Former junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora believes Canelo Alvarez will be fine as long as he stays at 168. Still, if he wonders up to 175, he could run into trouble against the bigger punchers up there.
There’s a pretty good chance that Canelo won’t bother going up to 175 because it would wreck his legacy for him to get pummeled by Artur Beterbiev or one of the other top guys.
Mora is specifically concerned about Canelo fighting IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, WBA champ Dimitry Bivol and former WBO 168lb champ Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
Those guys hit hard, and they can throw more punches than Canelo, who no longer seems capable of throwing many shots now that he’s at 168.
Although Canelo moved up to 175 to defeat former WBO champion Sergey Kovalev in 2019, that was against an old faded guy who fought bizarrely.
For fans that have gotten used to watching Kovalev fight for the last 10 years, he looked like someone else that night.
You can’t look at that fight and say with 100% certainty that Canelo could hang with Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr, or Dimitry Bivol.
Gilberto Ramirez is more of a volume puncher, but he would give Canelo many problems with his size, work rate, and fearlessness.
It’s a game-changer,” Sergio Mora said to DAZN Boxing Show about Canelo potentially moving up to 175 after this year.
“Now we’re dealing with the big boys. Zurdo Ramirez, he’s a southpaw. He’s a power puncher. [Artur] Beterbiev, [Dmitry] Bivol, that’s too much for him.” said Mora.
Again, Gilberto Ramirez isn’t a power puncher. Although he does put maximum strength into every shot, he’s not in the same class as Beterbiev or Joe Smith. Bivol similar to Ramirez in terms of power, but he’d give Canelo problems with his boxing ability.
You really can’t say that Canelo has proven anything at 168 because he’s fought only beatable opposition he hand-picked.
Yeah, Canelo has beaten three world champions at 168, but they were flawed guys that picked up titles, thanks to strategic match-making by their clever promoters.
Canelo’s championship wins at 168:
- Rocky Fielding
- Callum Smith
- Billy Joe Saunders
Those are not great fighters, and they’ll all likely lost to David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, Gennadiy Golovkin, and Demetrius Andrade.
Since moving back down to 168, Canelo’s work rate seems lower than it used to be. That might be age or possibly him focusing on trying to score knockouts.
For Canelo to beat the light heavyweight like Beterbiev, he would need to increase his work rate because he won’t be able to count on winning if he’s throwing fewer punches than him.
Beterbiev is an excellent body puncher, and he has a better jab than Canelo. His jab is like a power punch, and it sets up his body shots really well.
“He’s throwing fewer punches. That’s what you have to do when you start moving up in weight,” Mora continued about Canelo.
“At 160-plus, these bigger men with bigger punches, they don’t rely on volume. They rely on the accuracy, that power, they rely on trauma and force, and that is what Canelo is doing.
“Let him pick up this last belt at 168, the first-ever to be the undisputed at the weight,” Mora said. “That’s how you make a case to be the greatest Mexico ever produced.”
You can’t say that Canelo will have accomplished greatness by unifying the 168 lb division against the weak champions that have held the belts.
For Canelo to achieve greatness, he needs to beat the talented fighters, not just focusing on taking belts away from champions that won their belts with the help of strategic match-making by their promoters.
Rocky Fielding, Billy Joe Saunders, and Callum Smith are all perfect examples of fighters that didn’t beat anyone to win their titles.
If those guys had to go through Jermall Charlo, Golovkin, Andrade, or Benavidez to win their belts, they’d have never become champions.
Canelo gains nothing beating paper champions like the ones he defeated to capture his belts at 168.
Therefore, if Canelo wants to become the next Mexican fighter in the history of the sport, he needs to focus on beating these guys:
- Jermall Charlo
- David Benavidez
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Edgar Berlanga
- Artur Beterbiev
- Joe Smith Jr
- Gilberto Ramirez
- Dimitry Bivol
- Jean Pascal
- David Morrell