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Why Canelo Alvarez is pound-for-pound number one

Danny Flexen makes the case for the Mexican hero to be king of the world

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Canelo Alvarez beats Danny Jacobs
Canelo Alvarez beats Danny Jacobs

It is baffling to me that, when talk turns to the pound-for-pound conversation, Canelo Alvarez is often excluded from the top three.

 

Has it become unfashionable to admire the Mexican superstar, a two-weight (discounting WBA Regular) world champion who has beaten more top-level opponents that his pound-for-pound rivals? Canelo had the failed drug test of course and, in the eyes of many observers, has benefited from a number of contentious decisions. Also his style is maybe not as dynamic, as sexy, as a Terence Crawford or Vasiliy Lomachenko.

 

But let’s be real. I have always believed the p4p debate should be based around results, level of opposition and performance. In other words, facts not innate talent or potential.

 

Who is Loma’s most impressive scalp? Jorge Linares who got blasted out soon after or Guillermo Rigondeaux who was significantly undersized? Terence Crawford reigned at lightweight, was undisputed champ at 140lbs of course then won a world title at welter defeating Jeff Horn, who just lost to Michael Zerafa and may, in hindsight, have caught an ageing Manny Pacquiao on an off night. They both await that career-defining victory.

 

Canelo, whether you agree with the judges’ views or not, has officially beaten Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and a raft of contenders below their level. His is a resume far superior to any of his pound-for-pound counterparts and, at just 29, with longevity to match. There are elements to dislike about Canelo, sure, but he has fought the best and, for the most part, emerged triumphant. He is a proven commodity and, to me, that matters.

 

There may also be some recency bias at play, certainly in the promotion of Lomachenko, who has been pretty active, and the relegation or neglect of Canelo and, to a lesser extent, Oleksandr Usyk, both of whom postponed their next scheduled outings. It’s entirely natural to favour the excellence most recently viewed and Lomachenko looked good against an inspired Luke Campbell, and great versus an outgunned Anthony Crolla.

 

Canelo will however return in November and should that be a light-heavyweight victory over arguably the divisional supremo in Sergey Kovalev, maybe then fans and pundits will recall just how daring, and exceptional, the Mexican is.

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