Canelo Alvarez: The Real 2019 Fighter Of The Year?

By James Slater - 12/23/2019 - Comments

The votes are still coming in in certain qarters, but some big publications/websites have made their pick and have announced such: the 2019 Fighter of the Year, according to and one or two other boxing outlets, is Canelo Alvarez. There is no doubt Canelo, 51-1-2(36) overall and going 2-0(1) this year, had a fine 2019.

A big middleweight unification clash with Danny Jacobs in May saw Canelo add another belt to his growing collection. The fight was quite close, with some fans feeling Jacobs was hard done by (Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez actually said afterwards that he saw the fight as a draw), but most felt Canelo won well.

Then, in November, the flame-haired superstar made history by becoming one of a very small number of Mexican fighters to have won world titles at four different weights. Having moved up to light-heavyweight (plenty of people scoffed when the idea of Canelo doing this was first floated), Canelo manged to KO a bigger, stronger, harder hitting fighter. For some, the KO over Kovalev elevated Canelo to the top spot in the mythical pound-for-pound charts.

So, yes, that was some year: two big fights, two big wins, and a slice of history. But is Canelo really The 2019 Fighter of the Year?

Matching his accomplishments with his rivals for the distinction sees Canelo face stiff competition from: Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence, Josh Taylor and Naoya Inoue. Ring Magazine, yet to announce it’s FOTY winner, has these five fighters, Canelo, Pac-Man, Spence, Taylor and Inoue, as their nominees.

Pacquiao, at age 40 (no extra points are given to a fighter who has accomplished what he has despite being “old”), had a fine year: beating Adrien Broner by wide decision in January and then beating Keith Thurman by close decision in July. Did Pacquiao have a better year than Canelo? You could certainly make that case.

How about Spence – who scored a shut-out decision over an unbeaten Mikey Garcia in March and then out-toughed and out-punched a ferociously determined Shawn Porter (in a Fight of the Year candidate) in September – does “The Truth” deserve the distinction? Again, you could make a strong case that he does indeed.

Scottish hero Josh Taylor had a fine 2019, beating Ivan Baranchyk by wide decision in May and then giving us a winning classic over Regis Prograis in October (in another FOTY contender).

Bantamweight punching maching Inoue had two big wins this year, smashing an unbeaten Emmanuel Rodriguez in quick fashion in May and then fighting hard and heavy for 12 full rounds to defeat Nonito Donaire (in yet another 2019 FOTY candidate) in November. Was “The Monster” the main man for you this year?

It’s a tough call, and maybe Canelo does deserve the FOTY award. Just about. But fans of Taylor, of Spence, of Pacquiao, of Inoue, have the right to make a case for their guy. But can they make a strong enough case to see Canelo not pick up the award?