Saul Canelo Alvarez, the essence of boxing divinity7 min read
Both Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez obtained stunning and crashing victories last Friday and Saturday respectively. The Kazakh and the Mexican boxers made their tasks look extremely easy and simple thanks to an unmatched power and sharp strategy. Will the path of this stunning fighters be going to cross again? We truly hope so.
Gennady Golokvin’s Performance
After a 14-month break, Gennady Golovkin has returned to the ring. As expected, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs), who had managed to prevail against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October 2019, has crashed Kamil Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KOs), mandatory challenger for the middleweight IBF and IBO world champion title. A decidedly over-the-top performance from Golovkin, who knocked out his opponent four times in the course of this bout, before Szeremeta’s staff decided to give up and stop the fight after the end of the seventh round. This victory allowed the Kazakh to set a new record defending 21 times the middleweight title. Let’s go quickly through the match for those who missed it.
The fight immediately started uphill for the challenger, who after a natural study phase, where he tried to box with straight shots, just seconds before the end of the first round, first suffered an uppercut and then a precise and fast left hook that knocked him down. Gennady Golovkin dominated the second round, using his excellent jab to control the distance and the offensive attempts of his opponent. The Kazakh boxer works with his left hand, first with single jabs, then by doubling up on hooks. Towards the end of the fraction a very quick and powerful combination of left hook and right jab crashed against Szeremeta who collapsed again. The Polish athlete in clear difficulty gets up and finishes the round.
Golovkin continued his excellent work with the jab in the third round. The Kazakh controls every movement of his opponent with his straight punches, chasing him and closing him on the ropes at every possible opportunity. Szeremeta tried to react by shortening the distance in the fourth round, in a vain attempt to limit the champion’s jabs. But during a close exchange a devastating left hook hit the Polish boxer, who suffered a further KD. In the fifth round GGG once again upped the pace, despite his opponent trying to interrupt his actions by clinching. Despite the obstructionism, the Kazakh continued to demolish his opponent blow after blow, although less effectively than in the previous rounds. The sixth round was very hard for Szeremeta who no longer responded to the blows, but only tried to avoid taking them. But to contain the champion seemed an impossible task. The Pole absorbed all the arsenal of his adversary. The seventh round followed the same pattern as the previous one, with the addition of a takedown after a double left jab that bent the Polish man’s legs.
Canelo Alvarez’s Performance
The following day another great performance at the Alamodome of San Antonio by the Mexican champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) who dominated the fight against the British Callum “Mundo” Smith (27-1-0, 19 KOs) snatching from him the WBA (Super) world title of the super middleweight and the vacant WBC belt of the category. The challenger has aroused a particular impression for his ability to make seem easy an enterprise that at the eve appeared full of pitfalls. These are the final scorecards which awarded Canelo unanimously: 119 – 109, 119 – 109, 117 – 111. Let’s see what happened.
As it was to be expected, the two boxers have been protagonists of a very tactical start, functional to study the rival’s moves and to adapt their strategy. Canelo Alvarez, who had to overcome a consistent disadvantage in terms of stature and reach, started the fight advancing in small steps, without forcing the entries and limiting himself to a few jabs aimed at testing the champion’s hermetic guard. Callum Smith, contrary to his habits, preferred to keep the fighter’s temper at bay, moving in a circle on his legs and trying to exploit his very long arms. The result was three balanced rounds, without big jolts, in which the defenses had the better of the attacks. I would say Callum the first, and Canelo Alvarez the second and third round.
However, Canelo Alvarez started to flare up during the fourth round, when the Mexican, having by now deciphered his rival’s characteristics, managed to surprise him in at least two occasions when Callum Smith ended up against the ropes trying to protect himself with his high arms. Realizing the permeability of his defense, Callum Smith tried to react showing a greater temperament during the fifth round, which saw him protagonist of a vehement and volatile start to which, however, the powerful British boxer was not able to give continuity. With the passing of the minutes in fact, Callum Smith has progressively lost reactivity, finding himself more and more often at the mercy of Canelo Alvarez‘s dangerous blows.
After the turnaround, the British reigning champion was faced with a rebus with essentially no solution. Continuing to play the role of the elusive boxer, violating his nature, was making him slip back in the score and was draining his energies without any construction; on the other hand, planting his feet and exchanging with Canelo Alvarez did not give him any result because the difference in agility, speed and reflexes from short distance was abysmal in favor of the Mexican. The central rounds have seen a confused Callum Smith, apparently undecided on what to do, who, even if he didn’t suffer excessive damages, was constantly less precise and less concrete than his opponent. Things became even more complicated for the British boxer starting from the ninth round, when Canelo Alvarez, sensing the tiredness of the world champion, raised his rhythms considerably, repeatedly hitting to the body and to the head. The Mexican opened the way with a portentous jab, all the more surprising if we think that it anticipated that of a boxer twenty centimeters taller and followed it up with dry and implacable hooks and uppercuts. Smith’s face soon showed the signs of the increasing punishment in action forcing the corner to work overtime to tamp down the copious flow of blood from Callum Smith’s nostrils.
Increasingly in pain and by now disillusioned about the possibility of returning home with the belts at his waist, Callum Smith disputed the last three rounds with the clear intent of arriving on his feet at the final bell. In some moments, the KO seemed a matter of seconds, but Smith’s solidity and pride got the better of him and among much suffering, increasingly stiff legs and physical exhaustion, the British boxer finished the twelve rounds without ever touching the mat. My personal scorecard was 118 to 110 in favor of Canelo Alvarez, in line with those compiled by the judges.
After the match against Callum Smith, Canelo Alvarez presented himself to the microphones of DAZN serene and smiling, with his face almost completely clean, happy for the two more belts conquered and for the excellent performance offered to his fans. Responding to the interviewer’s questions, Canelo Alvarez stated that he wants to stay in the super-middle category so that he doesn’t have to make weight with fatigue anymore and added that his goal now is to reunify all four available belts, without expressing however a preference on who among the other two champions (Caleb Plant and Billy Joe Saunders) he would like to face first. Let’s stop for a second. Both the mentioned fighters would stand a chance against the Canelo Alvarez we have seen tonight. Particularly, Billy Joe Saunders who is worth half of Callum Smith and he has never fought against a proper boxer. After what we have seen last night, literally I would not exclude that Canelo Alvarez could take them both down one after the other one in one night. The rest of the division does not have any name who may even consider getting close to Canelo Alvarez.
Confirming the will of keep fighting at the super-middleweight category, most likely we can forget fights against Jermall Charlo (30–0, 22 KOs) or Demetrius Andrade (29–0, 18 KOs), unless they would decide to step up of category. Therefore, the inevitable question comes: about the eternal rival Gennady Golovkin, whose name immediately caused a smile on Alvarez’s face during the post-fight interview? Both fighters have not closed the doors to a third match, and this arguably represents the only significant match, from a boxing perspective, that Canelo Alvarez can consider. Unfortunately, the age of GGG, who in April 2021 will be 39-year-old, inevitably will affect the performance of the Kazakh boxer and given that Canelo Alvarez is getting better and better, there may not be any chance of victory for Gennady Golovkin.
Few hours ago, when I was enjoying the skills of the strongest P4P boxer (or Terence Crawford?), I was also realizing that becoming a divinity comes with a problem: impossibility of finding a decent opponent. Or maybe this is the definition of boxing divinity, its essence. Congrats, Canelo. Say hi to the boxing Olympus!
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