The Road to Cotto-Canelo: The Rise of Canelo

CaneloTHIn the post-boxing world of Mayweather & Pacquiao there are no shortage of potential stars.  The youngest and the most popular star of them all is Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.  Alvarez is currently the most watched fighter in the entire country of Mexico.  He is a proven ticket seller and Pay-Per-View attraction.   He sold 40,000 tickets at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas in 2013 and this past May against James Kirkland in Houston sold another 30,000 tickets to the event.  Canelo on his own has sold 300,000 PPV buys as the main headliner on two PPV events against Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo.  In 2013 he also took part in one of the highest grossing PPV events of all time against Floyd Mayweather where he lost almost every round, but helped sell 2.2 million in PPV buys. Now that all of those financial stats are out of the way lets discuss the most important factors concerning Canelo: he has 46 fights with experience against some veterans and he is only 25 years old.  Alvarez turned professional in 2005 at just 15 years of age and has been making headlines since the beginning.

Alvarez’s fight against Miguel Cotto is really make or break.  If Cotto loses he will likely retire and will be thought as past his prime, having fought a man who is almost ten years his junior.  Alvarez losing has much bigger implications as it will show that possibly Canelo is more sizzle than steak.  Before Canelo’s fight against Austin Trout in April 2013 he was largely thought by most as a protected fighter who was manufactured by the media. Canelo was even given a relatively soft touch to become the youngest junior middleweight champion in history against Matthew Hatton.  It was seen as more of a slight by Oscar De La Hoya against Fernando Vargas who earned his record by defeating Yory Boy Campas in 1998.  Before he won that title, the match up to face Miguel Cotto was already in motion and foreshadowed.

What better way to get a fighter in the ring then by facing a member of his family.  On the under-card of Mayweather – Mosley in May 2010, Canelo faced off against Miguel Cotto’s brother, Jose Miguel Cotto.  Canelo won the match-up by TKO in between rounds nine and ten, but the fight is largely remembered for being the first time the public had seen Canelo visibly hurt in a match.  Canelo had his first real standout performance against Carlos Baldomir where he knocked him out with a great left hook in the sixth round to put a stamp that he was more than just media hype.

Canelo and Cotto have many common opponents ranging from the lower tier to the top tier.  Lovemore N’dou, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout. The two that are the most important in this equation are Mayweather and Trout as N’dou, Gomez and Mosley fought Cotto 3 to 5 years apart from when they stepped inside the ring with Canelo.  Cotto put up a much better effort against Mayweather and looked worn out and past him prime against Austin Trout.  Mayweather befuddled Canelo and had all his flaws exposed on the biggest stage and in the Trout fight Canelo showed that he could box effectively; he outpointed Trout in San Antonio.  These common opponents show no advantage for either fighter in their upcoming bout, but it does highlight how important the match is in terms of legacy for both men.

Canelo Alvarez has everything going for him heading to November 21st.  He has the youth, size, strength and most importantly the access to tape on how to defeat Miguel Cotto.  The last time Alvarez was on this big stage he failed to impress.  Against Mayweather, Canelo was there to show he didn’t belong on the under-card anymore.  Box office wise he did accomplish that.  Canelo against Cotto is his chance to show that the next generation belongs to one person.  If Canelo has his way on November 21st , that one person may well be Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

About the Author

Hector Franco
Graduated from USF. Photographer, boxing writer, comedian. 100% Puerto Rican.

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