Ranking the 10 Best Knockouts of Canelo Alvarez's Career
Putting together a 10-best knockouts list for a 23-year-old fighter like Saul Alvarez is probably jumping the gun a little bit. The majority of Canelo's stoppages have come against relatively obscure opponents and/or smaller fighters.
But it is also a good way to provide a basic historical overview of the young star's career to date. Like many, I am of the opinion that the redhead's popularity exceeds his accomplishments by a measure or two.
On the other hand, he is unquestionably one of the biggest current stars in the sport. And it is naive and cynical to dismiss his accomplishments out of hand.
The resume he has compiled at such a young age puts him well on track for bigger and better things going forward.
Fight details are provided by Boxrec.
10. TKO 1 of Carlos Leonardo Herrera, 9-15-2009
Canelo Alvarez was not quite two months past his 19th birthday when he defended his WBC youth belt for the first time against the 21-1 Carlos Leonardo Herrera—a fighter who was a decade older than Saul.
The Round 1 demolition was the start of a 3-5 slide for Herrera. He's become a classic trial horse and, in retrospect, this win is hardly dazzling.
But it was an important step along the road for Alvarez to get where he is today.
9. TKO 12 of Gabriel Martinez, 4-18-2008
Saul Avalrez was still just 17 when he captured his first professional title, the WBA Fedecentro Welterweight belt, by punching unbeaten Gabriel Martinez's eye shut. The WBA Fedecentro is one of those small-time titles pretty much nobody pays attention to.
But for an underage fighter like Alvarez, stopping a fellow undefeated prospect and capturing a title had to be an exciting moment.
Martinez would go on to fight some other name opponents, such as Jesus Soto Karass and Mike Alvarado. However, the bottom has dropped out of his career of late, as he's lost six straight going back to 2011.
8. TKO 11 of Euri Gonzalez, 2-21-2009
Canelo Alvarez handed Euri Gonzalez his first professional loss and captured the WBO Latino Belt in this February 2009 bout. The fight gave the 18-year-old Alvarez a third belt for his collection and made him a prospect to watch.
A Dominican Republic native who fights out of Hollywood, Florida, Gonzalez is a legitimate journeyman/trial horse-level professional. He's no world beater, but he's the type of opponent that fattens a young fighter's resume.
7. TKO 6 of Luciano Cuello, 7-10-2010
Just about a week before turning 20, Canelo Alvarez stopped Luciano Cuello in six rounds to capture the vacant WBC silver light middleweight title, his first belt at 154 pounds. At the time, Cuello was 26-1 with 12 KOs and had taken Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. all 10 rounds in a very close fight the previous year.
The burgeoning rivalry between Chavez Jr. and Alvarez reached an interesting point of comparison after this fight, with Canelo holding a telling—if ultimately meaningless—scoreboard advantage.
The Argentinian Cuello is hardly a household name among casual fans, but he is a very respectable journeyman fighter.
6. TKO 9 of Jose Miguel Cotto, 5-1-2010
Nobody will ever confuse Jose Cotto with his younger brother, Miguel. The 31-1-1 record Jose brought to the ring against Saul Alvarez in May 2010 had been built on largely obscure talent.
But he was the vastly more experienced fighter and 13 years older than the still 19-year-old Alvarez. This was Canelo's first time fighting above welterweight and—even more importantly—his first time fighting in Las Vegas, where he was destined to become a pay-per-view headliner.
There was a ton of potential pressure here for a young fighter.
5. KO 6 of Carlos Baldomir, 9-18-2010
Carlos Baldomir was the lineal welterweight champion for a stretch of time in the first decade of this century, prior to dropping that belt to Floyd Mayweather. The Argentinian came up the hard way and recorded a number of losses in the early part of his career, but—from the late 1990s through 2006—he was a top fighter at 147 pounds.
By the time Saul Alvarez faced him, Carlos was 39 and well past his prime. He was essentially a well-recognized name to pretty up Canelo's record .
Canelo was the first fighter to stop Baldomir since 1994, in just Carlos's seventh fight. But it was hardly the accomplishment it would have been just a few years before.
4. TKO 5 of Josesito Lopez, 9-15-2012
Josesito Lopez was never supposed to be Saul Alvarez's opponent on Mexican Independence Day Weekend, 2012. Originally, he had been slotted to fight Paul Williams, one of the toughest potential opponents available. But William's tragic motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Former Floyd Mayweather opponent Victor Ortiz was tapped next as Canelo's dance partner, but Josesito Lopez broke Ortiz's jaw in June 2012, spoiling Golden Boy's big plans. Desperate to get Alvarez in the ring against somebody for one of the year's major boxing weekends, Golden Boy bumped Lopez up to the big spot.
Lopez's win over Ortiz came in Josesito's first fight above 140 pounds. Alvarez battered his smaller opponent, knocking him down in the second, third and fourth rounds, before stopping him in five.
About the best that can be said for Alvarez in this one is that he did what was expected of him.
3. TKO 12 of Ryan Rhodes, 6-18-2011
I've always felt this was an underrated performance by Canelo Alvarez. It's not that Ryan Rhodes is some sort of all-time great, but he was an extremely experienced fighter at the world class level and a clever southpaw.
Just a month short of his 21st birthday, Canelo showed true poise and maturity in his first defense of the WBC light middleweight belt.
This fight was a learning experience for Alvarez. He studied Rhodes throughout the bout, got his timing down and won the majority of exchanges. In the last round he finished strong and got the stoppage.
2. TKO 6 of Alfonso Gomez, 9-17-2011
This was Saul Alvarez's first time on a major stage, on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz pay-per-view. I actually don't remember who I picked, but I know I expected Alfonso Gomez to give the young Canelo problems.
To a certain extent, he did. Gomez was an extremely crafty fighter and he controlled the tempo throughout much of the fight. But Alvarez knocked him down in the first and found the space to land big shots throughout the fight, while blocking and evading Gomez's flurries with relative ease.
The stoppage in Round 6 seemed sudden. But there is no question Alvarez had landed some big shots and had put himself in position to land bigger ones.
1. TKO 5 of Kermit Cintron, 11-26-2011
In retrospect, there is an argument to be made that Saul Alvarez caught Kermit Cintron on his way down. One might also argue that Canelo gave him a shove in that direction.
This is the win that made me take Alvarez seriously in the 154-pound division. Kermit Cintron had fought to a draw against Sergio Martinez, although I thought Martinez clearly deserved to win.
Even in the fight Cintron lost to Paul Williams—with a knee injury—he received far less of a pounding than he did against Alvarez.
Matching Cintron against Alvarez in November 2011 might have been a stroke of match-making genius by Golden Boy. But the fact remains that Cintron had recently been among the top-rated fighters in the division and Alvarez handled him.
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