In terms of boxing, Canelo Alvarez would not need for a lot.
He turned professional as a teen, was a champion at 20 and has made more cash throughout practically 17 years within the ring than legends like Joe Louis, Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali ever dreamed.
So it might be pure to suppose – now 32 and with sufficient money to help a number of generations – that the Mexican-born pound-for-pound ace can be content material to relaxation on his laurels.
It’d even be incorrect.
Slightly than easing again and driving the obligatory protection practice right into a profitable sundown, the undisputed king of the tremendous middleweights is tilting at one other difficult windmill.
Alvarez will put his standing as the game’s highest-profile star on the road once more this weekend in Las Vegas, the place he’ll face acquainted foil Gennadiy Golovkin within the Kazakh’s 168-pound debut.
It is a third Triple-G go-round for Alvarez, who started gathering divisional belts towards Callum Smith in December 2020 and completed with KOs of Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant throughout six months in 2021.
And now the motivation interprets to a single phrase.
“I like boxing. And I need to accomplish all of the issues I can in boxing,” he advised Boxing Scene. “The perfect issues – combat the perfect, combat all of the champions, totally different weight lessons.
“For me, my legacy is essential.”
All the time has been, the truth is.
It is a product of the mindset cast throughout a career-long partnership with trainers Eddy and Chepo Reynoso, who’ve been within the nook for each step on a path that is seen him develop – actually – from a thin 140-pound 15-year-old to the muscular physique he is morphed into at 168 and 175.
He had his thirty fourth professional bout per week earlier than his twentieth birthday and snatched his first belt at 154 kilos three fights and eight months later, defeating Matthew Hatton by unanimous resolution in March 2011.
And the hunt for greatness was formally on.
“Every part comes due to the individuals round me,” he mentioned. “You by no means know what will occur however in the event you work onerous and preserve within the gymnasium and keep disciplined, issues come.
“Issues come collectively. If you love one thing the issues come collectively. We by no means knew this was going to occur and we have been going to do that and this and this. Nevertheless it’s all come collectively.”
That first title bout aired on HBO’s second-tier Boxing After Darkish program, however the community’s longtime blow-by-blow man, Jim Lampley, acquired the prospect to name a number of of the evolving phenom’s fights on World Championship Boxing exhibits and stays impressed by the place he is come from the place he was.
“Way more cosmic and multi-talented than I at first envisioned,” Lampley advised Boxing Scene.
“And you’ll say precisely the identical factor in precisely the identical phrases about Eddy Reynoso. Rooster/egg. Each about nearly as good because it will get. Counterpuncher by origin nature turns into indomitable attacker when he needs to be? Fewer than a dozen in historical past of boxing. A famous person with epic historic influence.”
He unified and defended titles six instances over the next months earlier than making the one mistake of his profession – or not less than doing the one factor he says now that he’d change – combating Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The 2 met in September 2013 when Alvarez, although a veteran of 43 fights, was nonetheless simply 23 and hadn’t been in an occasion that enormous, not to mention towards an opponent nearly as good as Mayweather, even at 36. The older man befuddled him over 12 rounds, successful a majority resolution that stood as his solely loss for 9 years till he was once more schooled by gentle heavyweight Dmitry Bivol over 12 rounds in Could.
His then-promoter Oscar De La Hoya advised Boxing Scene he suggested Alvarez towards taking the Mayweather match, and Alvarez himself mentioned the result might need differed had it occurred later.
“I am good with my profession. However perhaps the combat with Mayweather may have waited somewhat longer, after I acquired extra expertise and extra fights on the most important levels,” he mentioned. “Perhaps that one. I believe it may have been higher for me. However I realized from that combat, too. So all the things is within the appropriate time.”
Certainly, he was a middleweight champion after defeating Miguel Cotto 4 fights after Mayweather and finally tamed – or not less than held at bay – the boogeyman that was a then-unbeaten Golovkin, going 12 rounds for a split-decision attract 2017 earlier than returning precisely 364 days later to win a majority nod.
The aforementioned titles at tremendous middleweight and lightweight heavyweight have adopted as a part of a post-Golovkin run, by which Alvarez has earned 5 of seven wins by KO whereas battling foes weighing anyplace from 160 to 175 kilos.
He fought at 160 for the ultimate time whereas defeating Daniel Jacobs in combat two of the collection and a career-high 174 1/2 in beating Kovalev, who’d arrived with 29 KOs in 34 wins.
And although the primary two Golovkin fights have been tight, Alvarez is a major trilogy-capping favourite with the oddsmakers at DraftKings, who’ve put in him as a -550 choose (wager $550 to win $100) whereas Golovkin is a +380 underdog (wager $100 to win $380).
Ought to these numbers maintain out and he end 2-0-1 towards Golovkin, there will be much more legacy discuss for Alvarez – particularly about the place he matches in the case of all-time discussions.
Nevertheless it’s all untimely, he mentioned, as a result of there’s six or seven years left to construct the resume, and he will not spend any sleepless nights desirous about it anyway.
“It would not matter for me the place they put me,” he mentioned.
“I simply work onerous, combat onerous and combat the perfect. And that is it.”
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This week’s title-fight schedule:
IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO tremendous middleweight titles – Las Vegas, Nevada
Canelo Alvarez (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Gennadiy Golovkin (No. 1 WBO/Unranked IWBR)
Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KO): Fourth WBA/WBC title protection; Unbeaten at 168 kilos (6-0, 4 KO)
Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO): Twenty-third title combat (20-1-1); Fourth combat above 160 kilos (3-0, 2 KO)
Fitzbitz says: I used to be in on the bottom flooring on GGG when he was simply an IBO champion and I absolutely hope he’ll summon a basic sendoff. However I believe Canelo’s simply too good at 168. Alvarez in 10 (85/15)
WBC tremendous flyweight title – Las Vegas, Nevada
Jesse Rodriguez (champion/No. 15 IWBR) vs. Israel Gonzalez (No. 11 WBC/Unranked IWBR)
Rodriguez (16-0, 11 KO): Second title protection; Third combat in Las Vegas (2-0, 2 KO)
Gonzalez (28-4-1, 11 KO): Fourth title combat (0-3); Fifth combat exterior Mexico (1-2-1, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Gonzalez is a bona fide world-class fighter, however he’s fallen brief in every attempt for a championship earlier than this one, and it’s not any simpler a activity right here. Rodriguez in 7 (99/1)
Final week’s picks: None
2022 picks file: 26-12 (68.4 p.c)
Total picks file: 1,235-404 (75.3 p.c)
NOTE: Fights previewed are solely these involving a sanctioning physique’s full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, and many others. Fights for WBA “world championships” are solely included if no “tremendous champion” exists within the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has lined skilled boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He’s a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America. Attain him at [email protected] or observe him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.