Mexican superstar, indeed, the face of boxing today, Canelo Alvarez turns 30 this week (Saturday). Throughout boxing history, we have seen how hitting this milestone can prove to be a pretty big deal for a fighter. Plenty of great fighters – and we have to look at Canelo as a fighter who is closing in on greatness, his achievments meriting this – changed their style and appraoch after hitting 30.
Smarter in their approach, craftier, slower perhaps, benefiting from their years of experience, legends like Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Erik Morales, James Toney and so many others were almost totally different fighters at age 30 in comparison to their younger, early and mid-twenties selves. So what changes will Canelo make from here on in? How different a fighter might he become?
We have not seen Canelo in action since November, and we still await confirmation of his September opponent; so it will be after almost a full year of idleness that Canelo has his first fight at age 30. Has Canelo peaked; his big win over Gennady Golovkin and, up at 175 pounds, his stoppage win over Sergey Kovalev destined to be remembered as his finest wins and performances? Or is the best still to come perhaps? How much longer wil Canlo fight for?
It seems we have seen the last of Canelo the middleweight. Making 160 at age 30 is a whole lot tougher than it was at 26 or 27. Not only that, but that third fight with GGG aside, there is nothing big for Canelo at the weight; and with Canelo being the fighter in the driving seat as far as being able to dictate terms, at least in large part, that third fight with Golovkin will likely take place at 168 or thereabouts; basically wherever Canelo wants it (maybe at a catch-weight).
Assuming Canelo defeats Golovkin in the third fight, perhaps by stoppage, what then? Might Canelo go back up to light-heavyweight? Might he look to pick up additional belts at super-middleweight? In terms of his fighting appraoch at age 30 and beyond, Canelo has always been a fairly conservative fighter, a man who appeared more experienced than his years, what with his ability to pace himself, to often do just enough to win the rounds of a fight. The Canelo we see from here on in will likely show more power, absolute calmness in his fights and he will have complete confidence in his abilities. Canelo really is a vastly different fighter now compared to when he was schooled by Floyd Mayweather, this seemingly an age ago now.
It seems extremely unlikey Canelo will erode and look anything like a slowly ageing fighter in his next few bouts. Age can of course catch up with any fighter, even overnight, but Canelo has never taken too much punishment, he is in no danger of burning out and his style is not reliant on razor-sharp reflexes. Canelo at 30 and beyond will be a hard man to beat. Can anyone knock him out? This seems doubtful, unless Alvarez does go back up to 175 and tackles the wrong guy; a Russian beast for example.
How much more does Canelo need to achieve before you look at him as a genuine great? A stoppage win over GGG would be a great statement, as would wins over a couple of the reigning champions at 168; maybe another big win at light-heavyweight. Then, perhaps going out with a, say, 60-1-2, or 61-1-2 record, Canelo would be a lock for The Hall of Fame (he is already).
Canelo at age 30 and beyond will also remain the face of the sport. Until some young star in the making relieves him of the lofty mantle.