Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, at the age of 33, defies the conventional aging curve in boxing, entering his 64th professional bout as he prepares to take on fellow undisputed champion Jermell Charlo. Canelo’s enduring excellence places him in a league of his own, making it unlikely that we will witness elite fighters of his caliber in the future.
While some may argue that Canelo’s skills are waning, a closer look suggests otherwise. His recent performance against John Ryder in May demonstrated his continued sharpness, strength, and power. However, the sheer number of fights he has engaged in over the years suggests that physical decline is inevitable. The toll of 20 fights before turning 18, a professional debut at 15, 23 world-title fights in just 12 years, and battles against nearly 20 exceptional opponents cannot be ignored. Canelo, despite his superhuman qualities, remains human, and the day he shows signs of aging is bound to come, although it hasn’t arrived yet.
Canelo’s encounter with Dmitry Bivol last year sparked discussions about his potential decline. However, this analysis may not be accurate. Bivol, the WBA light-heavyweight champion, is a formidable opponent and too skilled to be defeated solely based on size discrepancies. While Canelo’s magic was evident, Bivol’s intelligence, timing, and confidence ultimately prevailed.
Canelo has set an extraordinarily high standard, contributing to the expectation of super-fights whenever he steps into the ring. His recent shift to Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) from Matchroom Boxing appears financially motivated, but it aligns him with ‘Iron Man’ Charlo, an accomplished fighter who deserves recognition.
Jermell Charlo, half of the renowned Charlo twins, has quietly built an impressive career. Despite being only two months older than Canelo, Charlo boasts a stellar record, with just one loss in 37 bouts and a draw against Brian Castano, which he promptly rectified to become the undisputed champion at light-middleweight. Charlo’s journey from a 17-year-old debutant to his present status is an exceptional feat.
The upcoming fight between Canelo and Charlo is steeped in history, with both fighters having made their pro debuts as teenagers, amassing 100 fights combined and boasting remarkable winning records. This unique storyline is unlikely to be replicated.
Although Charlo may be slightly older, he enters the bout as the fresher fighter. While weight could be a factor given Canelo’s natural size advantage, it’s unlikely to be the deciding factor. Charlo is expected to rise to the occasion in Las Vegas, and his intelligence in the ring might pose challenges for Canelo, who has struggled against smart opponents.
Intriguingly, this fight could evoke strong reactions, with the potential for a contentious interpretation if it goes the distance. Canelo’s career has seen several closely contested matches, leaving room for debate about the outcome. The clash between these two accomplished fighters is poised to deliver yet another captivating chapter in the sport of boxing.