By Jorge Conejo
Does he have what it takes to be a champion?
That is the question that looms over the young 20-year-old Mexican boxing sensation as he fights for his first world title fight on HBO this Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Saul already has the good looks that helped win Oscar De La Hoya millions of young female fans combined with the same type of boyish innocence that made the American public fall in love with Manny Pacquiao, all he needs now is to prove that he has the heart of a champion.
On Saturday night March 5th Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will be fighting Matthew Hatton the younger brother of British boxing star Ricky Hatton at a 150-pound catchweight for the vacant 154-pound Jr. Middleweight title vacated by Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, who won the title against Antonio Margarito also at a catchweight of 150-pounds.
Many people involved in the boxing industry from trainers Nacho Beristain and Freddie Roach to boxer Juan Manuel Marquez question the decision of WBC president Jose Sulaiman to grant the young red haired Mexican fighter a chance at the belt so soon without having earned a shot yet and putting him in against an opponent that also doesn’t deserve a shot at the title.
It’s boxing politics at it’s best. They know that Canelo is a future star and has the appeal in Mexico to sell out stadiums so they give him a title shot over someone more deserving like Alfredo Angulo.
Canelo’s biggest and best win to date is his knock out over the already aged and slow former welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir.
I personally don’t have a problem with this fight. Boxing is in need of new superstars and with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. nearing their final years in boxing, we need to build up guys who already have an attraction or have the possibility of becoming stars to help carry the sport. Nonito Donaire and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are two examples of probable stars. Filipino-American Nonito Donaire could carry the torch for Philippine and American boxing once Manny Pacquiao retires and Canelo can be the next great boxing star out of Mexico, both guys have crossover appeal.
Canelo Alvarez already showing what makes him a hit with the ladies, is it his Hair or his Heart?
Canelo with the same type of boyish charm that endeared people to Manny Pacquiao
I say take this fight for what it is, more of a showcase fight, with a meaningless belt, but let’s not write off Canelo just yet, he is still young and if he wins the title and continues to defend his belt against more credible opponents he will make that WBC belt mean something and prove that he has the skills to go with the charm and good looks to make him a superstar. If Canelo wins the belt and continues to fight soft opponents like WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto is doing, then, we can rightfully criticize him.
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