Saul "Canelo" Alvarez thought he knew what greatness looked like. That is, until he met Floyd Mayweather in the ring.
Alvarez has been highly touted for quite some time now, but his credibility was lacking with boxing fans because he had never fought a top-flight opponent. The closest he came was when he squared off with and defeated Austin Trout back in April.
The win was big for Canelo in the sense that he had seen a respectable opponent before going against Mayweather. The only problem was that nobody—not Trout nor anyone else Alvarez has ever laid his eyes on—is as talented as Mayweather.
In fact, Canelo may go the rest of his career and never see a fighter the caliber of Money.
So after getting a free lesson on how to box and getting handily beaten by one of the greats of all time, it's clear to everyone—Canelo included—that he still has some work to do. Granted, his current skill level would likely beat most of the fighters out there today, but Alvarez should be shooting for legendary status—not just good or great.
After all, isn't that what every boxer strives for?
It's losses like these that make or break the career of a fighter. Alvarez can either sulk over his loss to a better fighter or he can get right back in the gym and start trying to fix the things that led to his demise against Mayweather.
The latter is far more likely for Alvarez, who is as mentally tough as he is talented.
Not to mention, there is no better experience-builder than stepping into the ring with the greatest fighter of one's era. That will forever be a huge advantage Canelo has over any of his future opponents.
Alvarez simply might not have it in him to get to Mayweather's level, and there's no shame in that. Few can match what Mayweather is and what he's accomplished, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try. Alvarez is the type of fighter who won't stop until he's gotten to that level.
So, what was a tough, disappointing loss at the hands of Mayweather will prove to be rather constructive for the 23-year-old. It shows Canelo that while he has come very far, he still has a long way to go.