As mentioned in the previous slide, last Sept. 15 WBC junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez TKOd Josesito Lopez in five rounds. It was a dominant performance, but he has received more criticism than praise for the fight.
Lopez was a much smaller fighter, a guy who had competed nearly his entire career at 140 pounds. Moreover, he is a stand-and-trade kind of fighter, not a a good style for challenging a bigger, stronger man.
About the best anybody was willing to say about Alvarez's victory over Lopez was that he managed to do exactly what he was supposed to do.
That's not necessarily a small thing in itself, though. Great athletic careers are built off from "doing what you are supposed to" over the long haul.
And 22-year-old burgeoning superstars have been known to get cocky and careless and stumble as a result. Give Alvarez at least some credit, then, for keeping his eye on the ball.
It's also not like Alvarez didn't try to line up a tougher opponent first. His original opponent for the Sept. 15 date was supposed to be the extremely tough Paul Williams, until Williams crashed his motorcycle and was tragically paralyzed from the waist down.
After Williams went out of commission, Alvarez appeared to make a serious attempt at landing a fight with the explosive-punching James Kirkland. He finally settled on former Floyd Mayweather opponent Victor Ortiz, an ex-world champion at welterweight.
As noted in the previous slide, when Lopez took out Ortiz, Alvarez was once again left with few good options.
There is, however, one prominent name that has so far received little play in the "who fights Canelo next?" sweepstakes. That name is Erislandry Lara.
Lara sports a 17-1-1 record with 11 KOs. His loss was by majority decision to Paul Williams, and it's another one of the widely criticized decisions that has plagued the sport in recent years.
Lara is also another former Cuban amateur star, the third one to appear on this list. That's not a coincidence, by the way. The recent influx of Cuban talent into the professional boxing scene has been one of the big stories of the past half decade or so.
The Cubans arrive with stellar amateur records and dangerous skill sets. What they don't generally have are good connections in the professional game. As a result, they can have a hard time getting the big fights they deserve.
Lara is due to meet undefeated Armenian-American Vanes Martirosyan this weekend, Nov. 10, so I am probably being premature calling for Alvarez-Lara ahead of time. Still, I do expect him to win over Martirosyan.
Of course, if I am wrong and Martirosyan emerges as victorious, obviously he would become the most deserving opponent for Alvarez's next big event.
In truth, if it is a close, competitive fight, both Lara and Martirosyan have the potential to emerge from this weekend as credible 2013 opponents for Canelo.