Canelo Alvarez sits on most mythical pound-for-pound thrones, but does he REALLY deserve to be there? The Mexican superstar has cemented a legacy as one of boxing’s all-time greats, but Terence Crawford can also stake a claim as the sport’s top dog
- Canelo Alvarez could solidify his position as pound-for-pound king on Saturday
- The Mexican takes on light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in Las Vegas
- Many believe Canelo is currently the No 1 fighter world boxing has to offer
- But Terence Crawford could also be regarded as the best on the planet right now
- Crawford lacks Canelo’s resume but he makes up for it in near-flawless talent
- Sign up here to watch the fight exclusively on DAZN
Boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound list has and always will be a subjective matter. Within reason, there are no right or wrong answers as the fighters who are stacked up against one another cannot always prove who is superior in the ring.
Even in the peak years of Floyd Mayweather, when most were of the opinion he reigned supreme as boxing’s king, other contrarians would point to Manny Pacquiao as the best fighter on the planet before they eventually settled their rivalry.
In today’s day and age, heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and bantamweight sensation Naoya Inoue could never slug it out to decide who should be higher on the hypothetical chart.
Canelo Alvarez is considered by most as boxing’s undoubted pound-for-pound No 1
But Terence Crawford (38-0) also deserves at least a mention in what is a subjective debate
Resumes, strengths, weaknesses and achievements can be picked apart tiresomely in search of validation for a pound-for-pound argument. And more often than not it means the majority of orders vary.
Yet, over the past year any suggestion that Canelo Alvarez is not at the top of your list has almost been considered blasphemy. Since he conquered the super-middleweight division in emphatic fashion – battering Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant to sweep up all the marbles at 168lbs – the Mexican has perched himself on top of virtually every pound-for-pound throne there is.
Even Terence Crawford, the WBO welterweight champion considered his closest rival for the No 1 spot, accepted in November of last year: ‘Right now, Canelo is No 1’.
If the pound-for-pound reckoning is assembled on a fair balance of resume and accomplishments, it is tough to argue against Canelo as boxing’s main man.
At just 31 years of age the Mexican already has 57 wins to show for 60 contests, victories which have earned him world championships in four weight classes as well as the undisputed crown at super-middleweight.
No one boasts a CV as impressive on paper; Gennady Golovkin, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev are the other high-profile opponents Canelo has seen off in his 17-year career. On Saturday night he could also add Dmitry Bivol’s name and another light-heavyweight title to that list.
If selecting the world’s leading fighter merely on the aesthetics of their CV, Alvarez wins every day of the week. However, as is the case with most there are glaring holes that can be picked when questioning whether he deserves to be out in front.
Canelo demolished Billy Joe Saunders (L) and Caleb Plant (R) en route to 168lb domination
The Mexican now jumps up to light-heavyweight to take on WBA champion Dmitry Bivol
There is no disputing that Crawford lacks the body of work Canelo has already cemented. The Nebraskan is a three-weight world champion who too became undisputed down at light-welterweight, yet he is still waiting on a truly defining test which can propel him to superstardom.
Wins over Shawn Porter, faded British duo Kell Brook and Amir Khan, Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo and Viktor Postol certainly do not stack up to Canelo’s past victims. Though what does set him apart is the manner in which he has gone about his business so far.
Unlike Canelo, Crawford’s 0 remains intact, he has barely come close to suffering defeat and his last nine victories have all come inside the distance. Not since July 2016 has anyone heard the final bell after stepping into the ring with him.
Blistering speed, explosive power and a high-level ring IQ almost makes Crawford the complete fighter. He ticks all boxes and has come through all 38 of his tests so far with a swaggering dominance.
Crawford became undisputed light-welterweight champion by stopping Julius Indongo in 2017
The American has since dominated the welterweight division, stopping Shawn Porter last year
A huge undisputed showdown against Errol Spence Jr is now the obvious fight to make
Canelo, meanwhile, has already been toppled by the legendary Mayweather. The latter’s detractors never tire of highlighting the fact that his younger opponent was only 23 years old and fighting at a catchweight slightly lighter than his usual range at the time.
But heading into that pay-per-view showpiece, Canelo was accompanied by an extensive record of 42-0-1, wins over the likes of Mosley, Austin Trout and Josesito Lopez, and status as a unified light-middleweight champion.
While it may have come too soon for him, he was comprehensively outboxed by Mayweather on the night, failing to get close to the self-proclaimed Best Ever over 12 rounds and rightfully losing on the scorecards – albeit with one judge inexplicably deeming the one-sided affair a draw.
And who can forget the two bitterly disputed bouts against Golovkin? The first saw him scrape a widely-contested draw despite sitting on the ropes and shipping a barrage of punishment throughout, before he came away with an even more contentious victory the second time around in a fight his nemesis appeared to edge.
Canelo has suffered defeat before, losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr back in 2013 when he was 23
He was also fortunate to claim a draw and a win in his two fights against Gennady Golovkin
If being overly picky, his conclusive beatings of Kovalev, Smith and Saunders can also be regarded as the right fights at the right time, with the trio past the peak of their powers, weight drained and on the decline respectively.
Though it must be acknowledged that for every victory comes a sorry loser with excuses as to why they came unstuck. Since his humbling against Mayweather, Canelo’s only trouble has come against a fellow fighting juggernaut in Golovkin, and the history books tell us that he prevailed.
As noted, there is no right or wrong answer when putting together pound-for-pound rankings. It is an opinion-based table devised by way of personal preferences.
Yet if decided on the right mixture of pugilistic talent and achievements, Crawford certainly stakes a claim to usurping Canelo as boxing’s top dog.
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