Canelo’s Superstar Status Gives Him Too Much Leverage

 

By Frank Lotierzo

Saturday night Mexican star Canelo Alvarez 47-1-1 (33) challenges WBO junior middleweight title holder Liam Smith 23-0-1 (13) at the home of the Dallas Cowboys (known as Jerry World in some circles) on HBO PPV. The fact that the boxing public is being asked to pay for the bout is a joke! Most boxing aficionados have barely seen Smith and can’t tell if he’s anything more than a sacrificial lamb for Canelo.

Canelo Alvarez, for reasons I’ll never understand, is currently the biggest draw in professional boxing — despite the fact that when he’s confronted by a fighter who can box and gives him a little side-to-side movement, he looks as if he is trudging through the mud in combat boots. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the faction of fans who follow him. The point here is, because of his status and the money that his opponents make by fighting him – there’s nobody who he can call out who will decline fighting him. Alvarez can order from a menu of fighters and make a ton of money fighting any of them, yet we get Liam Smith with Demetrius Andrade and the Charlo twins out there chomping at the bit to get into the ring with him.

Last week I stumbled on something interesting posted on the Gentleman’s Quarterly website. It was Canelo’s diet and what he goes through during training to make the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds. It consists of the following……

Breakfast
Egg whites with ham and orange juice

Lunch
Chicken with carrots, squash, broccoli and cauliflower

Snacks
Apples, cucumbers, grapes, jicama

Dinner

Protein shake with no carbs

Now if that’s not a fighter with serious issues making weight, I don’t know what constitutes one. Canelo’s diet is a dog whistle suggesting how badly he wants to stay out of the middleweight division. Not so much because he fears the supposed elite guys fighting at 160, because today’s middleweight division is very pedestrian compared to its storied history. The problem for Canelo is that there is only one fighter for him to fight at 160, at least that anybody cares about, and that’s the alpha fighter at the top, Gennady Golovkin. However, as much as I believe Canelo doesn’t fear GGG pertaining to the actual fight, I also think he knows he could lose and wants to stall the fight as long as he can in much the same way Floyd Mayweather waited years to fight Manny Pacquiao. With the difference being, I believe, that Floyd deep down knew he owned the style advantage over Manny.

The same doesn’t hold true for Alvarez versus Golovkin. Canelo likes his opponents to stand there and trade with him. Is there a single fighter around who loves that kind of a scrap more than Golovkin? The problem for Canelo is that GGG has the bigger guns and would come out on top during most of the exchanges. Canelo takes a really good shot and has a first-rate chin, but from what I’ve seen of Golovkin, he also catches pretty well. However, we can forget about Canelo versus Golovkin because Alvarez has too many options to make Mayweather-esque millions. And that doesn’t just pertain to boxing.

Alvarez recently took a shot at MMA star Conor McGregor, who actually began his combat sports career as a boxer. A few months back there was banter suggesting a matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in a boxing ring — which is a welcome change being that the boxer usually goes into the cage against the MMA fighter, where he really only has a puncher’s chance to win. But McGregor is a different breed. Not only is he a legitimate bad-ass (proven by his willingness to fight bigger guys like Nate Diaz, twice)….he’s also a businessman in much the same vein as Mayweather. The most money Conor ever made for an MMA bout is three million and change. If he were to fight Alvarez in the ring, he’d no doubt quadruple that. And best of all, he’d be under no pressure because he’s not supposed to win.

Alvarez has said via the media that he’d welcome facing McGregor in the ring. Of course he’d relish that because the money would be great, there’d be a ton of fan interest in the gimmick, and it would quell the conversation regarding Canelo fighting Golovkin. And let’s be honest, McGregor has as much of a chance to beat Canelo standing up in a ring as Alvarez does of defeating Conor in the octagon. Now, do I think a match between Alvarez and McGregor in the ring will ever happen? No. That said, I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if it did. And the reason for that is the money both guys would make and also because McGregor is a willing and fearless guy who would promote the hell out of the event.

The sad part is that instead of seeing Canelo fighting Golovkin or Andrade or one of the Charlo brothers in a real boxing confrontation, we could get stuck with a carnival bout in which Canelo was fighting a guy nowhere near his league fighting under the Marques of Queensberry rules, and he’d be paid a fortune without much risk on the line.

Offhand, I can’t think of any fighter who achieved superstar status with less going for him than Canelo Alvarez, with the possible exception of Naseem Hamed. And for that reason, not only will we most likely not see Alvarez fight Golovkin for a year or longer, we’ll also probably not see him fight some of the other upper-tier junior middleweights. That’s because he has too many options and is a major draw who can write his own ticket…..not to the same degree that Mayweather was, but he’s on his way, fighting the Liam Smiths of the world.

