Saul Alvarez dismantled Josesito Lopez Saturday night in Las Vegas, stopping him in the fifth round. The stoppage was technically a bit premature, but it was justified, as Lopez had no real chance to defeat Alvarez.
Canelo improved to 41-0 with 30 knockouts, but the wins don't have a ton of weight.
Lopez showed tremendous heart, but he was just too small to offer Canelo a legitimate challenge.
That said, Canelo is still largely untested. He has a gaudy record, but he still doesn't own a win over a competitor who has really pushed him.
Even though the battle with Lopez was one-sided, Canelo was hit with some solid shots. I have to wonder what the fight would have looked like if he was hit with those shots by a legitimate super welterweight.
Alvarez is an amazing offensive fighter, but his defense is still very suspect. He holds his guards open, and he doesn't move his head a lot.
Perhaps he'd be sharper on defense if he had to respect his opponent's punching power. Because Canelo hasn't faced a formidable challenger, we still don't know his whole story.
Up to now, his most impressive win is a unanimous decision over a 41-year-old Shane Mosley. He also stopped a washed up Kermit Cintron in five rounds. Cintron has lost three of his last four fights, and the loss to Canelo may have ended his career.
As game as Lopez was in this match, like all of Canelo's opponents to date, he was overmatched. If Canelo is to be considered one of the sport's elite fighters, he must beat someone of substance.
Based on what we saw from both prize fights on September 15, I'd rate Canelo third behind Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
A slick boxer with power like Martinez would have a much better shot at exposing Alvarez's defensive issues. His southpaw stance would only add to the challenge. A brawler with a granite chin like Chavez, Jr. may be able to wear Canelo down.
Then again, he may be the real deal. At this point, we really don't know.
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