POSTED By RICH MANCUSO @WORLD WIDE BOXING @ FACEBOOK
NEW YORK: Real and legitimate boxing returns Saturday night. Not there hasn’t been a good share of good fights to satisfy the appetite but Canelo Alvarez is fighting for the third time in five months as he continues to build a legacy.
No exhibitions and Hall of Fame boxing legends in the ring. It will be real boxing and what should be an outstanding fight as Alvarez defends his super middleweight titles.
And it is Canelo Alavarez that generates interest. The Super middleweight champion seeks to unify the titles against Billy Joe Saunders at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas with an expected 65,000 or more fans attending and that would shatter an indoor boxing record.
That record alone speaks volumes about the appeal and fan base that comes with Canelo Alvarez as fight fans are finally getting their reward after being forced to sit at home while fight cards continued behind closed doors during the past year.
The largest crowd to attend a sporting event since the pandemic and they will be there to see Alvarez who attempts to continue his legacy as the greatest fighter to come out of Mexico. He is the face of boxing and possibly the best in pound-to-pound discussions.
And after two wins this year, both defending his super middleweight titles, promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, with Alvarez free from Oscar De La Hoya, put the Saunders fight in motion.
Thing is, Canelo Alvarez is not a hard sell. Like him or not, he appeals to boxing fans and has that restructured and lucrative financial deal with the DAZN streaming network.
And when Canelo Alvarez fights people will watch. Many will again Saturday night as he attempts to get one step closer at getting all the belts in the super middleweight division.
The assumption is Alvarez will win, though, it could be a tough test against Saunders, then the one belt waiting is the IBF title that belongs to Caleb Plant.
And that fight would be made as soon as possible. You see, when you are the face of boxing, and with a quest to become the greatest fighter from Mexico, there are no obstacles to continue a quest.
Now, I am not saying that Canelo Alvarez will have a quick turnaround and return to the ring in a few weeks. But his intention was to fight three or four times this year.
Boxing fans and the sport are not accustomed to seeing a champion defend the titles more than twice in a calendar year. But Hearn and DAZN will take four or five fights and it’s obvious because DAZN wants more of Canelo Alvarez and that means increased subscriptions and revenue.
But to have an often unprecedented title defense from a champion is rare in this modern era of boxing. And in so many ways this is a fight Canelo Alvarez looks for, and so much like it was in December with a dominating title defense over Callum Smith.
And Eddie Hearn has become the biggest fan of Canelo Alvarez.
“I know we’ve got the reality stars and all this kind of stuff,” he said. “We have to show people that boxing is a powerful sport. And you only do that with fights like this and events like this and a crowd like this and an atmosphere like this.”
Basically, Canelo Alvarez can create this excitement, and if Saunders lives by his reputation this will be an event with that atmosphere.
Saunders is not the best with footwork. He will need to avoid the Alvarez body punches that opponents say are difficult to confront. And one or two of those punches to the body could put Saunders in trouble.
But an early ending to this fight is not expected. And that excuse about a ring of 22-inches that was or wasn’t? That was a beginning of this atmosphere that became a storyline and concluded as quickly as that Canelo Alvarez punch to the body.
“This fight is all about the brain,” said Saunders. “Not about power, muscle or skill, it’s the brain and the game plan, and being able to execute that game plan. I brush opinions off because I know what goes through my head and my mind, and what I have done in my career is through the will and want to win, and the day I lose that, I won’t put a pair of gloves on again”.
But this will be a partisan Canelo Alvarez crowd. The champion is looking to dispose of another challenger from the UK after a December unanimous decision win over a taller and aggressive Callum Smith in nearby San Antonio Texas.
That crowd will also be a challenge for Saunders, and despite what fighters say about blocking out the crowd, don’t believe that. Saunders will hear them and Alvarez thrives on their energy and support.
Alvarez wants this win for Mexico and he may have surpassed the legendary champion Julio Caesar Chavez when it comes to popularity. But what he thrives on more is to continue a legacy and that may have already been established.
And what is certain should occur again Saturday night. In the ring will be a real fight card and Canelo Alvarez is the face of boxing.
Prediction: The body punches will get to Saunders. Canelo Alvarfez is one step away from having all the titles with a stoppage in the 8th round….
THROWING THE PUNCHES: Preliminary pay-per-view buys a little over 125,000 last Saturday as Chris Areola and Andy Ruiz Jr. delivered a better than expected heavyweight title eliminator on FOX Sports PPV.
But in that post fight press conference, and with Arreola annoyed about judges giving him no more than one or two rounds, he could have refrained from using vulgar language at the podium as his young son sat there by his side.
Regardless, Ruiz and Arreola can do it again with no complaints from here as the fight was entertaining. Ruiz is in the heavyweight title mix and Arreola is not done….
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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