Canelo’s biggest challenge just may turn out to be how much longer he can continue to hide at 154. That and making sure he doesn’t lose to any of the other second tier fighters who he sees as safe. He’s really not exponentially better than they are. Sure, he’ll get the benefit of every decision, but he’s been lazy before, and that could come back to bite him. He no doubt will be careful not to outsmart himself before a mega-payday comes along.

This weekend’s fight between Alvarez and Smith has no bearing on anything significant, unless Canelo loses. And if he wins as expected, with a title and belt around his waist, he’ll have even more leverage ordering from the contender menu.

 

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

 

COMMENTS

-KO Digest :

Used to be you had to speak English to be boxing's #1 star. How a guy like this gets all that power I'll never know. But he and Oscar are not losing THAT to GGG by fighting him.


-Radam G :

Used to be you had to speak English to be boxing's #1 star. How a guy like this gets all that power I'll never know. But he and Oscar are not losing THAT to GGG by fighting him.
It is red-headed power. Hehehe! In every ethnic group, the red heads have power. Especially if red headedness is rare. Holla!


-KO Digest :

I'm totally tuning Canelo-Smith out. It's crap. It's BS. It's a waste of time. A Mexican ginger vs a gray haired Irishman, lol


-Radam G :

I'm totally tuning Canelo-Smith out. It's crap. It's BS. It's a waste of time. A Mexican ginger vs a gray haired Irishman, lol
Hehehe! You got jokes! That one is a CLASSIC! Holla!


-SouthPawFlo :

Another Well Written Piece, But I highly disagree on so many things... #1 Canelo has one of the most Solid Resumes in the game, and he's been in the ring with Waaaaaaaaaaay Better Cimpetiiton than Golovkin #2 For some reason people tend to make it like a Bad Thing that Canelo does so well at the Box Office... He was Groomed perfectly to be the star that he is... And he's fought on some Big Time Cards to get the exposure that he has... #3 Canelo is still Young, his handlers have to think Long Term with him Because he's likely to be at the Top of the Game for the next 5-6 years... If he takes the GGG fight now and wins, where does he go from there??? The 160lb Division doesn't have any PPV worthy names there at the moment...


-Radam G :

Another Well Written Piece, But I highly disagree on so many things... #1 Canelo has one of the most Solid Resumes in the game, and he's been in the ring with Waaaaaaaaaaay Better Cimpetiiton than Golovkin #2 For some reason people tend to make it like a Bad Thing that Canelo does so well at the Box Office... He was Groomed perfectly to be the star that he is... And he's fought on some Big Time Cards to get the exposure that he has... #3 Canelo is still Young, his handlers have to think Long Term with him Because he's likely to be at the Top of the Game for the next 5-6 years... If he takes the GGG fight now and wins, where does he go from there??? The 160lb Division doesn't have any PPV worthy names there at the moment...
Nice accessment! You hit the nail on the head. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

He is still a work in super star progress. He started very young. Well "groomed" like a race horse. It's in his blood.


-KO Digest :

If Canelo, his promoter, and his magazine weren't claiming the WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP to the exclusion of Golovkin, nobody would care about Alvarez fighting GGG, other than as a potentially good fight. This is about how RIDICULOUSLY LONG "Triple G" has had to wait for a "lineal" title shot. And how Canelo has the huevos to DUCK him so flagrantly. Yes, Canelo is a hell of a fighter. Better P4P than his own magazine give him credit for actually. That must be their way of offsetting their otherwise OBVIOUS bias. It's past time for Canelo to really prove it now and put that "A-side" title up for grab and give Golovkin the "shot" he has more than earned in the course of unifying the championship like Mike Tyson did. At least Michael Spinks dared step in there with the beast because he could not live with the shame if he didn't.


-Radam G :

If Canelo, his promoter, and his magazine weren't claiming the WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP to the exclusion of Golovkin, nobody would care about Alvarez fighting GGG, other than as a potentially good fight. This is about how RIDICULOUSLY LONG "Triple G" has had to wait for a "lineal" title shot. And how Canelo has the huevos to DUCK him so flagrantly. Yes, Canelo is a hell of a fighter. Better P4P than his own magazine give him credit for actually. That must be their way of offsetting their otherwise OBVIOUS bias. It's past time for Canelo to really prove it now and put that "A-side" title up for grab and give Golovkin the "shot" he has more than earned in the course of unifying the championship like Mike Tyson did. At least Michael Spinks dared step in there with the beast because he could not live with the shame if he didn't.
I read you. LOUD and CLEAR! But it is about long-term prizefighting, not pridefighting for Canelo. Biggest MONEY, smallest risk is the agenda -- the MayPac Farce. (The Money Team set up the world by fighting a known injured pug When 3g lose another step or get picked off by another pug, Canelo will come a running to challenge him. Team Canelo and his promoter GBP are looking seven or eight years down the road and at least a billion Amerikan dollars. Just the thought of fighting a solid, dangerous 3g is not long-term hurt business smart. Holla!


