Saul Alvarez has achieved what every boxing figure needs: to transcend beyond the sport’s loyal fans. The Mexican has become an icon and has made sure that the whole world has its eye on him every time he fights, which is why his fight in defense of the World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Middleweight Super Championship against Billy Joe Saunders is a great sporting event.
Since the beginning of this week, the streets of many countries have been talking about “the Canelo fight”. The 30-year-old boxer is the center of attention in the sport of flat noses, an undeniable event in the boxing world.
When Alvarez was outpointed by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2014 he received a lot of criticism, not just for the loss itself but for how he lost. But sometimes only time can speak for people and “Canelo” rebounded to continue his rise to become the number one pound-for-pound fighter.
The Guadalajara native took the baton that fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather himself had years before. These two had particular tendencies in terms of media interest. In the case of “Pacman” he is a fighter acclaimed by the fans, with an incredible sympathy and who moves masses in support every time he fights. Mayweather managed to form a very different kind of attention, in which detractors abounded and every challenge was followed massively but with a large part of the public waiting for his defeat.
Alvarez is in a middle ground, where he has almost equal parts of loyal fans and detractors. He seems to have become a fighter that people either love or hate but with time, many specialists have had to accept the fact that he has the quality to be considered the best in the world thanks to the victories he has achieved.
The year 2021 has been special for Canelo, as he has set his sights on winning all four 168-pound belts. He already holds the black and gold belt, and the WBC belt. The challenge against Saunders, who is the WBO Champion, will give him the opportunity to get that third belt and seek the fourth, the IBF title, in September against Caleb Plant.
Alvarez has been earning the respect of the fans little by little. His results have been so noticeable that there are fewer and fewer arguments from his detractors. His victory over Callum Smith in December was a blow on the table and now he will go for another Briton like Saunders whom he wants to beat to continue building his legacy.
“Canelo” is willing to face the best and has done so in recent times. Saturday’s fight will be another great challenge for him but a champion must rise to the occasion.
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