Saul “Canelo” Alvarez suffered a fractured right thumb in Saturday’s match with Liam Smith. The injury won’t require surgery, but will prevent him from fighting again this year.
The official statement from Golden Boy Promotions spokesperson Stefan Friedman reads: “Canelo’s hand will be immobilized for the next six weeks, and he will be unable to fight again in 2016. This does nothing to change Canelo’s plans to move up and take on the best in the middleweight division next year.” Canelo’s team had been eyeing a Dec.10 fight at Madison Square Garden, purportedly Canelo’s final fight at junior middleweight before returning to the middleweight division where he remains the lineal champion despite having abdicated the throne.
Canelo is thought to have suffered the fracture in the second round. This is consistent with his post-fight comments. The fracture was diagnosed by a hand specialist in Canelo’s hometown of Guadalajara.
Despite the injury, Alvarez totally outclassed his British adversary. He scored three knockdowns on route to winning by KO 9. The final knockdown was scored with a left hook to the body. Smith went down in such obvious distress that the referee didn’t bother to count. The announced attendance at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, was 51,240. This was the second-largest crowd to witness a boxing match in the state of Texas. Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker drew 59,995 to the Alamodome in San Antonio on Sept. 10, 1993.
Alvarez is a superstar in Mexico and in America’s burgeoning Mexican-American communities. It helps that his nickname perfectly captures his visage in a country where brownish red hair is uncommon. In the lingo of a press agent, “Cinnamon” has the “it factor.” When he goes out on the town, invariably with a beautiful woman on his arm, the paparazzi are there to document the moment.
The victory over Smith elevated his record to 48-1-1 (34 KOs). The lone blemishes on his ledger are a draw in his sixth pro fight when he was 15 years old and a loss on points to Floyd Mayweather in his 44th pro fight. Most ringsiders had Mayweather winning by a wide margin, but folks in Mexico thought that judge C.J. Ross delivered a more accurate assessment. She scored the bout 114-114.
Alvarez has taken a lot of heat for ducking Gennady Golovkin. The pressure to make that fight has intensified in the last few weeks. Golovkin enhanced his reputation as a wrecking machine when he overwhelmed Kell Brook in London on Sept. 10. But Alvarez’s win over Liam Smith was cleaner. Unlike Golovkin, he basically left the ring unmarked.
In boxing, thumb injuries are common. By and large, they heal with no long-lasting effects. Look for Alvarez to fight again early in 2017. Then, barring unexpected developments, he will lock horns with Golovkin later that year. It will be a blockbuster, and one won’t need to be of Mexican extraction to feel the goose bumps.