0, Jermall former WBC Middleweight champion “Hit Man” Charlo, 32-0, former WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, 32-0 and now WBO Middleweight champion Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, 13-0. Alvarez is asking for a rematch with Bivol.

Others holding Super Middleweight titles are Roy Jones, Jr. 66-10 with 47 stoppages, and the 1988 Olympic Silver Medalist. In November of 1994, he won the Super Middleweight title defeating James “Lights Out” Toney, 44-0-2 making 5 defenses.

In February of 1993, Toney won the Super Middleweight title, stopping Iran “The Blade” Barkley, 30-7, with 3 defenses.

In December of 2008, UK’s Carl “The Cobra” Froch, 33-2 with 24 stoppages, won the Super Middleweight title defeating Jean Pascal, 21-0. He made two defenses before losing to Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler  42-2 in April of 2010. He had two defenses before losing to Ward. He won the title after Calzaghe’s retirement and always felt Calzaghe avoided him. I doubt if anyone else did.

Germany’s Sven “Phantom” Ottke, 34-0 with six stoppages, won the title, defeating Charles “The Hatchet” Brewer, 32-5, in September of 2000, making 13 defenses. He defeated fellow German Mads Larsen, 44-1, in September of 2003.

So you have Alvarez, Calzaghe, and Ward as the most outstanding, so who do you pick?