-KO Digest :

Canelo and Oscar know they'll get chewed up and spit out, no more cash cow, lol


-amayseng :

Canelo and Oscar know they'll get chewed up and spit out, no more cash cow, lol
It is not just a loss, Canelo is a huge draw and would remain one with a competitive loss. However, it would be GGG drilling and wrecking Canelo into submission, an embarrassing and confident killing loss to the young kid. Canelo would never be the same because he would be broken down physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.


-KO Digest :

Back in 1990, if Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez had decided to reject the unification challenge of fellow 140 pound champion Meldrick Taylor being called for by all fans and media at the time, and decided instead to return to lightweight for a PPV money grab against Greg Haugen for some random WBO belt, how many buys do you think J.C. Superstar vs. Haugen would have done three years before it ultimately happened; before Chavez had actually fought Taylor in a classic for the ages on regular HBO. By fighting Liam Smith (who?) at 154 instead of Gennady Golovkin at 160, Canelo Alvarez is insulting Mexicans, fight fans, and the boxing media that puts up with (and promotes) his "A-side" BS fantasies. When Chavez did fight Haugen in 1993, it was for all the Mexican cab drivers in Tijuana.


-Radam G :

Back in 1990, if Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez had decided to reject the unification challenge of fellow 140 pound champion Meldrick Taylor being called for by all fans and media at the time, and decided instead to return to lightweight for a PPV money grab against Greg Haugen for some random WBO belt, how many buys do you think J.C. Superstar vs. Haugen would have done three years before it ultimately happened; before Chavez had actually fought Taylor in a classic for the ages on regular HBO. By fighting Liam Smith (who?) at 154 instead of Gennady Golovkin at 160, Canelo Alvarez is insulting Mexicans, fight fans, and the boxing media that puts up with (and promotes) his "A-side" BS fantasies. When Chavez did fight Haugen in 1993, it was for all the Mexican cab drivers in Tijuana.
Hehehe! You are passionate. But we live in a different era. Social media will keep Canelo fresh and up at the top. Face it! He is the Ginger pot of gold at the end of the pugilistic rainbow. If you thought that Floyd Mayweather Jr was a ducker and a bytch, you haven't seen nothing yet. Three g will get a shot when he is shot. And a lot of moolah out of that pot. But a beat down. Holla!


-KO Digest :

You are passionate.
Hopefully until the day I die.


-Radam G :

Hopefully until the day I die.
Hehehe! You also have superstar witty humor. You'd give a comedian a run for his money. Holla!


-KO Digest :

Thank you. I lost my Mom last November and one of the hardest parts about that has been dealing with the fact that I will never be able to make her laugh again. It was one of my secret weapons throughout our lives, the gift of gab, the medicine that is laughter and good humor. No matter how upset she was, I (and only I) could make her laugh like that. I try to inject that quality into my writings on boxing but often it just goes over people's heads. Not always tho. High 5!


-Radam G :

Thank you. I lost my Mom last November and one of the hardest parts about that has been dealing with the fact that I will never be able to make her laugh again. It was one of my secret weapons throughout our lives, the gift of gab, the medicine that is laughter and good humor. No matter how upset she was, I (and only I) could make her laugh like that. I try to inject that quality into my writings on boxing but often it just goes over people's heads. Not always tho. High 5!
Condolences for the lost of your Mom. Maybe behind those Pearly Gates, the Angels are telling her that you still have "the gift of gab" -- the most power medicine in existence. Holla!


-KO Digest :

Now I'm rambling but one thing the loss of mother helped me to realize was just how incredible what Buster Douglas did really was. My Mom died and I was in a sea of daily despair, boxing was the absolute last thing on my mind. I went weeks, months, whatever it was without writing a thing, or watching a fight. Buster used his love for MOM (and DAD) to pull off the greatest upset in sports history against Iron Mike Tyson. Just wow. I could barely get out of bed or give boxing a second thought when I was going though that hell.


