Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez was once considered unbeatable in the 168lbs ranks – and it’s an opinion he looks to restore this weekend against Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas.
More recently, pundits and analysts believe the Mexican is on a gradual decline that began with a commendable but ultimately losing move up to light-heavyweight to face Dmitry Bivol.
After that defeat, it seems the only fight Canelo truly wanted was the rematch. Whilst the talks – that ultimately collapsing due to a weight dispute – were ongoing, plenty of predictions came in.
That included former cruiserweight world champion, Tony Bellew, who said that if Bivol had his wish and was allowed to move down to Canelo’s super-middleweight class for the second fight, he would lose.
“No one was putting their house on Bivol beating Canelo Alvarez. That is why he is the Fighter of the Year. He defeated the main man in boxing. I’m not going to lie, I think if they was to have a rematch, I would favour Canelo.”
“Bivol has gone right up in my estimations, but no one is beating Canelo at 168lb. No one.”
Nine months – and one decision win over John Ryder – on from the emphatic prediction, and Bellew is backing current undisputed super welterweight, Charlo, to make a successful two-division jump and beat Canelo at 168.
“Canelo vs. Charlo really is an amazing fight. I’ve got this feeling that the youth on Charlo’s side is going to be a factor in this one and that Canelo might not be able to keep up. This one can go either way, but I just think Canelo might lose. Charlo is hungry and I feel he has the bigger point to prove.”
Both 33, Canelo certainly has more miles on the clock with 63 fights to the American’s 37.
How the latter handles the extra pounds and power in the ring remains to be seen. The fight is available to US viewers via Showtime PPV whilst those in the UK can watch it on DAZN in the early hours of Sunday morning.