Most of us are learning to drive at fifteen years of age. We’re more concerned about our social lives, gals and guys and whose parents will be out of town next weekend so the killer party can go down. There’s only a handful of professions that would permit one still south of legal voting age to log hours upon hours of tedious work and still evade the scrutiny of the department of labor. Different countries have different rules. Such is the case in Mexico and the newly and truly confirmed prodigal son from Jalisco state, Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan.
We don’t often refer to him by this. Rather, we prefer his trade name, which is simply Canelo. Whether or not we may agree with his unanimous decision win over Austin “No Doubt” Trout this past weekend in San Antonio, Texas, there’s no denying that the kid has serious talent and more importantly in a global sense the potential for crossover appeal.
The scene at the Alamodome was near deafening at times. The promotional groups from Golden Boy, Leija/Battah and others treated the Alamo City to an incredible and fabulously presented evening of prize fighting. Perhaps one of the most striking pieces of imagery was adorned across the foreheads of many devotees of the Canelo nation.
The red headband. The crimson wraparound that was made famous by Mexico’s greatest ever athlete regardless of respective sport, Julio Cesar Chavez. Prior to his bout with Edwin “El Chapo” Rosario in late 1987, Chavez turned to a few others to assist him in the hopes of combating the rumors of black magic being hurled his way from the Rosario camp. Stories of years past have indicated that Rosario’s mother practiced a form of witchcraft and tried to drop a root of sorts on the Mexican legend. The red headband was his form of spiritual protection.
Maybe it worked because he won the fight, too.
It is of course possible yet however highly unlikely that previous Canelo opponents such as Ryan Rhodes, Kermit Cintron, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley or Josesito Lopez wrapped the entrails of a chicken around a makeshift Canelo doll for good luck. It’s just as equally difficult to picture Austin Trout performing forceable acupuncture with a set of Tetanus laced nails into the same type of figurine.
As is the case across multiple cultures, the symbolism takes a back seat to the adoration. No harm in that. Canelo Alvarez has officially made it….even more so. He’s now the universally recognized top fighter at 154 pounds and he is only 22 years of age.
Alvarez seems to be prepared to carry on the legacy of great Mexican fighters passed down to him from Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, the aforementioned Julio Cesar Chavez and all the way down to the dearly departed Salvador Sanchez. It’s big shoes (or gloves) to fill. This is a nation which takes its boxeo and its futbol to the very depths of its soul. So perhaps while Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. gets his affairs in order (for however long that in fact takes him), let’s just see how next weekend plays out.
The lucky few who bet on Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero to top Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would be able to pay off their college loans if Robert were to pull off the shocking upset. In any case, don’t hold your breath for a “Canelo contra Dinero” showdown for September 14, 2013. It’s too soon…..for both sides.