-Domenic :

Back in 1990, if Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez had decided to reject the unification challenge of fellow 140 pound champion Meldrick Taylor being called for by all fans and media at the time, and decided instead to return to lightweight for a PPV money grab against Greg Haugen for some random WBO belt, how many buys do you think J.C. Superstar vs. Haugen would have done three years before it ultimately happened; before Chavez had actually fought Taylor in a classic for the ages on regular HBO. By fighting Liam Smith (who?) at 154 instead of Gennady Golovkin at 160, Canelo Alvarez is insulting Mexicans, fight fans, and the boxing media that puts up with (and promotes) his "A-side" BS fantasies. When Chavez did fight Haugen in 1993, it was for all the Mexican cab drivers in Tijuana.
Yes. Also, Chavez-Taylor took place only 2 or 3 weeks after Douglas-Tyson, if I remember right. 1990 started with a bang, one hell of a historic month of boxing. And both were aired on regular HBO. The good old days. When I watched Golovkin-Brook live, I thought Triple was actually hurt in the 2nd round. But I re-watched it, and while those were good, clean shots, he wasn't hurt at all. But to play devil's advocate, I don't know how much longer Golovkin can eschew defense and welcome big shots. He's been doing this since he brutalized Ouma (that fight was a full blown war, and the shots Ouma took, especially knowing now Triple's power, were extraordinary). At some point his punch resistance is going to betray him. Canelo is making a huge mistake dodging him, because Golovkin is vulnerable to a loss at this stage, in my eyes. Canelo can bang and will land, a lot. If he wins, it's life-changing. If he loses with dignity, it's still a win in that he took the risk. That'll be rewarded by the Mexican fans. They're not big on guys that dodge and avoid.


-amayseng :

Now I'm rambling but one thing the loss of mother helped me to realize was just how incredible what Buster Douglas did really was. My Mom died and I was in a sea of daily despair, boxing was the absolute last thing on my mind. I went weeks, months, whatever it was without writing a thing, or watching a fight. Buster used his love for MOM (and DAD) to pull off the greatest upset in sports history against Iron Mike Tyson. Just wow. I could barely get out of bed or give boxing a second thought when I was going though that hell.
So sorry for your loss. I know the feeling, losing my dad a few years ago, he was a huge boxing fan. Always think of good memories and soon you will catch yourself smiling again, it takes some time but you will smile again. I actually can understand Buster's ability to not be intimidated or baffled by Tyson himself due to the loss of his mother. On the other hand, I dont know how he had the ability to continue training and keep the mindset of a fighter to get to the fight itself. Truly amazing for sure.


-KO Digest :

As young man who'd not yet experienced that, I just bought into the inspirational narrative. It was not until I'd gone through it did I then begin to comprehend what Buster really did.


-brownsugar :

Interesting comments from the TSS ALUMNI. Flo Lo caught me off guard by stating something I've always wanted to say but never quite had the words to express in a simply yet eloquent way. " Canelo is, for reasons I can't quite understand, the biggest draw in professional boxing" Just let that sink in. I often wonder the same thing. It seems like there are two Canelo's, one version is a fighter who can blow out stationary targets like Baldomir, Kirkland, Angelo, Kermit Cintron, Josesito Lopez, (and Shane Mosely) ...all of which who allowed Canelo to load up. And the second version of Canelo who can't seem to bust a grape against boxers who give a little lateral movement such as Matthew Hatton, Lara, Mayweather, Cotto and Trout to a lesser extent. Where as a boxer like Golovkin is consistent under all conditions. Its hard to judge British boxes if you can't compare them against a well known common American opponent so even though Beefy looks good on paper and in front of a home crowd, I don't have a frame of reference to provide any decent speculation of how well he does tomorrow. I won't be watching it but that's only because I have to be more selective with how I spend my disposable income .... and quite Frankly (no pun intended) I don't see anything special in his boxing ability that would warrant the purchase. I'd rather watch Pac vs Vargas. I still wish for all of the fans who do purchase the fight have an entertaining and satisfying experience. But if I watch it, I'll have to find another way. Beefy looks solid on paper, and he's the best opponent Canelo has fought post Mayweather. I hope Smith can create some magic and disrupt the corrupt practice of the "Canelo Protection Program". Some fear that if Canelo vs Golovkin doesn't happen, it will spell doom for the boxing industry. I feel that's as absurd as blaming May vs Pac for the death of boxing. May vs Pac pumped billions into the sport worldwide and created revenue for the hospitality industry, the gambling industry, the recreation industry, and many more....legal and not so legal enterprises were fed as a result of that fight. People blame HBO's financial limitations on the fight when in actuality HBO's financial issues stem from their mainstream business, the part of the business that creates shows for regular programming like "Game of Thrones". When the economy gets tighter people resist getting into chokehold contracts that leave them indebted to cable distributors who force bundled packages upon consumers which contain too many old movies that repeat in an endless loop across all the premium channels in favor of less expensive options like netflicks who offers far more variety at a lower cost or popular illegal software apps that allow you get "everything" for a one time cost of $50-$250. Anyway I don't think boxing is quite dead yet and I hope Beefy can help revolutionize the way boxing business is done by eliminating the heavily protected hypejob. If you want to know where the good boxers are between 154 and 160lbs, look no further than the fighters Canelo is avoiding. Golovkin, Jacobs, Charlo, JRock, and Andrade. Go Smith!!!!


