Boxing great Roberto Duran says Canelo Alvarez can potentially be the greatest Mexican boxer in the sport’s history if he moves up to cruiserweight and wins his fifth division world title by beating WBC champion Ilunga Mababu on May 7th.
To become the greatest Mexican boxer ever, Canelo must become undisputed at 175 and at cruiserweight. Also, he’ll need to stop cherry-picking and fight all the guys fans believe he’s been avoiding like the plague.
In Duran’s eyes, Canelo would be achieving something special by beating the 34-year-old Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs) to win a fifth division world title. Unfortunately for Canelo, the boxing public wouldn’t be impressed with him beating Makabu because he’s not highly regarded.
For Canelo to impress the knowledgeable boxing fans in terms of the hardcore enthusiasts of the sport, he would need to defeat Lawrence Okolie and Mairis Briedis as a baseline.
To really impress fans, Canelo would need to become the undisputed champion at cruiserweight and light heavyweight. Since he’s not expected to do either of those things, you can’t say he deserves to be called the greatest Mexican fighter ever.
Duran: Canelo will do better moving up
Roberto Duran believes Canelo will perform better in moving up to cruiserweight because he won’t have to lose weight to get down to the 168-lb limit.
There are limits to how well Canelo will do if he chooses to stay at cruiserweight after his fight with WBC champion Ilunga Makabu on May 7th.
If Canelo chooses to fight A and B-level cruiserweight, he’ll start taking punishment and begin losing repeatedly.
At 5’8″, Canelo will be too small to mix it up with the quality cruiserweight, and he’ll likely get knocked out over and over. Canelo can do well for an extended period at cruiserweight if he stays away from these fighters:
- Lawrence Okolie
- Mairis Briedis
- Noel Gevor
- Arsen Goulamirian
- Yuniel Dorticos
I don’t think Canelo beats any of those guys, and if he does, he’s going to absorb a boatload of punishment along the way. Those fighters will put their hands on Canelo and take advantage of his low work rate.
The cruiserweight division is weak when you get past the top four or five fighters in the weight class.
Canelo would need to worry about a small handful of fighters at cruiserweight. But if he can swerve them, he’ll win a title and hold onto it for a long time.
On the downside of Canelo staying at cruiserweight is that he wouldn’t fight anyone famous. The boxing public wouldn’t be enthusiastic about watching his fights against that division’s obscure opposition.
Even if Canelo moves up to 175, he will run into problems when he begins fighting the better talents in the division. He can do well if he chooses to cherry-pick like he’s been doing at 168, but if he tries to fight the best at 175, he’ll lose.
“I think it’s good because maybe he can’t make weight anymore, and he’s moving up to fight a new weight,” said Roberto Duran to Fight Hub TV on Canelo Alvarez possibly moving up to cruiserweight on May 7th.
“I think he will actually do better moving up. I think it’s a good move for him,” said Duran in giving his approval to Canelo going up potentially to cruiserweight.
“I wouldn’t say crazy, but maybe he just can’t make weight that he goes down to anymore. He wants to move up to feel stronger, but on the flipside, Canelo is big and strong, hits hard,” Duran said when asked if Canelo is crazy to want to go up to cruiserweight.
“So cruiserweight isn’t bad for him because the majority of the cruiserweight are close to his size. I don’t see it as a bad thing. I think it’s good,” Duran said of Canelo.
Canelo can’t get hit at cruiserweight
“The one thing he needs to be careful of is not to get hit,” said Duran when asked what should Canelo be careful of. “Remember, when moving up in weight, the guys hit harder.
“When he fights another boxer at 180, that boxer is really not 180. He’s coming down from 190 to 180. Canelo is moving up from 170 to 180. The guys he will be fighting will slim down and, they could get more stronger,” said Duran.
“The only thing he has to do is be careful not to get hit. That’s it. I would put him as one of the best to ever come out of Mexico,” said Duran when asked where does Canelo ranks if he wins a fifth division world title at cruiserweight,” Duran said.
As long as Canelo doesn’t fight any of the super talented cruiserweights, he’ll do fine.
He has an excellent shot at dethroning WBC champion Ilunga Makabu, but only because he’s a limit fighter and not anywhere near the division’s top.
Canelo will only be moving up to cruiserweight to cherry-pick the title from arguably the weakest link among the champions in the division.
That’s another reason you can’t say Canelo is the greatest Mexican fighter ever because the true greats from Mexico didn’t cherry-pick.
Many boxing fans believe that Canelo is more like an American boxer than a Mexican because he carefully similarly chooses his opponents as Floyd Mayweather Jr.
You can’t compare Canelo to the greatest Mexican fighters of all time or even to the great Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran. Look at the guys Duran fought late in his career well above his natural weight class: Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Ray Leonard, Iran Barkley, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, and William Joppy.
In contrast, Canelo WON’T even fight David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell Jr, and Demetrius Andrade.
Despite the colossal contrast Canelo was given by DAZN, he chose not to provide Gennady with Golovkin the third fight despite it being one that the streaming giant and the boxing public wanted. Why didn’t Canelo give DAZN the fight they wanted in fighting GGG? Was it fear?
Duran was a different type of person than Canelo. If Roberto Duran was in Canelo’s shoes, would he have fought Golovkin to please DAZN? Would he even need to be asked by them?
Duran says Canelo is one of the best Mexico has had
“It might be tough for some to swallow, but I put him as one of the best Mexico has ever had up to this point,” Duran said. “After Canelo, there hasn’t been anyone that has come up yet.
“He’s the man of the hour and giving Mexico fame, making money is Canelo. There’s no one else. Nobody else.
“For me, Canelo is the best there is right now. There’s no one like Canelo. They say Plant fell. I don’t think so, but he’s making millions and could fight an animal if he wanted to,” said Duran.
Canelo is one of the best, but perhaps not the best. There’s has been so many great Mexican fighters that came before Canelo, and what set them apart is they were willing to fight anybody.
They didn’t cherry-pick, which many feel that Canelo has done and is still doing.
The cherry-picking, catch-weights, rehydration clauses and Canelo’s positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol from 2018 make it impossible to say that he’s the best Mexican fighter in history.
This writer rates these fighters as the best in the history of Mexico:
1. Salvador Sanchez
2. Julio Cesar Chavez
3. Carlos Zarate
4. Ruben Olivares
5. Canelo Alvarez