Love him or hate him, Canelo Alvarez is the face of boxing. As he recently celebrated his 30th birthday, let us look back at what brought him here.
Whether you are a fan of his or find yourself rooting against him every time he fights, Canelo Alvarez deserves respect from all fans for consistently facing the best opponents possible.
Even if the fights are close (and sometimes controversial), it is refreshing to see a fighter who is always looking to face a top level opponent, something that is not too common in the sport today.
30 years old may seem young for someone who has been in the sport as long as Canelo, but keep in mind he turned pro at 15 years old. In honor of his 30th birthday, let’s look back at the five defining moments of his career that helped him become the face of the sport, in chronological order.
Canelo Alvarez vs Floyd Mayweather (September 14, 2013)
Simply put, Canelo got schooled this fight. He came in with an impressive record of 42-0-1, but he had turned 23 years old just two months prior, and it showed that he was no where near Floyd’s level yet.
His young age and inexperience at the top level of the sport cannot be used as excuses though, the fight was billed as ‘The One’, as many fans felt Canelo truly was the one to dethrone Mayweather, and take over as the face of the sport – there is a reason the fight did over 2 million PPV buys and sold out the MGM Grand.
Despite losing handedly, this was a huge moment in Canelo’s career, for good reasons. Many fighters who have won over 40 fights without losing would be truly devastated if they got schooled in one of the biggest events in the history of the sport. Many fighter’s mental strength would be tested, and their confidence would likely take a huge hit, especially if the loss came at such a young age.
Instead of sulking, Canelo took this loss, and became stronger. He understood that he was not yet in Floyd’s class, and had some work to do, so instead of acting like everything was fine, he got to work.
After that fight, he looked better each and every time he stepped into the ring. He was (and frankly is) constantly improving, and in my opinion, it all traces back to the fight with Floyd.
While Canelo was not ‘The One’ to end Mayweather’s reign, he did end up taking over as the face of the sport and the current cash cow, so the billing was not completely wrong.
Additionally, judge C.J. Ross had the fight scored a draw, which was a truly terrible scorecard. Unfortunately for Canelo, this would prove to be a theme going froward for the rest of his career, and has played a part in defining him. Thankfully, C.J. Ross retired following this fight.