Jason L. (Boca Raton, FL): I thought Canelo was on his way to victory early on, but I don’t agree with the scorecards at the stoppage. How did your cards look at the stoppage?
Vivek W. (B247): I’ve heard a lot of this talk, and to be quite frank, I don’t think there’s any coincidence that most who felt that way came into the fight expecting Plant to win. For those watching with a neutral mind, I think it was very hard to give Plant more than two, possibly three rounds over the course of the entire fight. He spent most of his time going backwards, and although he was throwing his hands, he didn’t come with the intention of doing damage, as seen in the fact that he threw 80 more punches yet allowed Canelo to outland him by 16. His most used punch was a jab that was really used more so to keep Canelo off rather than actually do damage. When trying to make sense of scorecards in boxing, I like to view scoring in a similar way to pro basketball.
For example, a jab is likened to the effectiveness of a free throw (single point), a power punch is likened to a two-point shot, and a knockdown is likened to a three-point shot. While Plant won the battle of the jabs (42-15), you have to ask yourself, which “shots” scored the most ‘points’ (in the minds of the judges) and made the greater impact? Those shots, unequivocally, were the power punches! In that department, Canelo outlanded Plant 102-59. He almost doubled his output, and the 43 additional punches landed were disbursed over 11 rounds. That’s an average of 4+ additional power punches per round. If you wonder how he broke Plant down and got the eventual stoppage, that’s how! He had that many more chops at the tree, and they were big chops! Not paper cuts! Seven rounds to three is very realistic.
Javier I. (Houston, TX): I think Canelo Alvarez is the best Mexican fighter ever. Where do you put him on your list, and how do you rate him overall – in terms of his P4P status?
Vivek W. (B247): Mexico has given boxing some of the best pure warriors the sport has ever seen, including one of my favorite warriors (Zarate), who accomplished the incredible feat of two separate streaks of 20 or more consecutive knockouts. The one thing inherent with all Mexican warriors is the heart of a lion. Those at the top had that lion heart and a lot more. Although most would place Chavez at the top of the list of all-time Mexican greats, I think a fluffy resume that consisted of very few true threats (over his first 80+ fights) would stop me from joining those who feel that way. If you’re judging results, perhaps he would get the nod. If you’re looking at it from a total package standpoint, I think Salvador Sanchez and Carlos Zarate would have had a strong argument up until now.
Sanchez is more like the NFL’s Bo Jackson, where you just saw incredible talent, but in a very incomplete fashion. Our sample size for Sanchez’s body of work is just too small to truly say he earned that title. Regardless of how we view the Zarate’s and Sanchez’s of the world, I think what we’re seeing in Canelo at this stage propels him to a totally different level, as he has basically applied the Mayweather blueprint to his proud legacy as a vintage Mexican fighter. Highest-grossing earner, most consistent results, the best combination of opposition (diversity of styles defeated), and beyond. His ability and results separate him from anything Mexico has put out, and that says a ton! It’s very hard to put anyone above him, categorically, at this stage.
Relative to his current pound-for-pound status, I have him in the same place now that I had him three years ago. The only ones who haven’t are the ones who partake in the whole ‘mythical’ conversation, basing things on recent victories and star power rather than pure talent. The most accurate way to judge the P4P talent today is to ask yourself, “which fighter requires the least match-making assistance when it’s time for a bout to be made? In other words, the guy who doesn’t need the matchmaker to work too strategically – looking at the weight, size, or ability of ANY opponent on the grid. Just pick a night and make the fight! That guy, for me, has been Canelo for at least three years. You just know, no matter who’s on the other side, he’s going to be the odds-on favorite to win at the end of the night.
Derek M. (Atlanta, GA): How do you think this version of Canelo handles a prime version of Mayweather and Andre Ward?
Vivek W. (B247): All due respect, but this question is pretty funny to me! A solid fighter gets a victory, and we begin to think of all the other fights we can’t see them face and wonder how they’d do if they faced them. Fantasy stuff at its finest! (LOL). The truth is, as amazing as Canelo looks, there’s still an argument to be made for both men defeating him. In the case of Mayweather, I don’t think we’d get a much different fight than we did years ago. If we’re talking totally at the apex of his game, we’re talking about a fighter who still would make Canelo miss and make him pay as much today as he did yesterday!
Canelo has recently fought at higher weight classes, so everyone thinks he’s so much bigger now. The truth is, Canelo has entered the ring in the 170s for years! Here are a few unofficial fight night weights: Lara – 171 lbs, Angulo – 174 lbs, Trout – 172 lbs, and against Mayweather, it was said to be approximately 173 lbs. He had the same thunderous power than that he has now, which is why Mayweather Sr. was so animated in-between rounds, telling young Floyd to stop being so tentative after he tasted that power. The only reason this power was sufficient enough to stop Plant, Kovalev, and others is because he was able to land that power on them. The reason he wasn’t able to stop Floyd is because he couldn’t land that power on Floyd! No one lands combinations on Floyd. Not even Pacquiao. So the power doesn’t accumulate the same.
In his prime, he’d beat Canelo to the punch and make him miss more every time, so I can’t see those results changing. In the case of Andre Ward, it gets very intriguing. Ward is like the Tom Brady of boxing. He didn’t have the flashiest weapons on the market (i.e., speed, thunderous power, etc.), but he knew how to use everything in his arsenal to make sure it was more than you had when the bell rang. His toughness, bodywork, and consistency would have made him a problem for Canelo. Plant, Kovalev, and others took rounds off. Ward had consistent pressure, was an incredibly cerebral fighter, and was big enough and strong enough in his prime to be a problem for Canelo. There’s an argument to be made both ways, as Canelo could do things that would be a big problem for Ward as well. Too bad we’ll never see this one!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at 954.770.9807, email@example.com, or via Facebook in daily chat threads with fans around the world talking boxing)