Canelo Alvarez: Another Dominant Performance, Who’s Next
By Joe Alexander
It is far too easy after the fact, to doubt the ability and credibility of Callum Smith. Before the fight, most believed Canelo Alvarez would secure the victory, but in a closely fought contest. This was far from the case and did almost make you question, was Callum Smith ever really that good?
This is unfair on both Canelo and Smith. Canelo is a truly great fighter and has underlined and punctuated with an exclamation mark, his position as pound for pound number one.
Smith was unbeaten and deemed the best super-middleweight in the world. Therefore, the majority of the credit belongs to Canelo. He turns high-level champions into average, soulless fighters – he’s that good.
There could be a slight question mark over the approach and gameplan from Smith. The taller man, with the reach advantage, but yet wanted to stand toe-to-toe in front of Canelo rather than keeping him at distance.
But again, we come back to was the gameplan incorrect or did Canelo take any plans Smith had away from him? Canelo’s head movement continues to improve and at times mesmerise. He took away opportunities for Smith to put a dent in him and therefore meant Canelo continued to come forwards, pushing Smith back.
Additionally, Canelo wasted barely any of his shots, it seemed at times everything he threw not only landed, but landed with vicious intent and power. Smith can be proud that he stayed the course and like everyone except Floyd Mayweather, lost to Canelo. It now opens the question with another world champion defeated, who is next for Canelo Alverez?
As Canelo stands a clear distance ahead of the rest, it makes it difficult to provide a suitable fighter who not only could give Canelo a real test, but do the unthinkable and dethrone the pound for pound king.
There are two options in mind, firstly is the trilogy with Gennady Golovkin. This is seemingly the biggest fight out there for Canelo, both financially and legacy wise. Golovkin came close twice in the previous two fights against Canelo. A lot of people felt Golovkin won at least one of those fights, and with an impressive stoppage of IBF mandatory Kamil Szeremeta the day before Canelo dominated Smith, Golovkin is firmly back in the mix.
To a lesser extent than Canelo v Smith, it was difficult to say accurately just how good Golovkin looked or was it a case of an inexperienced and under-matched opponent in Szeremeta.
For a 38-year-old Golovkin looked in great shape and still seems to carry his power. His variation in his punches was joyful to watch. In terms of styles, Golovkin has the power and approach to again trouble Canelo, as he is at his best at close quarters.
Canelo is dangerous walking forwards, but Golovkin isn’t afraid to meet his opponent head-on. Canelo’s head movement albeit excellent, he won’t be as comfortable or confident walking down Golovkin. You have to make Canelo respect you by putting a dent in him otherwise he becomes in charge and takes the fight away from his opponent.
However, at 38 and with Canelo seemingly in his prime, the question remains whether this Golovkin can keep pace and do enough to finally get a victory over his biggest rival.
In a complete contrast of style and proven calibre, the other name put forward is Billy Joe Saunders.
There is a danger of this being similar to Smith in terms of building up the chance of Saunders beating Canelo. The complete opposite in style compared to Golovkin, but the style of a genuine back-foot, technical boxer in Saunders is the only other feasible approach to beating Canelo.
However, we only ever see Saunders at his best when in a big challenging fight and this doesn’t get any bigger. Perhaps Saunders can find a new level. He would have to trust in the judges as he would be there to win a points decision.
The real damning aspect to Saunders chances is that he doesn’t possess power. Therefore he won’t be able to stop Canelo from coming forwards. However, if he completely commits to the plan of hit and move on the outside, he may have a chance to keep himself away from danger and land with scoring shots.
Saunders has been calling for a massive title fight next, and this is that fight. On the financial side, Saunders doesn’t bring great value and perhaps isn’t the shining name for Canelo’s record. However, Canelo seems to want to pick up titles and take down those who are deemed the best in their division. Golovkin and Saunders are both connected to Matchroom, and they seem the easier and most obvious fights to make in 2021.
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