Quijano: Does Saul Alvarez have what it takes?-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
WE ARE just few days away from what is perceived to be the biggest fight that could be made in boxing right now: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez “Money” Mayweather will reportedly earn a guaranteed $41.5 million for putting his reputation as the sports’ best pound-for- pound fighter on the line.
But who Alvarez and how did he earn this title shot?
RED. The flame-haired full blooded Mexican hails from a middle class family in Jalisco, Mexico. His elders brothers were into the sport and despite limited amateur experience he turned pro at the age of 15 His first big test came against Jose Miguel Cotto (brother of Miguel Cotto) in 2010 in the undercard of Floyd’s defense against Shane Mosely.
As things turned out, both Mayweather and Alvarez would probably remember that night as probably the most perilous of their careers to date.
In the first round, Alvarez was barely warming up when he got nailed by a huge left hook (apparently a Cotto family specialty) which had him hanging on as Cotto followed it up with a huge barrage.
Luckily for him, his youth and resiliency bailed him out and he survived the round. He would later go on to win the fight in the ninth round after dominating the older and smaller opponent.
In the main event, we all know that Floyd Mayweather got nailed by two brutal right hands from Shane Mosely that buckled him and got him holding on for dear life. He would later win the fight via unanimous decision.
Canelo would go on to defeat former world champions Lovemore Ndou and Carlos Baldomir.
The Baldomir knockout was a sight to behold. The granite-chinned Baldomir had a sterling reputation of being almost impossible to stop but Alvarez kayoed him with a left hook in the 6th round.
Alvarez also knocked out Alfonso Gomez and former WBC welterweight champ Kermit “The Killer” Cintron.
He became a certified superstar last year when he dominated Shane Mosely in 12 lopsided rounds and knocked out Josesito Lopez who was fresh off a knockout victory of Victor Ortiz.
TROUT. His most definitive test came in his last fight against Austin Trout. The latter was a natural junior-middleweight who had a height and reach advantage over Alvarez.
In his last fight, Trout had trounced Miguel Cotto and the undefeated, tricky southpaw saw himself a level above the brawling youngster.
But Alvarez showed up with better head movement and some nifty footwork that had Trout hitting nothing at thin air on a few occasions.
The fight was close, but Alvarez scored a knockdown in the 7th and his heavy punches did more damage, earning him a unanimous decision victory.
ANALYSIS. While Floyd Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) is simply not the wondrous prodigy he once was early in his career, he is still the best fighter in the sport.
He doesn’t move around as much anymore, and prefers to catch and parry incoming artillery, but the stark reality is that very few opponents have given him trouble through the years.
Other than that Mosely fight and the left hand that Zab Judah landed back in 2006, Floyd has never been in real danger of being stopped.
Of course, Oscar de la Hoya gave him hell for 12 rounds, and that fight could arguably have gone either way, but Floyd was never in danger of being knocked out.
It is this element of danger that Alvarez brings into this fight. His hale, vigorous physique is complemented well by his raw, natural power.
But the chasm that separates him and Mayweather in terms of boxing knowledge and skills is too wide to overlook.
The outcome of this fight will still hinge on how much Mayweather has lost through the years, but Alvarez’ power and youth will always make him dangerous up until the bell rings.
It’s an intriguing matchup, and I will be rooting for Alvarez to bring Mayweather down (If you noticed, I said rooting not predicting).
LAST ROUNDS. Are on Theanna Rayne Z. Tan who celebrates her birthday this week and on my late father Atty Froilan V. Quijano as we commemorate his 4th death anniversary.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 11, 2013.