Boxing's modern-day legend delivered yet another vintage performance last Saturday, silencing any doubters with his one-sided win over fellow undisputed world champion Jermell Charlo.
They say that if you have your health, you have everything. Canelo Alvarez would agree wholeheartedly with that notion.
The super middleweight champion insisted that a lingering wrist injury was to blame for three sub-par performances that convinced so many he was a fighter in decline. Now 100% healthy for the first time since 2021, he promised we’d see the Canelo of old in his defense against Jermell Charlo at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday in Las Vegas.
He was right.
Alvarez delivered a vintage performance, overwhelming Charlo with relentless pressure to put the 154-pound champ down in Round 7 and defeat him by a one-sided decision that was reminiscent of his greatest nights.
Of course, the Mexican star was happy to get the 60th victory in a career that will end with his induction into Hall of Fame. He seemed even more pleased to prove that those who dismissed him were dead wrong.
“I’m a strong fighter,” he said in the ring immediately after the fight, “all the time, with all the fighters. I’m a strong man. This Canelo, nobody can beat this Canelo.”
Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) was knocked from his pound-for-pound perch by 175-pound champ Dmitry Bivol in May of last year, when he lost a clear decision. He followed with victories over rival Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder but lacked the fire and sharpness for which he was known.
A renewed fighter stepped through the ropes on Saturday, one who never gave Charlo a chance to mount much of an attack himself. Alvarez, fighting with the passion of a man with his career on the line, stalked Charlo from the second round on, pounding his body and landing enough shots to the head to win round after round.
Charlo tried to stay on the move and pepper Alvarez with enough punches to keep him at bay but he had neither the punch volume nor the power to stem the tide.
The challenger had the defensive skills to avoid taking many clean shots and was durable enough to absorb all but one of those that landed, the one that put him down in Round 7. However, he couldn’t do enough offensively to make the fight truly competitive.
Thus, the scores were one-sided: 119-108, 118-109 and 118-109, meaning Alvarez won 11 rounds on one card and 10 on the other two.
The only flaw in the winner’s performance – if you want to call it that – was his inability to take out the smaller man. Alvarez couldn’t have cared less, saying that clever fighters – particularly those reluctant to engage – have a way of surviving.
Indeed, he couldn’t have been happier afterward because he did exactly what he set out to do: prove that he’s far from finished.
“Yeah, I think this is Canelo, this is Canelo,” Alvarez said at the post-fight press conference. “I feel confident right now, I feel ready. I’m so happy because, you know, I didn’t feel like this in a long time. Now I’m back.”
There wasn’t much Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) could say afterward.
He made a bold decision by moving up two divisions to face a future Hall of Famer who is still only 33, which also is Charlo’s age. And Charlo said he gained only five or six pounds between the weigh-in and fight, which made his mission all the more difficult.
He seemed to be referring to the futility of his effort when he said afterward, “God already had this written.”
“I’m proud of myself,” Charlo said. “I took a chance. … I was up against one of the best guys in the division, one of the best guys in boxing. My head is held high. … I love boxing so I’m not going nowhere. … Canelo is a motherf---ing beast, you know what I’m saying. He’s an ox. Maybe I felt that more because it was my first time in the division.
“I wish I could’ve gained a little more weight between the weigh-in and fight time but you can’t control your body.”
Charlo can control his future. He remains the undisputed champion at 154, where he said he’ll remain for the time being. He expects to face the winner of the Oct. 14 Tim Tszyu-Brian Mendoza fight and also called out the reigning king of boxing, Terence Crawford.
The setback on Saturday wasn’t what Charlo had in mind going into the fight but he certainly still has a bright future.
Alvarez? He wanted to enjoy his victory, not discuss what might come next. He offered a typical response when asked about his future at the post-fight press conference, saying he’d discuss it with his handlers and then decide.
However, in the ring earlier, he had an interesting reaction when one potential was mentioned.
“David Benavidez?” he was asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t f—ing care,” Canelo responded.
Don’t take that to mean he’d hesitate to fight his most compelling potential opponent at 168 pounds. As he said, he simply feels that no one can compete with this version of him. And it’s easy to understand why.
For a closer look at Canelo Alvarez, check out his fighter page.