How Does Canelo Alvarez Compare To Other Great Fighters From Mexico?
With his eleventh round stoppage win over Caleb Plant on November 6, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez became the first fighter to unify all four major belts at 168 pounds. It was a historical moment in more ways than one. Not only did Alvarez become the first undisputed world super middleweight champion in the history of the sport, he also became the first fighter from the boxing-rich country of Mexico to become an undisputed world champion.
Following his win over Plant, fans and pundits are now asking where he ranks in the pantheon of great fighters from his home country of Mexico. Is Canelo Alvarez now the greatest Mexican boxer of all time? Because of its deep roots where many turn pro while in their mid-teens, boxing is more than just a sport. When you look at the resume of the redhead from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, you must compare it to other greats from south of the border. Let’s stack it up against a few of his contemporaries considered among the best from Mexico.
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ
From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, El Gran Campeón Mexicano (The Great Mexican Champion) was a force. He won five world titles in three different weight divisions (130, 135, and 140 pounds) and held the mantle of best pound for pound fighter in the world at one point in his career. Chavez was a global star and reached mythical status in his homeland.
He beat world champions such as Roger Mayweather, Edwin Rosario, Jose Luis Ramirez, Juan LaPorte, and Meldrick Taylor. His twelfth-round TKO win over Taylor on St. Patrick’s Day of 1990 remains one of the most dramatic and controversial endings in boxing history.
Two-time undisputed world champion at 118 and two-time world 126 pound champ. Ruben Olivares is arguably the greatest bantamweight in the history of the sport. He, not only, had one of the sport’s great left hooks, pulverizing opponents with that punch to the head and the body. He’s the father of the “Mexican Style”, which defined a generation of Mexican fighters.
When he sadly passed away in August of 1982, Sanchez was on the cusp of superstardom. The former world WBC world featherweight champion was one of the best fighters of his time, regardless of weight. He defeated and stopped four Hall of Fame fighters in Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez, and Azumah Nelson. His August 1981 TKO win over Gomez stands out as he beat a man in his prime who is considered the greatest ever at 122 pounds. For those who have seen him fight, you know how special he was.
“El Finito” was a marvelous fighting machine who could do it all in the ring. Ricardo Lopez was a master boxer who often looked flawless. The way he executed his ability was beautiful to watch.
Lopez is the greatest minimumweight to lace on a pair of gloves. He held the WBC 105-pound title in 1990 and reigned as a world champion for the next eight years. He went on to win the IBF world belt at 108 pounds in 1999, holding that title until he retired in 2001 with the diction of never losing as a professional (51-0-1, 38 KOs)
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
Along with Lopez, Marquez helped usher in a new era of boxing south of the border. He could be aggressive when he had to. However, he brought in a much more diverse, versatile brand of boxer-puncher.
A world champion at featherweight, junior lightweight, and lightweight, he fought damn-near everyone during his era. His four-fight series with Manny Pacquiao will go down as one of the greatest in recent memory.
MORE MEAT ON THE BONE
Others worth mentioning are Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Carlos Zarate, and Vicente Saldivar. At the very least, Canelo Alvarez has done more than enough to be considered among those at the mountain top.
Alvarez has won world titles from junior middleweight to light heavyweight. The accomplishments in the ring do indeed rank with those who graced the ring before him. At age 31, he can reach even greater heights before he calls it a day. Should he move up to 175-pounds and conquer that division in the manner he did at 168, that would be one more notch on his belt. It strengthens his case.
Canelo Alvarez is on Mt. Rushmore of the best to ever do it. But is he the GOAT of Mexican boxing right now? While it’s an engaging topic for pundits and fans to debate on social media and message boards. The answer to that ultimate question is still to be determined.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.