-amayseng :

Interesting comments from the TSS ALUMNI. Flo Lo caught me off guard by stating something I've always wanted to say but never quite had the words to express in a simply yet eloquent way. " Canelo is, for reasons I can't quite understand, the biggest draw in professional boxing" Just let that sink in. I often wonder the same thing. It seems like there are two Canelo's, one version is a fighter who can blow out stationary targets like Baldomir, Kirkland, Angelo, Kermit Cintron, Josesito Lopez, (and Shane Mosely) ...all of which who allowed Canelo to load up. And the second version of Canelo who can't seem to bust a grape against boxers who give a little lateral movement such as Matthew Hatton, Lara, Mayweather, Cotto and Trout to a lesser extent. Where as a boxer like Golovkin is consistent under all conditions. Its hard to judge British boxes if you can't compare them against a well known common American opponent so even though Beefy looks good on paper and in front of a home crowd, I don't have a frame of reference to provide any decent speculation of how well he does tomorrow. I won't be watching it but that's only because I have to be more selective with how I spend my disposable income .... and quite Frankly (no pun intended) I don't see anything special in his boxing ability that would warrant the purchase. I'd rather watch Pac vs Vargas. I still wish for all of the fans who do purchase the fight have an entertaining and satisfying experience. But if I watch it, I'll have to find another way. Beefy looks solid on paper, and he's the best opponent Canelo has fought post Mayweather. I hope Smith can create some magic and disrupt the corrupt practice of the "Canelo Protection Program". Some fear that if Canelo vs Golovkin doesn't happen, it will spell doom for the boxing industry. I feel that's as absurd as blaming May vs Pac for the death of boxing. May vs Pac pumped billions into the sport worldwide and created revenue for the hospitality industry, the gambling industry, the recreation industry, and many more....legal and not so legal enterprises were fed as a result of that fight. People blame HBO's financial limitations on the fight when in actuality HBO's financial issues stem from their mainstream business, the part of the business that creates shows for regular programming like "Game of Thrones". When the economy gets tighter people resist getting into chokehold contracts that leave them indebted to cable distributors who force bundled packages upon consumers which contain too many old movies that repeat in an endless loop across all the premium channels in favor of less expensive options like netflicks who offers far more variety at a lower cost or popular illegal software apps that allow you get "everything" for a one time cost of $50-$250. Anyway I don't think boxing is quite dead yet and I hope Beefy can help revolutionize the way boxing business is done by eliminating the heavily protected hypejob. If you want to know where the good boxers are between 154 and 160lbs, look no further than the fighters Canelo is avoiding. Golovkin, Jacobs, Charlo, JRock, and Andrade. Go Smith!!!!
As always well said Bsug.... Of course one fight not happening wont kill the sport, the sport has resurrected itself a hundred times. Though it sure is disappointing when we miss a such an exciting or intriguing fight of two guys at the peak of their powers... oh ya, btw I cut the cord 6 months ago, save over 100$ a month, have been going with netflix and amazon prime for years and added hbonow for 15$ a month. Got an antenna to get many local channels so I wont miss out on football.....much happier with myself for not throwing money away on tv I never watch....


-brownsugar :

As always well said Bsug.... Of course one fight not happening wont kill the sport, the sport has resurrected itself a hundred times. Though it sure is disappointing when we miss a such an exciting or intriguing fight of two guys at the peak of their powers... oh ya, btw I cut the cord 6 months ago, save over 100$ a month, have been going with netflix and amazon prime for years and added hbonow for 15$ a month. Got an antenna to get many local channels so I wont miss out on football.....much happier with myself for not throwing money away on tv I never watch....
Cutting the cord,.... now that's what I'm talking about !!! Smart move.